The race – which features contenders ranging from the nationalist far right to the openly pro-Russian, as well as one candidate under house arrest and another using the publicity to try to find a spouse – is unquestionably unique. “This is the first time in Ukraine’s history as an independent state when we don’t know who will make it to the second round,” said Alyona Getmanchuk, director of the New Europe Centre, a Kiev-based think tank.
“Distrust of all politicians is one of the things that really unites all Ukrainian regions at the moment,” Ms. Getmanchuk said. “Ukrainians believe that only an anti-establishment person, a person who doesn’t represent the current system, is able to reform this system.”
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