‘Maidan’ Looms Large Over Ukraine’s Presidential Vote

Months After Regime Change, Protesters Expect 'Radical Action'

On Sunday, most of Ukraine will go to the polls to elect a new president, and while much of the official focus is on eastern protesters, whose regions will largely not be participating in the vote anyhow, the Maidan protesters who violently ousted the last elected president three months ago are casting a much bigger shadow.

Three months after chasing President Yanukovych out of the country, many of the protesters are still there, and are demanding “radical actions” from whoever wins Sunday’s vote to secure their loyalty.

The Kiev protesters, many of them from the nation’s far West, include a strong collection of ultra-nationalists, who see crushing the autonomy protests that have erupted in the nation’s far east as job one for the new administration.

That’s almost certain to be Petro Poroshenko, the so-called Chocolate King, who is polling far ahead of competitors and may even get the 50 percent needed to avoid a run-off vote in June.

Many in Maidan aren’t too happy with Poroshenko, a former foreign minister seen by them as another “insider” and perhaps more damning, another oligarch. Despite polling strongly, he will have an uphill battle in convincing the Maidan crowd that he is the change they believe they signed up for.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.