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Ukrainia's end of the tunnell

  • (October 1999) Ukrainia's end of the tunnell. Ukraine is Russia without the excesses: one man has ruled the transition from communism to capitalism, Leonid Kuchma, but without all the drama and intrigue; the transition has resulted in a widespread economic crisis but there was no Russian-style financial crash; corruption is rampant but has not reached mafia-levels of violence; a province (the ethnically Russian east) is uneasy under the central control but with none of Chechnya's desire for revolutionary bands.
    In november's elections, Kuchma is everybody's favorite: Russians like him because he is a moderate nationalist who recognizes Russian interests (and allows Russia to exert its influence virtually at will), the West likes him because he means stability in a region full of time bombs. His main opponent is the head of the communist party, Petro Symonenko, who advocates the restoration of the old Soviet Union or at least a federation with Russia and Belarus. Given Russia's troubles, even ethnic Russians are unlikely to be excited about returning under Moscow's rules.
    (February 2001 update: the mysterious death of a journalist tarnished Kuchma's reputation and started mass demonstrations for his resignations).
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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