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You're reading: Are Ukraine’s business elite turning on Yanukovych?

Faced by the choice in the 2010 Ukrainian presidential elections of Yulia Tymoshenko and Viktor Yanukovych, the majority of Ukraine’s big business backed the latter. Some, such as Viktor Pinchuk and Dmytro Firtash, supported him because Tymoshenko, as prime minister, had tried to take their business away and others, such as Rinat Akhmetov, because they feared her populist, anti-elite rhetoric.

In addition, many of the five million middle-class professionals and businessmen who voted for Serhiy Tihipko and Arseniy Yatseniuk in the 2010 elections, who together received third and fourth places and a combined 20 percent of the vote, refused to support either candidate.

Tymoshenko received three million fewer votes than Viktor Yushchenko five years earlier because many of these natural “orange” voters didn’t like her and saw her as part of the failed Yushchenko team.

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