Ukrainians went to the polls on Sunday to elect a president for the first time since the dramatic events of 2004-2005 that came to be known as the Orange Revolution. Early results indicate that Viktor Yanukovych, the leader of the parliamentary opposition, and Yulia Tymoshenko, the current prime minister, lead the pack of 18 candidates, with Yanukovych in position to garner between 31 and 38 percent to Tymoshenko’s 25 to 27 percent. The Central Election Commission is unlikely to issue the final tally for at least a week, but it is clear that neither candidate will end up with over 50 percent of the vote, triggering a runoff on February 7. While this result might seem like a blow to Western interests, a closer look at both the last five years of Ukrainian politics under Yushchenko and the likely policies of his probable successors shows that the situation is far less dire than it has been portrayed.
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