King Banaian of SCSU Scholars has been closely following the situation in the Ukraine and brings his experience and knowledge of the area as a former economic advisor to the Ukrainian government. The situation in the Ukraine continues to remain tense. The Supreme Court is examining the election and may order a new poll.
Ukraine has always been a divided country. The western half has traditionally leaned more towards the West, while the Eastern half is deeply Orthodox and closely tied to Russia. This map of the latest election results (such as they are) illustrates that split clearly. Previous Ukrainian elections have followed the exact same east/west split.
Further complicating the situation is the level of Russian interference in Ukrainian affairs as Putin attempts to keep the former Soviet republics close to Moscow. Viktor Yanukovich is practically owned by Moscow and is closely allied with President Vladimir Putin. Putin has been using authoritarian rulers like Yanukovich and Belarus’ Alexandr Lukachenko in order to keep those states as virtual vassal states to Russia. Putin’s hands are all over this fiasco in the Ukraine, which does not bode well for future relations between Russia and the West.
Hopefully the situation will not brew into a full-fledged civil war, but as the pro-Russian east threatens a breakaway from the west of the country and tempers flare, it is unsure how long this predicament will last. With luck the forces of democracy and accountable government will win, and the attempts by the authoritarians will fail.