Both of the front-running candidates in the poll have indicated that firmer ties with Russia, whether for pragmatic or ideological reasons, will be a priority. The poll will thus ring the death knell for a pro-western revolution that degenerated into a morass of political infighting, compounded by economic crisis.
Leading the polls is Viktor Yanukovych, a former prime minister whose initial victory as the Russia-backed candidate in 2004 sparked allegations of a rigged vote. His only serious rival is Yulia Tymoshenko, the prime minister and Moscow's new favoured candidate. President Viktor Yushchenko, hero of the Orange Revolution, now has an approval rating below 3%. Last week he accused Yanukovych and Tymoshenko of comprising a "single Kremlin coalition", such was their joint desire for warmer relations with Moscow.
Whether Yanukovych or Tymoshenko wins, the goal of Nato membership, still aspired to by Yushchenko, is almost certain to be abandoned.
Yanukovych last week repeated his long-held stance that he would take Ukraine off the path to Nato membership. "Ukraine was and will be a non-aligned nation, as it is now," he told.