Human Rights Watch, 2011
The February 2010 presidential election ended the political turmoil that has characterized Ukraine in recent years. Viktor Yanukovich won the election over incumbent Viktor Yushschenko in a contest that international observers declared generally in accordance with international standards. Upon taking office President Yanukovich initiated far-reaching reforms, drawing criticism for pushing through changes without respecting democratic procedures or engaging the opposition.
Ukraine’s relationship with Russia improved significantly in 2010. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who had clashed frequently with Yushschenko, voiced hope that the “black page” in relations between Russia and Ukraine following the Orange Revolution of 2005 would be turned. Yanukovich, widely-seen as pro-Russian, visited Moscow in March and agreed to extend the lease on Russia’s Black Sea fleet in the Crimea for another 25 years. Medvedev reciprocated by discounting gas prices to Ukraine.