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Posted inCentral Europe & Baltics, Eastern Europe & Russia, Russia, Ukraine

Ukraine: Looking Both Ways

TWO RADICALLY DIFFERENT visions of Ukraine’s geopolitical position vied for superiority in the country’s second presidential race. For the incumbent Leonid Kravchuk, Ukraine was part of Europe; he pledged during the campaign to continue his Western-oriented policies. Former Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma, in contrast, was pro-Russian; he insisted that Ukraine’s economic problems resulted from its post-Soviet separation from Eurasia. He supported full membership in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) economic union and closer ties with Russia, but said he also wanted to preserve Ukrainian independence. Kuchma won a clear victory on 10 July 1994 with 52.2 percent of the vote, compared with 45.1 percent for Kravchuk.