21:44 GMT03 August 2020
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    Ukrainian Elections: Oligarch vs Energy Tycoon vs Comedian

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    This Sunday’s general elections in Ukraine will see the incumbent oligarch Petro Poroshenko fighting for his political life against energy tycoon Yulia Tymoshenko and comedian Volodymyr Zelensky.

    The current president has presided over what has indisputably been the country's worst period since its 1991 independence, with the economy plummeting to African-like levels according to some comparative studies, fascist-era "nationalism" running rampant, and the eastern part of the civil war-torn country still beyond the post-coup authorities' grip. It's therefore unsurprising that a recent Gallup poll reported that Ukrainians have the world's lowest level of confidence in their government.

    Other surveys suggest that Poroshenko is polling at record low numbers ahead of the vote and is trailing Zelensky by a wide margin, with it apparently looking like the comedian will take the top spot in the first round of voting while the incumbent will battle with Tymoshenko for the second spot in the next round if no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote this time around. While it remains to be seen how accurate that increasingly popular and internationally discussed prediction is, there's no disputing the meteoric rise of the comedian that some observers attribute to society's growing cynicism after the EuroMaidan Color Revolution. The so-called "Revolution of Dignity" was anything but for the vast majority of Ukrainians who are now struggling to survive, and many seem ready to throw political caution to the wind in order to elect a totally fresh face to represent them who's seen as distanced from the entrenched ruling oligarchic class unlike his two competitors.

    Still, it's interesting to many that Tymoshenko might come out in second place. This controversial businesswoman and former Prime Minister represents the dreams and aspirations of the 2004 Orange Revolution, yet another moment of unfulfilled high hopes in Ukraine's recent history, and is trying to stage a political comeback after being largely relegated to the political periphery after EuroMaidan. She still has her base of supporters, but it seems like her wider appeal is nostalgia for a comparatively less destructive "revolutionary" movement. Either way, this Sunday's Ukrainian elections will be the first time in five years that the world gets a chance to read the people's pulse.

    Andrew Korybko is joined by Padraig Joseph McGrath, Irish journalist who has been living and working in Crimea for the past 5 years, and Miquel Puertas, teacher and blogger from Barcelona who spent 1,5 years living in Donetsk.

    Want to sound off and share what you think about this? Send us an email at radio@sputniknews.com or find us on Facebook!    

    Ukrainian Elections 2019, Volodymyr Zelensky, Yulia Tymoshenko, Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine
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