KYIV – Ukraine’s parliamentary election on October 28 will be neither free nor fair. After eight unproductive years since the 2004 Orange Revolution, the democratic opposition is depressed and demoralized. Even so, the elections may check President Viktor Yanukovych’s power.
Yanukovych came to power in February 2010, in elections that were rated free and fair (and at a time when Freedom House still ranked Ukraine as democratic). But he quickly consolidated power and turned Ukraine into a mildly authoritarian state. A dozen prominent opposition politicians have been sentenced to prison, including former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and the former interior minister, Yuri Lutsenko.