04/23/2019, 14.35
UKRAINE - RUSSIA
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Zelensky's victory. Ukraine begins another new chapter

by Vladimir Rozanskij

The comedian triumphed with 73% of the votes, a higher than expected result.  The relationship with Russia and with Putin will be the first test.  Poroshenko lost because of his heated anti-Russian nationalist tones, of the corruption in his ranks, for having abused the result on autocephaly, creating even more tension among the Churches.  The Ukrainians, a religious people, want areturn to the "Majdan spirit".

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The presidential elections in Ukraine ended with the announced triumph of comedian Volodymir Zelensky, in even greater proportions than forecast: 73% against 25% of outgoing president Petro Poroshenko.  So much so that the 41-year-old actor decided to rename his show Kvartal-73 and not Kvartal-95, as it was called in honor of the country's primitive independence from Moscow.

In reality, the relationship with Moscow will be the first big test for the new president. His staff assures that "negotiations with Putin will begin"  immediately, to resolve the conflict that has paralyzed the country for five years, with the related economic issues, linked above all to the supply of Russian gas.  

The relationship with Putin generated the first comic "gaffe" of the new leadership: announcing the victory, Zelensky's spokesman exclaimed "Here is the new president Vladimir Vladimirovich", using the patronymic of the Russian "tsar" instead of that of  Zelensky, which is Vladimir (Volodymir in ukrainian) Aleksandrovich.

The victory of the "anti-political" actor unites Ukraine with the wave of protest movements of many other European countries and from various parts of the world.  In addition to the fatigue caused by the Donbass conflict, the great drive for Zelensky's victory was certainly the rejection of the corruption system, widespread among the local ruling classes, and the anger against an establishment that would have betrayed the spirit of the "revolution of  Majdan ", occupying power without listening to the will of the people.

Poroshenko saw the nationalist ideology with which he thought he had earned a place of honor in the troubled history of the country in which the Don and the Dnepr, based on the triad God-Fatherland-Army.  

The Russophobia of war, which also unites the most reactionary movements and the westernmost regions of Ukraine, is not shared by the majority of the population, which still feels the historical kinship with Russia.  

Also the project of "linguistic ukrainization", which wants to exclude the Russian language as a second official language, has not generated enthusiasm;  the new president speaks mainly Russian, passing casually to Ukrainian dialect, without worrying too much about pronunciation or grammar.

Instead of the hoped for glory, it was above all the third stronghold, the new autocephalous Christianity, that condemned the ex-president to defeat.  The conferment of the autonomous Tomos from Moscow, granted by Constantinople at the price of a serious schism in Orthodoxy, was used by Poroshenko as an electoral weapon, brandished in every corner of the country in which it was solemnly presented along with Metropolitan Epifanij (  Dumenko), who will now have to deal with Zelensky.  On the TV show the comedian had ridiculed the operation by calling the Tomos “thermos”, then apologizing in a rather ambiguous way.

Ukrainians are a very religious people, who saw a great revival of faith after communism, in all variants of Orthodox Christianity, Catholic and even Protestant.  The attempt to unify the various ecclesiastical branches, however, has not found the hoped for response, provoking instead new lacerations.  Now everything will be put back into play, so much so that the spokesman of the Moscow patriarchate, Vladimir Legojda, greeted the election of Zelensky with the wish to "stop the persecutions against the only canonical Orthodox Church in the country", that of  Muscovite obedience.

Doubtless, however, there are doubts about the actual capabilities of the new president, who improvised himself as a politician only in the last year, and he is accused of being the "Kolomojko's puppet", a Ukrainian oligarch who has always been embroiled in politics and the television channel  which made the comedian famous.  

The hope of the Ukrainians is to return to the "Majdan spirit" and to its particular inspiration of "direct democracy", in which the people are protagonists of national political choices.  The only really significant sentence uttered by Zelensky immediately after the election, echoes that spirit: "I am not yet officially president, so as a simple citizen I can tell all countries in the post-Soviet area: look, anything is possible".

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