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The Globe and Mail

In informal exit polls, Ukrainians reveal how they cast their ballots

Ukrainians turned out in droves Sunday to choose a new president, in the first elections since a pro-Western revolution in February that ousted the Moscow-backed Viktor Yanukovych.

While pro-Russian rebels blocked most voting in the southeastern provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk – and no election was held in the Crimean Peninsula, which Ukraine still claims despite its annexation by Moscow in March – lineups were long at polling stations in and around the capital city, Kiev.

A slight majority among the two dozen voters interviewed Sunday by The Globe and Mail said they had either voted for (or were about to vote for) front-runner Petro Poroshenko.

The 48-year-old tycoon, who made the bulk of his estimated $1-billion fortune via his Roshen chocolates and candy empire, was well ahead in all opinion polls, with the only question being whether he would win enough votes Sunday to pass the 50-per-cent-mark and avoid a runoff election in three weeks' time against whoever comes second on the ballot.

Here is a selection of the voters The Globe and Mail met at polling stations today. Photographs by Marta Iwanek.

Marta Iwanek for the Globe and Mail

Pavel Krutenko, 49-year-old manager of a medical services company

Voted for: Sergei Tyhypko, a millionaire former central banker who served as deputy prime minister under Mr. Yanukovych.
Quote: “Forget about these places, Donbass [Donetsk and Lugansk] and Crimea. Forget about them and we will have a normal country.”
Marta Iwanek for the Globe and Mail

Inna Tkach, 48-year-old bank employee

Voted for: Petro Porashenko, chocolate magnate whose Fifth Channel television station played a mobilizing role in both the 2004 Orange Revolution and this year’s “Euromaidan” uprising
Quote: “I hope [Poroshenko] wins in the first round, because the situation we have now is a military crisis… the most important thing is that there’s an end to the war in Ukraine.”
Marta Iwanek for the Globe and Mail

Roman Sviderskiy, 33-year-old policeman turned folk performer

Voted for: Olga Bogomolets, a doctor famous for the clinic she set up to treat those wounded when clashes between protesters and police turned deadly in February
Quote: “Not all of the requirements of Maidan have been met. There’s a lot of talk of a third Maidan. It’s possible… we have not changed the system yet.”
Marta Iwanek for the Globe and Mail

Andrii Kachmar, 32-year-old construction worker who now works as armed security at ongoing protest camp on the Maidan – Kiev’s Independence Square

Voted for: Oleh Lyashko, leader of the Radical Party, a party that calls for the “lustration” of the country’s civil service and which has sent volunteers to fight against pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk.
Quote: “The new president will not be able to behave like the last one. They will be afraid of the people.”
Marta Iwanek for the Globe and Mail

Svetlana Lyashenko, 67-year-old teacher

Voted for: Former prime minister (and Orange Revolution leader) Yulia Tymoshenko
Quote: “I believe in [Ms. Tymoshenko]. During her whole career, she’s never changed her principles. We have all this propaganda to vote [for Mr. Poroshenko] and finish the election in the first round. But people should vote for what they feel and not be pressured.”
Marta Iwanek for the Globe and Mail

Boris Primok, 67-year-old musician

Voted for: Tymoshenko
Quote: “I don’t think very highly of [Mr. Poroshenko]… He can change at any moment to a different side. His politics are not very stable.”
Marta Iwanek for the Globe and Mail

Oksana Grinyevich, a 32-year-old economist

Voted for: Poroshenko
Quote: “We need a stable leader who will deal with the people’s needs.”
Marta Iwanek for the Globe and Mail

Tamara Yevtushenko, 65-year-old biologist

Voted for: Dmytro Yarosh, leader of the nationalist Right Sector movement
Quote: “[Right Sector] are the people who can do specific things. Yarosh will make order in the state and get rid of all the old politicians and provide us a normal life.”
Marta Iwanek for the Globe and Mail

Natasha Bogachkova, 27-year-old ceramic artist

Voted for: Poroshenko
Quote: “We should make good propaganda on TV about Ukrainian culture. [People in Donbass and Crimea] have to think differently about Ukraine… and see that they should be proud to be Ukrainian.”
Marta Iwanek for the Globe and Mail

Vadim Shemchuk, 33-year-old major in Ukrainian army

Voted for: Poroshenko
Quote: “I can say in the name of all military people that the first thing we need is stability – and then to increase the capabilities of the army.”
Marta Iwanek for the Globe and Mail

Vlada Gutsaliuk, 25-year-old personal assistant

Voted for: Poroshenko
Quote: “I hope that [Poroshenko] wins today. I don’t want any more problems or disruptions because of the [potential second round of the] elections.”
Marta Iwanek for the Globe and Mail

Dima Dzhashi, 27-year-old search engine optimizer

Voted for: Hadn’t voted yet, but was leaning towards Lyashko
Quote: “There’s no one to choose from, really. I don’t like either Poroshenko or Tymoshenko because they’ve both been in Ukrainian politics a long time and I’d like to see some new faces.”
Marta Iwanek for the Globe and Mail

Alina Rusina, 24-year-old postgraduate math student at the Taras Shevcheko National University

Voted for: not able to vote because registered in the wrong place. Would have voted for Poroshenko
Quote: “The new president needs to regulate the internal conflict. I wish it could be done in a peaceful way, but I’m not sure it will work out like this.”

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