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Maidan-style protest won’t happen, Tymoshenko adviser says

Maidan-style protest won’t happen, Tymoshenko adviser says

26 February 2019

Opponents to President Petro Poroshenko won’t organize
a maidan-style protest even if it’s justified, Ukrainian political pundit Vadym
Karasyov said on Ukrainian television on Feb. 21. He cited three reasons: (1)
the Poroshenko administration has too much support while the opposition is too
weak, (2) the opposition can seek revenge in the October parliamentary
elections and (3) the U.S. isn’t interested in a maidan against Poroshenko.
“The U.S. is afraid that Ukraine will become a big failure,” said Karasiov, who
is widely recognized to be consulting the Tymoshenko campaign in these
elections. “A maidan is too risky an enterprise for the U.S.”

 

Zenon Zawada: We agree
that a maidan-style protest is unlikely, even if the Poroshenko administration
is widely recognized to have manipulated the elections. The potential for a
maidan will be extinguished if the elections are approved by Western election
observing organizations, particularly the OSCE. And while Poroshenko has an
enormous disapproval rating (50.3% of voters won’t choose him under any
conditions), he has a strong nucleus of support that will defend him,
particularly within the military.

 

However, there remains the possibility (about 25%
likelihood) that the election violations by the Poroshenko administration will
be so egregious that the West can’t recognize them. And
while Tymoshenko’s electorate of poor and elderly isn’t capable of carrying out
an effective maidan protest, Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s electorate is capable. The
lack of Western approval would leave the door open for all opposition forces to
rally around Zelenskiy.

 

Our base-case scenario is Poroshenko winning the
second-round runoff vote amid inevitable accusations of massive vote fraud that
are already being alleged. We expect the OSCE and other Western observers will
approve the elections as meeting international standards of being free and
fair, so long as the manipulations aren’t excessive. And stability in Ukraine
will be maintained.

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