"Since Viktor Yanukovych defeated Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko to win Ukraine's presidency in 2010, many observers have expressed concern about Ukraine's democratic development, including the government's use of the courts to neutralize opposition leaders, including Tymoshenko, who was sentenced to a seven-year prison term in 2011. International observers criticized Ukraine's October 2012 parliamentary elections as falling short of international standards. The global economic crisis hit Ukraine hard. Ukraine's real gross domestic product (GDP) fell by an estimated 15% in 2009. The economy began to recover in 2010, but has hit another slowdown since 2012 due to the Eurozone crisis, which has reduced demand for Ukraine's exports. Ukraine has long-standing problems in attracting foreign investment, in part due to rampant corruption and other shortcomings in the rule of law. Living standards for many Ukrainians remain low, leading to a sharp drop in Yanukovych's popularity when compared to the start of his term. However, Ukraine's next presidential elections are not due until 2015."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33460