This Is Why Ukraine President Poroshenko Lost The Election

Nicolai N. Petro, National Interest: Petro Poroshenko's Nationalism Cost Him the Presidency

This is one of the lessons that Western policymakers can learn from Poroshenko's crushing defeat.

Petro Poroshenko lost the Ukrainian presidential elections by a larger margin than any candidate in the history of Ukraine. He won in only one region of the country. His opponent, a comedian with no political experience, received more votes than any candidate in Ukrainian history. Why, after five years of policies that had the full political and financial backing of the West, did the Ukrainian people reject him by a three-to-one margin?

The answer lies in the anti-Russian policies that he and the Ukrainian parliament have pursued these past five years. These include restrictions on the usage of the Russian language, on travel to Russia, on trade with Russia, on any social contact with Russians, even those who clearly oppose Putin and support Ukraine. That there would be political blowback for this was entirely predictable, given that city dwellers in Ukraine more commonly speak Russian, and half of the country has relatives across the border. The writing was on the wall for Poroshenko when an annual poll earlier this year showed that popular sympathies for Russia among Ukrainians were now higher than at any point since May 2014.

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WNU Editor: Could not have said it any better. The media in the West are blaming corruption/the economy/and the war as the main reasons why President Poroshenko was defeated at the polls on Sunday. But the number one reason was President Poroshenko's anti-Russian nationalism that was just too much to bear for a majority of Ukrainians, especially for those who are either Russian-Ukrainian or who have friends/family members whose background is Russian. I have seen politicians use the politics of division to arouse their supporters and to punish the opposition, but President Poroshenko brought it to a level that was truly frightening. Fortunately .... the mass majority of Ukrainians had the good sense of rejecting, and at the same time sending a clear message that the politics of fear no longer work.

The next major vote in Ukraine will be the election of a new parliament at the end of this year. Their approval rating is currently in the single digits, and almost all of them will be voted out. Unfortunately they do have a considerable of power, and the first bill that they will be voting on later this week will be the mandatory use of the Ukrainian language in all government/business/and public institutions. This bill has no support in the public, but this parliament does not care, and will ram it through anyway. This will be President-elect Vladimir Zelensky first major test, and even though he does not have to power to block this discriminatory bill, it will lay the groundwork for a lot of political fireworks in the coming months.

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