Image via WikipediaToday's election in Ukraine will not produce a clear winner and if Tymoshenko can hold on to a gap with Yanukovitch of no more than 15% then she has the chance to win on the February 7 runoff. After today, Yuschenko will be history and will forever regret the lost opportunities of 2004 and 2005.
He will regret his misplaced magnanimity in allowing Kuchma, Yanukovich and their allies to remain free. He will regret his weak responses to corruption and inefficiency. He will regret not forcefully reminding the EU and the United States what exactly was at stake. By Sunday night he will be retired.
Ukraine will have lost largely because of the apathy and disinterest in the youth and middle class over the past five years and not the failure of its politicians, which are legion. Nothing has struck me more than the "I don't care" attitude of the young and not so young. They will have much to regret as well during the next decade as any sort of democratic rule will be absorbed within the Russian standard of single party rule, a crushed media and subservience to Moscow as a client state.
None of the leading candidates can now forge an independent road for Ukraine. They are all tied to Russia and Russia has no intention of ever letting go again. It does not matter if Tymoshenko or Yanukovich is president. One will be and the other will be Prime Minister and Russia will have won completely. The eggs are indeed now in one basket.
This is an enormous strategic victory for Moscow as it really cannot wield world wide influence without Ukraine as an integral and controlled part. After February 7, it will be able to focus fully on its periphery, which is why the NATO commitment to the Baltics and Poland, is key to containing a resurgent Russian Union which has no free media, no fair elections and murders its political critics with impunity.