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Just about everyone expects the October 28 election to result in a victory for the ruling Party of Regions. The result will be a further erosion of democracy, greater instability, and Kiev's drift toward Moscow.
President Viktor Yanukovych has led Ukraine, no stranger to crisis, into another round of turmoil. He has rolled back democracy while failing to take on corruption or take the country closer to Europe. Now, much of the public has turned against him -- and the country could be headed for more unrest.
A pernicious mix of heavy-handed rule, corrupt governance, high unemployment, and militant Islam has reignited the Russian North Caucasus. Today, it is not only the old conflict zone of Chechnya but also its neighboring republics that are bordering on open civil war.
The Russian Federation is unraveling, and its war against Chechnya shows why. Moscow blames Islamist terrorists for the trouble there. But in doing so, it ignores Russia's deeper afflictions. Russia has forced disparate ethnic groups to live together for decades but has proven inept at governing its wobbly empire. Now the fighting in Chechnya is leading dissatisfied nationalities to rethink their options -- and their dependence on Russia. Chechnya was the first to rebel. It will not be the last.