Chocolate magnate Petro Poroshenko seems set to be declared the outright winner of Ukraine's May 25 presidential election. But even before the confetti hits the floor, he'll have to start tackling some daunting tasks to stabilize a country in the grips of economic, political, and geopolitical crises.
Here are a few of the tough knots he will have to untangle quickly:
State-controlled media in Russia would like the world to believe a large majority of residents in eastern Ukraine yearn to bolt Kyiv for Moscow's warm embrace, but polling data does not show that to be the case. At the same time, locals in eastern Ukrainian regions are far from content with the way things are going in Kyiv.
At least five Ukrainian activists and journalists opposed to Russia's invasion of Crimea have gone missing in the peninsula.
Andriy Shchekun, the head of Crimea's Ukrainian Council, and Anatolyy Kovalskiy, the director of the board of trustees of the Ukrainian School in Simferopol, have been active in denouncing the Russian takeover of their region.
The Euromaidan movement may be centered in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, but it enjoys strong support in the South Caucasus state of Georgia. For many in Tbilisi, there’s a feeling that as Ukraine goes, so follows Georgia.
A few decades ago, they were sent abroad to fulfill an “internationalist” duty. Today, Afghan war veterans in Ukraine are answering a domestic call, and are playing a prominent role in keeping the Maidan movement going in Kiev.