I taught at a college in Ukraine for a year and have a special interest in their October 31 election. In many ways it is dirtier and more critical than the U.S. election. This excellent article by Kim Iskyan goes into detail:
Kuchma, and now Yanukovych, play hardball in a way that makes Karl Rove look like a swing-set schemer. Over the past several years, political rivals who were inconvenient to Kuchma?such as the arms export chief, a prominent parliamentarian, a deputy head of the central bank, and a half-dozen or so others?have been killed in suspicious auto accidents. In a fresh twist, in early September, Yushenko was taken ill with what appeared to be severe food poisoning (allegedly after dining with the head of the Ukrainian security service). After a two-week recovery at a clinic in Austria, Yushenko claimed that the powers-that-be had tried to kill him.
Ukraine is a lovely place (I plan to write an essay about my experiences in December), but its hope for democracy is on the line. If Yanukovych ends up winning definitively and fraud is suggested, there will be rioting in the streets.