Poroshenko may disrupt Ukrainian presidential election

The registration as a presidential candidate in the upcoming Ukrainian presidential election that is scheduled for March 31, 2019 has finished. RISS expert Oleg Nemensky suggests that we will see bright election campaigns of at least three major leaders of the South-Eastern electorate. This part of the Ukrainian voters is characterized by anti-Maidan sentiments and nostalgia for good relationship with Russia.

However, these politicians are forced to campaign in the context of political mythology formed by anti-Russian and pro-Western forces. The only options they offer are the rejection of Ukrainization and the transition to a more pragmatic policy. It is not surprising that the South-East supports Tymoshenko – in fact, it is kind of a protest vote against Poroshenko, the expert noted. The same applies to V.Zelensky. This candidate is close to the voters of the Ukraine's South-Eastern part as he is a Russian-speaking artist and demonstrates the image of a future President that is capable of establishing pragmatic relations with Russia. He may enter to the second round of elections.

According to O.Nemensky, Poroshenko will definitely enter to the second round of elections by any means. "He has an administrative resource that he can use for fraud. His election campaign is very expensive, it involves significant funds and power resources. It is obvious that he will refuse to leave office: if he loses power, he will lose most of his property, and, most likely, freedom," he said.

But the Ukrainian President is unlikely to win in the second round. The analyst points out that the conducted opinion polls do not suggest the possibility of Poroshenko's victory. That is why Poroshenko can hold onto power only by using force. It is not so important for him who to declare a puppet of Moscow: Tymoshenko, Zelensky, or someone else. The main slogan that appeared during a media event in Kiev where Poroshenko announced his candidacy was "It’s either Putin, or Poroshenko." He makes it clear that he is ready to recognize only his victory in the elections.

Moscow does not support any of the candidates in the Ukrainian elections and does not interfere in the situation, the analyst underscored. However, Poroshenko's approach is very effective, as in the West there is a strong perception that Russia is actively using democratic mechanisms of influence to promote its interests. Most likely, Poroshenko will make a coup attempt or any other provocation during the second round.

In expert's opinion, Kiev gave all the reasons for Moscow to declare non-recognition of the election results. Ukraine has already deprived several million people of the right to vote. These are citizens of Ukraine staying in Russia now. Polling places will not be opened in Russia. Also, Russian observers will not be officially allowed to participate in the elections, so we will not be able to estimate the legality of the elections. And this is enough not to recognize its results.

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