Ukraine: Gift und Wanderzoos statt Spin und Lügen

--- Während die westlichen Medien sich mit Meldungen aus dem US-Wahlkampf schier überschlagen, geht das bunte Treiben im Wahlkampf in der Ukraine fast vollständig unter. Fast nur die taz berichtet regelmäßig über die Vorkommnisse im tiefen Südosten Europas. Anlässlich der am Sonntag stattfindenden Wahl hievt jetzt aber auch die Washington Post die haarsträubenden Praktiken ins Blatt: Viktor Yushchenko, the leading opposition candidate for the presidency of Ukraine, planned to hold a rally on Tuesday in a central square in this small city. But over the weekend, city officials suddenly moved a traveling zoo and amusement park onto the square, forcing Yushchenko's backers to scurry for another location. ... On Sunday, Ukraine will hold elections following an intensely competitive campaign marred by dirty tricks, bombings and harassment on a scale unusual even by the standards of post-Soviet electioneering. The opposition also faces accusations of rough tactics, including inciting violence aimed at intimidating electoral officials. But perhaps the most controversial claim is that government agents poisoned Yushchenko last summer. He disappeared from view for five weeks, reemerging to campaign with his formerly youthful face disfigured. The government denies the accusation. Torn by the pulls of neighboring Russia and the West, this country of 48 million people has swung between emerging democracy and authoritarianism in the 13 years since it gained independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the past year, it has strengthened military ties with the United States, sending 1,650 troops to the multinational force in Iraq despite public skepticism. ... "This election is not about left or right," said Vadim Karasev, director of the Institute for Global Strategies, a political research group. "It's a historic struggle between the past and the future. Whoever wins is going to consolidate the character of the country's development for a long time."

Update: Die FTD spricht von einem Kopf-an-Kopf-Rennen nach dem Wahlgang, auf jeden Fall kommt es zur Stichwahl und der oppositionelle Juschtschenko liegt anscheinend vorn.