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What Yanukovych presidency would mean for Ukraine

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Feb. 8, 2010, 8:40 p.m. |

Ukrainian opposition leader and presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych speaks to the media during his news conference in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. Voters in the first round of Ukraine's presidential election gave opposition leader Viktor Yan
© AP

A look at what the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych, nemesis of the Orange Revolution, would mean for Ukraine. NATURAL GAS TRANSIT:

Yanukovych has called to scrap a 2009 agreement obliging Ukraine to start paying full European prices for Russian gas. Instead, he says the country should receive a discount.

He has promised to create a consortium that would allow Russia to jointly operate Ukraine's vast gas transportation network, advancing Russia's goal of controlling the gas supply chain to Europe.

And he has pledged to help Russia build the South Stream gas pipeline, a project intended the pipeline to circumvent transport routes through Ukraine. Critics see it as weakening Ukraine's position as a gas transit country.

ECONOMY:

Yanukovych inherits an economy in shambles starting a weak recovery. After the 2008 financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund granted Ukraine a $16.4 billion line of credit. When the divided Orange government failed to cut subsidies for natural gas and control spending, the IMF froze lending at about $11 billion.

Reforms would be painful for consumers. Yanukovych is under pressure to repeal wage and pension hikes implemented during the presidential campaign. Some experts predict electricity prices will need to rise by 90 percent this year.

EUROPEAN UNION:

Yanukovych has said he will sign a previously negotiated association agreement with Europe, lowering trade barriers and paving the way for a visa-free travel regime. But he has said that Ukraine is not ready for EU membership and will not actively seek to join the bloc.

NATO:

Outgoing President Viktor Yushchenko had advocated NATO membership, but Yanukovych has said that Ukraine doesn't need to join either NATO or the Moscow-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization. He is expected to continue current limited levels of NATO cooperation, including participation in some military exercises.

RUSSIA:

While Yushchenko threatened to evict the Russian Black Sea fleet from its base in Sevastopol after the lease expires in 2017, Yanukovych has said the issue of the base should be resolved in a way that doesn't harm the interests of either Ukraine or Russia.

Yanukovych has talked about Ukraine following the lead of Russia and three other countries in recognizing the independence of the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

DOMESTIC ISSUES:

Yanukovych has pledged to make Russian the second official language of Ukraine. The state's promotion of Ukrainian as the only official language has alienated many in the country's Russian-speaking east, Yanukovych's base of support.
The Kyiv Post is hosting comments to foster lively debate. Criticism is fine, but stick to the issues. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks will be removed from the site. If you think that a posted comment violates these standards, please flag it and alert us. We will take steps to block violators.
Anonymous Feb. 8, 2010, 8:54 p.m.    

this is so stupid! Ukraine worked so hard to gain independence from Russia and now Yanukovych is trying to destroy that.... what an idiot

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Anonymous Feb. 8, 2010, 9:12 p.m.    

Ukraine is a sovereign independent state - formally speaking -, but

Ukraine gained nothing in 1991,

Ukraine has not worked for it, whatshoever &quot;it&quot; stands for,

Simply put, Kravchuk, Lukashenko and Yeltsin had their piece of the pie.

Look backwards to the day before the Ribentrop-Molotov pact, and see the European frontiers at that time.

Stanislav Lem, was born in Poland, in the city of Lvov.

Who is trying to destroy what?

Look at the number of people starving to death today in Ukraine. Look at the people who died from low temperatures.

It was other people who stole the region named Ukraine.

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Anonymous Feb. 8, 2010, 10:25 p.m.    

What are you talking about that Ukraine is not a soverign country!

What you are suggesting is basically war!

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Anonymous Feb. 8, 2010, 10:40 p.m.    

No, what YOU are talking about is throlling and provocation.

War? Who will fight with whom? Ukrainians as a nation again Russian nation? Do not deceive yourself - our granddads fought together against nazi and we were one country some 20 years ago and long time ago before 1917. Many of us are half Russian.

Of course there will be a fraction of extremists one both sides - but majority will not either support or take part in all such actions

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Anonymous Feb. 8, 2010, 11:20 p.m.    

I suggest looking at a current map. We can play the game of selectively choosing historical periods to bolster our respective ethnic pride, but in today's world votes are the issue and in 1991 over 90% of Ukrainians voted to establish an independant sovereign state. The great majority of Ukrianians (even the Russophone ones) have no desire to re-unite with Moscovie (the correct name)

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Anonymous Feb. 8, 2010, 10:56 p.m.    

To the below comment...Well, blame the stupid Ukrainian people then voting for him! Everyone knows that Ukraine is the laughing stock in the world. They had free elections yes, but look who Ukrainians chose? LOL..Ukraine is going to be as insignificant as Georgia is becoming to be. And the hypocrite diasporian Ukes can blame themselves also for voting for Obama who would rather have closer relations with Russia than Ukraine.

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Anonymous Feb. 9, 2010, 4:58 p.m.    

When I came here in 2004, it was the Orange Revolution. Everyone was excited and there was hope in the air for change!

Now as I'm going to leave the country in 2010, it's back to square one! Which makes me even wonder why did Ukraine want to be sovereign and independent of Russia in the first place?

The current scenario looks like a 'Merry-go-round'. When the wheel stops, a new president hops in, brings ukraine on a merry-go-round again...and the process is repeated with the next presidents...only to find that there is no change at the end of the day!

Seriously, reading this article makes me think that Ukraine is going back to Russia. I guess the Ukrainians have themselves to blame if they never succeed in their European aspirations...after all, it was their vote last Sunday!!!

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Anonymous Feb. 10, 2010, 1:45 a.m.    

Soon enough Yanukovych and Tymoshenko will disappear as their popularity will sink just like Kuchma's, Symonenko's and Yushchenko's before them. In five years, the real players will likely be Yatseniuk and Tihipko. Ukraine wants new faces, this is seen with the roughly 20% given to Yatseniuk and Tihipko.

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Anonymous Feb. 9, 2010, 10:16 p.m.    

Well Ukraine has chosen to go backwards, thanks to the regions. If they want to speak russian they can do that comfortably in russia. Ukrainian should be the only official language in Ukraine.

Oops I forgot that President Yanukovych does not speak Ukrainian hence the need to introduce russian as the other official language. What a joke !

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Anonymous Feb. 9, 2010, 10:54 p.m.    

Ukraine is following the pattern of one step forward and two steps back. They just took the one step back, and I hate to think what Yanukovych has for the second step back. It won't be good. What is the movie, I believe it is something like &quot;The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming.&quot;

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Anonymous Feb. 9, 2010, 11:37 p.m.    

Goodbye Ukraine, it was nice knowing you, however murky and difficult it's been.

You are soon to be raped &amp; pillaged by Moscow's henchmen.

Your own LAZINESS and disdain for hard work, for honesty, for morality, for true freedom &amp; liberty has brought you to this place of soviet slavery.

God be merciful as you slide down into the dark pit of russian dominance.

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