Press Review: Ukrainian Vote Under Scrutiny | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 23.11.2004
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Press Review: Ukrainian Vote Under Scrutiny

European editorialists in Tuesday's papers questioned the credibility of the Ukrainian election result.

Across Europe the Ukrainian election dispute was on front pages on Tuesday, with pictures of furious demonstrators on some of them. "Mass Protest Because of Electoral Fraud" was the headline in Germany's Die Welt. Britain's Financial Times expected the Ukrainian election dispute to spread.

El Pais saw an explosive situation in the former Soviet Republic. While international observers reported that the apparent victory of the prime minister, and heir to corrupt Leonid Kutchma, did not come about in a regular manner, the paper noted. While the EU and the USA speak of electoral fraud, Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich on a convincing victory.

This is the worst of almost all possible outcomes, wrote Britain's The Independent. But it was already in the cards long before the campaign began. If Yanukovich is declared president, his international credibility will be near zero and Ukraine will be left out in the cold, its course inward and eastward, not outward to Europe, the paper said.

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung pondered whether Ukraine will experience what happened in Georgia, where angry crowds swept a president from power a year ago. It recalled that the Kuchma regime still in power has once before been shaken by huge demonstrations over the killing of a journalist.

In Moscow, the business paper Vedomosti pointed out that Ukraine is not Georgia. Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadse’s throne was already rotted through, while Kutchma and Yanukovich are sitting firmly in their saddles, with Russia’s economic and political support, it said.

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