Ukraine: Wild Dances

It has all the hallmarks of popular fiction; a president caught up in persistent allegations of scandal, while his potential successors battle it out by fair means or foul and political ‘technologists’ try to engineer victory. A good read perhaps were it not that the country concerned – Ukraine – needs to work out where it stands in the world.

The World Today Updated 19 October 2020 Published 1 November 2004 5 minute READ

Dr Andrew Wilson

Partner, ASquared Media

Ukraine has just celebrated thirteen years of independence, ten years of President Leonid Kuchma and victory at the Eurovision Song Contest for Ruslana’s song Wild Dances. The capital Kiev was also buzzing with rumours that Kuchma would resign before the election due on October 31, copying the former Russian president Boris Yeltsin’s approach – a discredited president granting his prime minister a few months as his chosen successor and sufficient publicity for a probable free- ride to victory.

Kuchma, however, is more discredited than Yeltsin ever was. First came the Gongadze scandal in September 2000, the gruesome death of an opposition journalist. Then the Melnychenko tapes secretly recorded in the president’s office, apparently proving his complicity in the Gongadze murder – but this was only the tip of a very large iceberg.

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