The messy elections in Ukraine look pretty serious. Just to make the situation clear:
- There were two main presidential candidates. Both of them are called Viktor, but at most one of them can be the victor at the very end.
- Viktor Yanukovich is a pro-authoritative, pro-Russian candidate, supported by the Eastern half of Ukraine as well as by Lukashenko and Putin (Byelorussia and Russia). Let me call him Viktor East because you may be confused by the similar names.
- Viktor Yushchenko is a pro-Western, center-right candidate, who enjoys the support of the Western half of Ukraine, as well as the European Union and the United States of America. Let's call him Viktor West.
- Exit polls indicated that Viktor West would win. Exit polls are not that important. Nearly official results indicated that Viktor East has won. However, the international observers claim that the polls were flawed. A lot of concrete accusations were raised and the EU and the US require a detailed audit of the polls.
Countries such as Czechia, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and the Baltic states are already members of the EU. Bulgaria and Romania could join the EU in a couple of years. The Baltic states are the only countries of the former Soviet Union that left the Commonwealth of Independent States. However it is pretty unlikely that Russia will join the EU in the foreseeable future. A real open question is Ukraine. Russia wants to interpret Ukraine as a "friendly region abroad" which is of course not quite compatible with Ukraine marching to the West. It's not shocking that Ukraine is the natural battleground for any new tension between Russia and the West.
You may get the impression how serious this tension is if you read the following article:
Interference in the internal affairs of the Commonwealth of Independent States
... Pro-western factions ready to sell out to the Washington camp, orchestrated by their foreign masters, sweep to power on the crest of a wave of popular revolt, hooliganism and riots. ... The reaction from Moscow was more mature and as usual, more in line with the principles of international diplomacy ...
Yushchenko - a danger to the Ukraine ... Western reaction immature and meddlesome
Well, the author of this article is Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey (born 1958). You may say that PRAVDA does not represent Russia anymore - except that it essentially does. I am pretty curious where this controversy is going.
You know, the support of the West for Yushchenko is something that both major US parties and the US human rights institutes are paying a lot of money for. See an interesting article in The Guardian.