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Ukraine Faces Grim Choices After Parliamentary Elections

A billboard in Kiev of the current Prime Minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, is covered on Oct. 23 prior to parliamentary elections
A billboard in Kiev of the current Prime Minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, is covered on Oct. 23 prior to parliamentary electionsPhotograph by Vladimir Simicek/Getty Images

It’s not something the president of Ukraine would normally do, but last week Petro Poroshenko personally ordered that central heating be turned on across the country by Oct. 24—two days before the parliamentary election. As temperature dropped below freezing, the news was certainly welcomed by all, but a handful of experts worried about the country’s ability to pay its debts to Russia for the consumed gas and therefore ensure that apartments will stay heated through the winter.

The announcement might have sparked the enthusiasm of those who thought of casting their ballots for the aptly named Poroshenko Bloc in the election on Sunday. The bloc is a broad coalition that unites Ukrainians as different as the activists who kick-started antigovernment protests in Kiev a year ago and former allies of president Viktor Yanukovych (who was ousted by that protest). It was comfortably leading opinion polls on the eve of the vote: The bloc will likely secure a healthy majority in the Rada, the Ukrainian parliament.