Orange Revolution 2004: what was it, effects

THE 2004 Orange Revolution happened in the Ukraine and was marked by popular demonstrations that took place in Kiev, the country's capital, against electoral fraud that took place in the European country's presidential election. On that occasion, candidate Viktor Yuschenko was harmed by manipulations in favor of Viktor Yanukovych.

The protest demonstrated the dissatisfaction of the Ukrainian population with the semi-authoritarian governments that had ruled the country since 1991. With popular revolt, the Supreme Court annulled the 2004 election. A new election was held and the opposition candidate Viktor Yuschenko won.

See too:Conflicts in Eastern Europe— disputes over geopolitical, territorial and ethnic orders

Summary on the Orange Revolution of 2004

  • Ukraine gained its independence in 1991 and was ruled until 2004 by semi-authoritarian governments.

  • In 2000, opposition to the government of Leonid Kuchma gained strength in the country.

  • The two big names in the opposition were Viktor Yuschenko and Yulia Tymoshenko.

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  • The 2004 presidential election was denounced by the international community for fraud.

  • The population took to the streets of Kiev demanding that a new dispute be held, without manipulation. This resulted in the victory of Viktor Yuschenko.

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Background of the Orange Revolution of 2004

THE Ukraine is a nation that gained its independence in late 1991., during the process of Fragmentation of the Soviet Union. The establishment of Ukraine brought great challenges, such as the organization of the new country, as well as its adaptation to the condition of a nation with a capitalist economy.

Politically speaking, Ukraine has organized itself as a semi-authoritarian presidential republic and has taken different and conflicting positions regarding its future interests. That's because the country demonstrated its intention to if approach the West, but if kept onTheàRussia mainly through political and economic relations.

The desire for rapprochement with the West meant that the country did not completely enclose itself in an authoritarian government, as had happened with other former Soviet nations. Thus, the country maintained a kind of facade liberal democracy, although it was governed in a semi-authoritarian manner by the two presidents of the period, Leonid Kravchuk (1991–1994) and Leonid Kuchma (1994–2004).

This period of semi-authoritarian governments reinforced the social inequality in Ukraine and allowed the formation of a group of super-rich who became known as “oligarchs”. These individuals, in addition to being rich, were also involved in politics and controlled the course of the country. The existence of this scenario led to the emergence of an opposition movement in Ukraine.

  • Opposition in Ukraine

The starting point for the 2004 Orange Revolution was the establishment of a resistance movement in Ukraine. Thus, the opposition against the government hadThe popular support and The president's leniency, which did not use its power to prevent the development of that opposition.

This resistance movement was called Our Ukraine and emerged in early 2000, when the Gongadze scandal broke out, in which an opposition journalist was mysteriously murdered. The journalist's murder ended up falling on the government's back, and two opposition names began to stand out: Yulia Tymoshenko and Viktor Yuschenko.

Yulia Tymoshenko was a traditional Ukrainian politician who was linked with a party called Fatherland. Viktor Yushchenko, in turn, gained ground with Nossa Ukraine, transforming the movement into a political party in 2001. Yuschenko's party was at the center of Ukraine's first crisis.

In 2002, legislative elections were held which were marred by fraud. Yuschenko's party has been badly hurt by the electoral manipulation, and this has sparked some protests in Ukraine.

There was large popular demonstrations between 2002 and 2003 that did not cause any immediate major transformation, but that paved the way for the Orange Revolution of 2004.

What was the Orange Revolution of 2004?

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko in Kiev, Ukraine, 2007.
After the 2004 Orange Revolution, Viktor Yuschenko was elected President of Ukraine. [2]

The year 2004 was a time of great change for Ukrainian politics. The population was tired of the semi-authoritarian government present in their country and wanted to see real transformations. in politics, especially those that would improve the lives of the population (which had one of the lowest salaries gives Europe), such as the end of corruption and the reduction of social inequality.

In 2004, a presidential election was scheduled to take place in the country..The population's desire for change and the discredit of the Kuchma government made thousands of people started to support one of the names that had grown up in the opposition movement: Viktor Yuschenko. On the other hand, the Ukrainian government launched Viktor Yanukovych as a candidate for the presidency.

The election result showed that Viktor Yanukovych had received almost 50% of the votes, while Yuschenko only 46%. The indication that Yanukovich would be the winner was accompanied by international complaints that the election had not met standards of transparency and what manipulation had taken place.

Immediately, popular protests broke out in the city of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, and thousands of people joined the chorus, demonstrating their displeasure with the rigged elections. Protestants were part of a movement that was called “It's Time!”. THE orange, the color of the campaign Yuschenko, was adopted in the protests popular.

The protests took place for more than two weeks in a row, with more than a million people on the streets of Kiev. So, The Supreme Court of Ukraine decided to annul the election based on international allegations of fraud. Once again, Yanukovich and Yuschenko were put into contention, the former being known for his pro-Russian stance and the latter for his pro-Western stance.

Thus, The new election was held in late December under close surveillance by Ukrainian and international observers, and no irregularities were found. THE result determined the victory of Viktor Yuschenko, the opposition candidate who received 52% of the vote. The government candidate, Viktor Yanukovych, received only 44% of the vote.

Know more: Volodymyr Zelensky — the president of Ukraine in the context of the Russian invasion of the country in 2022

Aftermath of the 2004 Orange Revolution

Viktor Yuschenko took office on January 23, 2005, marking the beginning of a new era in Ukraine. It was a period of expectation for improvements in the country and for a reduction in Ukrainian corruption, which ended up not materializing. THE Yuschenko's government if proved unable to rule together its allies.

With this election, the rivalry between the west and east of the country increasesor, with the Ukrainian west remaining pro-Western while the east reinforced its pro-Russian stance. Ukraine's rapprochement with the West has strained that nation's relations with neighboring Russia.

Finally, the discredit of Ukrainian politicians with their population has increased considerably, as the country remained very unequal and extremely corrupt.

image credits

[1] Alexander Zadiraka / shutterstock

[2] Perkin Oleksii / shutterstock

By Daniel Neves Silva
History teacher 

Teachs.ru
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