President &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/cis/2002/04/19/27783.html ' target=_blank>Leonid Kuchma has been the president of Ukraine for 10 of the 13 years since the country gained independence from the Soviet Union.
He arrived on the political scene as a "red director" - the boss of a Soviet rocket factory - and ultimately became a master powerbroker among Ukrainian oligarchs.
His chief of staff and his son-in-law are two of the country's most powerful men - politically and economically - while the candidate they jointly put forward for the presidency, Viktor Yanukovych, was a representative of the country's other top clan, reports BBC News.
"If a revote date isn't set quickly after the &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/cis/2002/10/22/38499.html ' target=_blank>Supreme Court's ruling, we will begin taking adequate steps against the authorities." - opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko, talking to supporters in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev.
"We aren't letting anyone through. Why should we? We are so close to victory, why surrender now?" - Natalya Nechipurenko, one of thousands of protesters blockading the Cabinet building in Kiev.
"This is the breaking point. The destiny of my country is being decided" - Alisa Orap, a Kiev advertising agency worker.
"If the Supreme Court annuls the election and does not declare Viktor Yanukovych the winner, eastern Ukraine will split from western Ukraine." - Alla Nechapaiko, a university student in the eastern city of Donetsk, wrote the Seattle Post.
According to the Xinhua News, Ukraine has been in a political crisis since the November 21 presidential election, victory in which has been claimed by both pro-Moscow candidate, Prime Minister Yanukovich, and pro-Western candidate, opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko.
The difference between the West and the two mighty allies in the East - Russia and China - is enormous. In fact, it is not a difference, but an outright contrast