Monday, November 3, 2014

Putin Narrative of Abandoned Ukraine East Fueled by Vote | Johnson's Russia List

(Bloomberg – – Daryna Krasnolutska – October 27, 2014) Vladimir Putin may have more ammunition to extend his influence over the Ukraine’s war-torn east after the country’s parliamentary election.

A surge in support for pro-European parties leaves the area, the bedrock of ousted leader Viktor Yanukovych’s popularity, with less of a say in the nation’s future. Parties backing President Petro Poroshenko’s bid to steer Ukraine away from its Soviet past are set to form a coalition, a move that may make reconciliation in the east more difficult and fuel complaints from Putin that Russian speakers are being trampled.

The outcome will muffle input from areas that hug Russia’s border as Poroshenko embarks on a political and economic transformation he says will prime Ukraine for European Union membership. It risks further inflaming tensions between Russia and its former Cold War adversaries, whose clashes over the annexation of Crimea and Ukraine’s insurgency have triggered a wave of sanctions.

“Besides the near-collapse of former President Yanukovych’s camp, several seats have been left unoccupied and the east saw a comparably low turnout,” Otilia Dhand, an analyst at Teneo Intelligence, said by e-mail from London. “Russia will almost certainly challenge the legitimacy and representativeness of these elections.”

Wartime Vote

The ballot took place amid a shaky cease-fire in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where pro-Russian separatists blocked voting in the areas they control. Turnout was just over 30 percent, about half what it was two years ago.

Complete story at - Putin Narrative of Abandoned Ukraine East Fueled by Vote | Johnson's Russia List

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