FP’s Guide to the Ukrainian Election
On April 21, Ukrainians will head to the polls to pick their next president. After a first-round vote at the end of March, their choice has been narrowed down to Volodymyr Zelensky, a television star and front-runner in the race, or Petro Poroshenko, the incumbent president.
This isn’t to say that Zelensky is a pro-Russian figure or that the public would back a pro-Russian candidate. By seizing Crimea and Donbass, Chris Miller, an assistant professor at Tufts University’s Fletcher School, points out, “Russia chopped off the two regions with the least developed sense of Ukrainian identity.” With them gone, “no pro-Russian candidate could win a Ukrainian election.” And that marks a major change from the days in which “candidates such as former President Viktor Yanukovych, who was openly sympathetic to Russia, could win a majority of votes.”