Sunday exit polls showed political outsider/entertainer-comedian Vladimir Zelensky scored an overwhelming triumph over US-installed billionaire puppet Petro Poroshenko by a 73 – 24% margin. More on this below.
According to a March Gallup poll, only 9% of Ukrainians trust their ruling authorities, Poroshenko with single-digit support.
He’s widely reviled for heading an illegitimate/US-installed putschist regime, exploiting and persecuting ordinary Ukrainians, not serving them.
He sold out to the West, governed by brute force, wrecked Ukraine’s economy, waged war on Donbass citizens, committed horrendous civil and human rights abuses, causing millions to flee cross-border to Russia and elsewhere, and is accused of rampant corruption.
Ordinary Ukrainians suffer hugely from high unemployment, elimination of social programs, inadequate healthcare services, hardline fascist rule, and depravation harming countless millions.
Skilled workers and others fled to Russia and elsewhere abroad to escape intolerable conditions, including political repression, neoliberal harshness, a falling currency, high unemployment and inflation.
Ukraine under Poroshenko and majority parliamentarians supporting his regime is an economic, social, and political basket case – exacerbated by severe repression.
Human and civil rights abuses include arbitrary arrests, disappearances, torture, extrajudicial killings, violence against journalists, human rights activists, Russian nationals and ethnic minorities, as well as intolerance of Ukrainians against despotic rule.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry earlier accused Kiev of “political chaos, corruption, lawlessness (and) aggressive nationalism, (along with state-sponsored) violence and crimes committed for political and ideological motives,” adding:
Ruling authorities “declared an open season on everyone whose views deviate from the official ones.”
Under Ukrainian law, the nation’s Central Election Commission must publish official Sunday results within 10 days – by May 1 or earlier – Zelensky to be sworn into office by May 31.
He played a fictional Ukrainian president in a Servant of the People television sitcom, fighting corruption as a teacher-turned head of state. Now he’s the real thing once sworn into office.
“I’m not yet officially the president, but as a citizen of Ukraine, I can say to all countries in the post-Soviet Union – look at us. Anything is possible,” he declared.
His campaign eschewed public rallies, relying heavily on social media to reach millions of followers with his message.
When earlier asked how he differed from other candidates, he said:
“This,” pointing to his face. “This is a new face. I have never been in politics.”
“I have not deceived people. They identify with me because I am open. I get hurt. I get angry. I get upset.”
“I do not hide my emotions on camera. I do not try to look different. If I’m inexperienced in something, I’m inexperienced. If I don’t know something, I honestly admit it.”
How he’ll govern remains to be seen, given parliament controlled by pro-Western hardliners, new elections not until October 27, and certain heavy US pressure for pro-West/anti-Russia continuity.
On Sunday, he promised to “launch a very powerful information war to end the war in Donbass,” saying he’ll “act within the Normandy format” to resolve things diplomatically, involving Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine.
“(W)e will continue the Minsk process (for peace in Donbass). We will restart it,” he added.
“We have very serious acting generals who have authority in the army. You will definitely see them. I have no right to give the names of these people now as there is an agreement with the generals.”
It’s unclear what he meant. His agenda largely unknown, he promised to name members of his government “in the near future.”
Poroshenko conceded defeat, saying
“(n)ext month, I will leave the office…This is the decision of the majority of Ukrainian people.”
“…I want to highlight that I am not leaving politics. My team and I are ready to support the president in everything that gets us close to the European Union and NATO.”
Zelensky will surely be pressured to continue dirty business as usual, including governance serving Ukrainian oligarchs and Western interests, continuing war in Donbass, and hostility toward Russia.
How he’ll respond remains unknown. As long as hardliners control parliament, pressure for continuity will prevent positive change.
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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.