Sunday, October 31, 2004

We voted at the former Pioneers' House, where I used to take dancing classes as a kid. It went very fast and without any problems.

The list of the candidates was ridiculously long; posters with faces and bios of all 24 of them were on the walls - and the one of Yanukovych happened to be the first thing we had to look at as we entered the place. Funny how relative alphabetical order can be when politics is involved: Yanukovych was the last one on the list, but his poster got the best - central - placement at the polling station, whereas those ahead of him on the list were stuck way off to the side, to the "beginning" of the room. If there had been some 50 candidates, then his poster might have been in a less prominent spot, at the "very end" of the room - though I'm sure that even then they would've found a way to have him jump right into the voters' faces.

We voted and then went for a walk. Kyiv was wonderful again today, as happy and carefree as yesterday, as normal. We walked till it got dark and didn't see anything that could've been taken as a sign of impending disaster, a curfew or something. Even by the building of the Central Election Commission, ominously fenced off and with several armored personnel carriers and water-jet trucks hidden underneath the camouflage net in the courtyard, it was calm: they were broadcasting an instrumental rendition of The Beatles' Yesterday and the original Kashmir by Led Zeppelin when we came by; cops were walking around in pairs; there were a few people wearing something orange, Yushchenko's campaign color, and there were a few big guys who could easily pass for pro-Yanukovych thugs.

It is still seemingly okay out there, but everyone is nervous: reports of violations are coming in, and the exit poll results are confusing (according to two of them, Yushchenko is ahead of Yanukovych - 45,2% vs 36,8% and 41,98% vs 40,11%, but according to the other two, Yanukovych has a lead - 43% vs 39,2% and 43,5% vs 39,2%.) Everyone is talking about having to wait for the run-off in November.

We were planning to go to our polling station after it closed at 8 pm, but then something distracted us and now we are switching back and forth from Channel 5 to Ukrainska Pravda news, waiting for tomorrow morning, when they begin announcing the official results.

More later.

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