Monday, December 27, 2004
On this day:

Ukraine Elections

Judge Creates Election Twist in Ukraine By MARA D. BELLABY UPDATE: Ukraine Elects President in Runoff Vote By NATASHA LISOVA
Ex-Pat Ukrainians Are Fans of the Orange Many of his former countrymen living in the United States are celebrating the victory of Western reformer Viktor Yushchenko in Sunday's Ukrainian election. Some went to extraordinary lengths to ensure their homeland turned to democracy and the rule of law. In Cleveland, nearly 400 boarded overnight buses to go and vote at the Ukrainian embassy in Washington, D.C. Ukraine allowed anyone who still holds its passport to vote in person at its diplomatic offices in Washington, New York, San Francisco and Chicago. The results were clear. Of the 3,851 ballots cast at the Chicago consulate, Moscow-backed candidate Viktor Yanukovych won only 24 -- fewer than 1% of votes cast. Several backers of Mr. Yushchenko spoke of their pride that his wife, Kateryna, was born and raised in Chicago and is now helping steer the country back to freedom. Sport-minded members of the Ukrainian diaspora traveled to Las Vegas early this month to cheer for Vitali Klitschko, a 6-foot-7 Ukrainian heavyweight, who successfully defended his World Boxing Council title against British slugger Danny Williams. Mr. Klitschko urged them to support Mr. Yushchenko, saying he had almost canceled his fight to join the pro-democracy demonstrations in Kiev. His entire entourage dressed in the orange T-shirts, the color of Mr. Yushchenko's party. Hundreds of young Ukrainian-Americans even traveled back to the old country to serve as election observers. Many retain ties to their homeland because their parents raised them in a tight network of summer camps and language schools. Yurko Pylyp, a 24-year-old Ukrainian-American from New York, called the mission a "cultural draft for us because we have to go back." The election observing duty was more vigorous than many expected. I received an e-mail from one Ukrainian-American who reported that his team was offered lunch by several election committees at polling stations they visited. "Given the poisoning of Yushchenko, we were under strict orders by the organizers of our trip not to accept," he reported. "Thank goodness for trail mix." --John Fund