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A Ukrainian serviceman guards a position near the frontline of the conflict in Mariinka, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, April 20, 2019 (AP photo by Evgeniy Maloletka).

Can Zelensky Heal the Deep Divisions in Ukraine Left Behind by Poroshenko?

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree late last month to expedite the process of applying for Russian citizenship for people living in separatist regions of eastern Ukraine. The move came only days after the second round of Ukraine’s presidential election, which was won by former actor and comedian Volodymyr Zelensky. The decree poses challenges for Zelensky’s agenda and could exacerbate divisions that worsened due to the nationalist policies of outgoing President Petro Poroshenko, says Gordon Hahn, a senior researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies and the author of “Ukraine Over the Edge: Russia, the West and the ‘New Cold War.’” In an email interview with WPR, he discusses Poroshenko’s legacy and the prospects for Zelensky’s stated desire to “reboot” peace talks with Russia.

World Politics Review: What kind of impact will Putin’s citizenship decree actually have on the ground in eastern Ukraine? What are Putin’s true intentions with this move? ...

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