KYIV, Ukraine -- To many observers, Ukraine's recently elected President Viktor Yanukovych is the same pro-Russian stooge he was in 2004, when he walked away the loser of the Orange Revolution that catapulted pro-Western former President Viktor Yushchenko into power.
The apparent evidence of Yanukovych's pro-Moscow slant abounds. Since taking office in February, he extended the Russian Black Sea Fleet's lease on its Ukrainian base in Sevastopol, a move attacked by opponents as endangering Ukraine's sovereignty. He also signed an array of cooperation agreements across several sectors during one of his many meetings with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. And he even invited agents from Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) to return to Crimea, after Yushchenko had kicked them out last year for alleged espionage.
Yet smaller details abound that paint a differentand perhaps more nuancedportrait of the Yanukovych administration, one of a limited push toward Russia combined with a sincere commitment to European integration.