President Zelensky’s difficult succession

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

Volodymyr Zelensky is the youngest president of Ukraine, the least experienced, but also the first who had to fight with parliament to decide the date of his inauguration. Elected on 21 April, Zelensky was finally inaugurated on 20 May after a long fight with a hostile parliament where he has no party and even no deputies. The present members of parliament have been fighting for their survival as much as they wanted to teach a lesson to the new president who wished the ceremony to be held on early May, then on 19th. Continue reading “President Zelensky’s difficult succession”

The strange reaction of the Kremlin

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

The ill-inspired reaction of Vladimir Putin to the election of Volodymyr Zelensky will not help the future Ukrainian president to give the impulse to better relations with Russia that he promised during his campaign. Instead of keeping the low profile adopted during the electoral campaign, mostly for lack of candidates to support, the Kremlin unwisely decided to test the newly elected president on its own terms. Continue reading “The strange reaction of the Kremlin”

The strange second round of Ukraine’s presidential election

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

The campaign for the second round of Ukrainian presidential elections was much the same that for the first round: petty and dirty, with public trolling, giving samples for medical tests under cameras, endless provocations and promising not so much a better future as an Armaggedon in case voters will choose the wrong candidate. Continue reading “The strange second round of Ukraine’s presidential election”

Geopolitical election in Ukraine

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

If someone is tempted to ignore we are living in a fudgy post-Cold war atmosphere, suffices to look at Ukraine’s presidential elections. Those have been turned into a geopolitical game by outsiders, but also by the candidates. Part of that singularity is linked to the country’s war condition, but only part. Continue reading “Geopolitical election in Ukraine”

Lotto elections in Ukraine

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

Like everyone else, the West has been surprised by the success in the polls of a newcomer to the electoral Ukrainian scene – the comedian Volodymyr Zelensky. According to polls, Zelensky is going to lead with about a third of votes in the 31 March election – the favourite among 39 presidential candidates. Next is expected to be incumbent President Petro Poroshenko (17.1%), opposition Fatherland party leader Yulia Tymoshenko (12.5%) and the co-chairman of the Opposition Platform – For Life bloc Yuri Boyko (10,4%). Four other candidates could pass the 5% hurdle. Continue reading “Lotto elections in Ukraine”

Crimea for ever?

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

Celebrations in Crimea lasted 4 full days and included a visit of president Putin. In Moscow, there were a few flags, but no official celebrations. Seemingly, the Kremlin wants to show that Crimea is just another member of the Federation, no more no less. Continue reading “Crimea for ever?”

New social lenses for president Putin

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

The 20 February state-of-the-nation address by President Putin focused on domestic policy, notably social issues. This reflects the change of mood among the population. Vladimir Putin of course gave a place to questions of security and defence, but without the emphasis of previous years. He even called for more dialogue with the EU. But he has evidently understood that Russians want more than military glory and successful interventions abroad, even if they value the international importance of their country. They simply want a better life in a more equal society. Continue reading “New social lenses for president Putin”

Disputed islands

By Nina Bachkatov & Andrew Wilson

Once again, hopes for a solution to the disputed Kurils Islands during a Russia-Japan meeting did not materialise as public opinions are still not ready to accept a compromise. On 22 January, in Moscow, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and Russian president Vladimir Putin tried to solve the last unsettled row of WWII. The meeting failed to do so, but participants expressed a mutual desire to continue economic and cultural cooperation. Continue reading “Disputed islands”