The OSCE has hailed Ukraine's presidential election as “open, transparent and honest”, yet Yulia Tymoshenko claims she will never accept Viktor Yanukkovych’s victory.
This is the scion of democracy whose defeat is causing wailing and gnashing of teeth in some newspapers.
The truth is that the coverage of recent Ukrainian politics has been exposed by Yanukovych’s victory. The zero sum game between western liberalisers and neo-Soviet bureaucrats, consistently portrayed in the papers, was misleading.
Ukraine’s ‘Orange Revolution’ was not a defiant repudiation of Russia and an embrace of the so-called west. Voters wished to see an end to corruption in politics and economic stability. Viktor Yushchenko resoundingly failed to deliver and the electorate has chosen to try another approach.
The idea that Yanukovych vs. Tymoshenko represented Russia vs. The West was equally misleading. Vladimir Putin is said to enjoy a positive relationship with Tymoshenko and regards Yanukovych with some distaste. The man from Donetsk wishes to renegotiate Ukraine’s gas commitments.
Of course Yanukovych's Party of the Regions does have its heartland in the Russophone east, but an election isn’t decided in the heartlands. Central Ukraine and Kiev have also swung in this election.
Editorials will dwell on incidents in Yanukovych’s past and allegations which arose from the last presidential election. However it appears likely that he will conduct his duties with a new spirit of pragmatism.
Out will go Yushchenko’s ideological commitment to Nato and baiting of Russia.
Yanukovych wishes Ukraine to become a bridge between Russia and Europe. It might not suit the Russophobe agenda, but a future as a bridge is better than a future as the rope in an endless tug of war.