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Ryan Piurek
IU Media Relations

Debra Kent
School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Tipsheet: Ukrainian election crisis

EDITORS: The following Indiana University Bloomington faculty members can offer their analysis of the disputed presidential election in Ukraine between Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and reform candidate Viktor Yushchenko.

"Depending on who ultimately wins, Ukraine will be a stronghold of pro-Western values governed by rule of law, or the status quo, a system of corrupt government bureaucrats taking their cues from big-business Ukrainian oligarchs and their Russian co-conspirators,"said Charles Wise, professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University and director of the Parliamentary Development Project. The project, which assists the parliament of Ukraine in democratizing governmental processes, was awarded a five-year, $4.9 million grant last year from the U.S. Agency for International Development. "Some years ago, Zbigniew Brzezinski (former U.S. national security adviser) said that without Ukraine it would be impossible to reconstitute anything like the former Soviet Union, but with Ukraine, it is entirely possible," Wise said. He can be reached at 812-855-1442 or

Ukraine may have an entirely new election and, depending on how the law is interpreted, a new group of candidates could emerge, according to Henry Hale, assistant professor of political science at Indiana University Bloomington and editor of Russian Election Watch, a monthly bulletin that provided analysis of the recent Russian parliamentary and presidential elections. "If you had new candidates, it's possible you could get a strong play from a leftist, like (Socialist Party leader) Olexander Moroz, which would make things more interesting, or perhaps the party in power would find a better candidate," Hale said. "Things have become so polarized that it might make it difficult for Yushchenko if there were a whole new set of candidates. It's not entirely clear whether he'd do as well against Moroz or another establishment candidate." Hale can be reached at 812-855-1664 or

There's no disputing that "the real power in Kiev is on the street," said Robert Kravchuk, associate professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University and author of Ukrainian Political Economy (Palgrave Macmillian, 2002). "The Ukrainian people have been pretty docile in the face of economic and political abuse throughout the years. This is a country that lost a third of its population between 1930 and 1945. These people did not want political violence. But this was a collective insult that was almost too much to bear. Now they're like rats deserting a sinking ship." Kravchuk, who has taught at the Ukrainian Academy of Public Administration in Kiev, Ukraine, studies economic and political reform in former socialist countries in transition. He can be reached at 812-855-0193 or