Foreign News, Travel

Ukraine election: A unique village laments its historical divide

“We lived together before, it was better. And then they wanted to go to Europe, damn it,” he says angrily and starts to pace around in the muddy path that is supposed to be pavement.

“Gas got more expensive, other amenities got more expensive. There is no work, there is no perspective for improvement and probably there will be none with our president, Petro Poroshenko. Maybe if they choose a different one [president], the militarisation will stop.”

Ukraine’s presidential elections are scheduled for March 31 with a record number of candidates vying to become the war-torn country’s sixth president.

According to opinion polls, Poroshenko is trailing in third spot behind opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko and the front-runner, a comedian, Volodymyr Zelensky.

Political novice Zelensky’s stronghold is Ukraine’s Russian-speaking areas such as Milove.

After Ukraine became independent, Milove residents continued their intertwined borderless lives until Crimea was annexed [Oksana Parafeniuk/Al Jazeera]
‘Messed up Milove’
Many residents of Milove are wary of naming the candidate they intend to vote for, but all of those who choose to share the information with Al Jazeera support Zelensky.

Even Oleksandr Tsygalo, who works in a campaign booth for Poroshenko distributing election material every day, says he will not vote for the current president.

“Look at the [pot-holed] roads in Milove. Does it seem like something was done for the town over the last five years?” he says.

Irina Sobaleva, a 50-year-old shop assistant, says: “I am not sure who to vote for but I will for sure not give my support to Poroshenko. He messed up Milove enough. For him, Milove does not exist.”

Brus, who might have to commute back from Russia specially to cast his ballot on Sunday, says he will also risk giving power to the inexperienced candidate rather than support the top two corruption-tainted political heavyweights.

“It’s my first time so I guess I will go and vote. I think I will vote for Zelensky, since I don’t even want to think about Poroshenko. We are fed up with Tymoshenko as well.”

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