Policy Memos

Is Yanukovych's Model of Governance Drifting toward Russian Shores?

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In the second round of Ukraine’s February 2010 presidential election, Viktor Yanukovych defeated Yulia Tymoshenko by a slim margin (49 to 45.5 percent). As Yanukovych’s Party of Regions (PoR) did not have a parliamentary majority, most observers believed that the political situation in Ukraine would become a more or less balanced one (as the 2004 constitutional reform mandated that the president share power with the prime minister). If the PoR was unable to form a new parliamentary coalition with either Yulia Tymoshenko’s bloc (BYuT) or the Our Ukraine bloc that supported outgoing president Viktor Yushchenko, Yanukovych had the right to push for early parliamentary elections. Such a move was considered too risky for the PoR, however, as it would mean the entrance of new players into parliament and, consequently, less mandates for the PoR. Instead, the Party of Regions opted to violate the constitution to form a new government and exerted direct pressure on the constitutional court to secure its approval. During Yanukovych’s first official visit to Russia in early March 2010, he openly praised the Russian model of stability. Half a year into the Yanukovych presidency, it is clear that the democratic gains of the Orange Revolution have not been institutionalized and are instead fragile and at risk. [...]

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About the author

Professor, Founding Director of the Kyiv Mohyla University School of Policy Analysis
National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy