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Anna-Lena Laurén: Ukrainian political culture is immature, but the choice is democratic

In comparison with the elections in 2014, the year of presidential elections in Ukraine have been extremely exciting. Five years ago was the country in an intensive krigsfas against separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk. Petro Porosjenko was elected in the first round was, for many voters, guaranteeing the Ukrainian state survival.

this year, the situation was different. That there would be a second round in the year was quite clear. Porosjenko has not managed to keep at least three of his most important campaign promises: To end the war, to make a clean sweep of the corruption, and to sell his tv channel.

the War is still going on, the corruption is worse than ever and Porosjenko own still Channel 5.

the reason to the challenger, the actor and comedian Volodymyr Zelenskyj in the recent polls was 72.2 per cent, while the Porosjenko was at 24.4. When Zelenskyj in the tailored suit made an entrance in the Olympic stadium in Kiev for the only election debate held between the candidates, he emerged clearly as younger and more energetic.

" I'm not a politician. I'm just a simple person who wants to put an end to this system, " said Volodymyr Zelenskyj in an accurate summary of their campaign.

Zelenskyj to the debate on a date that did not fit the opponent and then made the Porosjenko a number of Zelenskyj not com. Much of the Ukrainian election debate has gone out on this kind of spectacle.

Zelenskyj has accused Porosjenko to belong to the old elite, Porosjenko strikes back against Zelenskyj for the inexperience and weakness in the face of Russia. Very few times have issues been on the agenda, for example how to put an end to the war in eastern Ukraine, or how the enormous social gaps in the country shall be recognized.

the live debate at Kiev's Olympic stadium made the electorate much wiser. Both candidates went down on my knees for war veterans, but no one could say how to win the war.

Zelenskyj made a mistake when he called the separatists in the eastern Ukraine ”rebels”. In practice, is controlled and financed by the Russia.

the general spoke Zelenskyj, whose mother tongue is Russian, Ukrainian, through the whole debate, with the exception of a few times when he spontaneously said a phrase in Russian. To Zelenskyjs Ukrainian is not as good as Porosjenkos have voters so far forgiven him.

hard attack against the Porosjenkos background as oligarch. Porosjenko has earned a large part of his fortune through konfektfabriken Roshen, which he has built up himself. But he has had great help from their contacts within Ukrainian politics. In Ukraine's economy and politics, in practice, the cities, the elites intertwine.

" How much money do you still steal from the Ukrainian budget in order to become rich? said Zelenskyj to Porosjenko.

During the five years with me as president, we have accomplished more for the country than during the twenty-five years prior to that. Where were you? You earned money in Russia, said Porosjenko.

This accusation is hollow because to make money in Russia is exactly what Porosjenko himself has done. His konfektfabrik in the Russian city of Lipetsk was shut down as late as 2017.

utilized Porosjenko not the time to squeeze Zelenskyj at his weakest point, namely, knowledge in economics, politics and how to govern a country. On that point is Porosjenkos experience simply superior – but instead of getting Zelenskyj to appear ignorant, he tried to get him to appear to be Putin's puppet.

It is significant for the Ukrainian political culture, where pajkastning still is the most popular method.

the political culture in Ukraine, the choice has remained open, criticism of a sitting president self-evident, and the result is not known in advance. President Porosjenko has not been able to use the so-called administrative resource in any significant way. (The administrative resource means, among other things, that forcing state employees to vote on a sitting president.)

the Russian attempts to influence the elections have not been crowned with success. This in a country where there still is a war going on.

The Russian decision-makers are trying to discredit Ukrainian democracy by calling it a circus. But the fact remains – in a country in Russia's immediate vicinity, as the Russian management itself perceives as culturally affiliated, own right now a democratic choice of the rooms. By all accounts it will lead to a peaceful alternation of power.

It is an achievement that nobody can take away from Ukraine.

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