The Orange Revolution was a time of much hope, anticipation, and forward thinking. Two presidential candidates Viktor Yuschenko (pro West), and Vicktor Yanukovych (pro Russia) squared off in what was determined a rigged election. The results favoring Yanokovych instantly created an uprising of thousands of pro westerner Ukrainians crying foul. The international community demanded a re election vote. At one point some 400,000 people jammed the capitol center in a sea of orange, the color of the party. Tents were set up everywhere for opposition protestors. The mood was one of, "This is not what we voted for and we want something done about it."
With some 20,000 international observors arriving a second election was held, clearly overturning the first with a clear win going to Victor Yuschenko. One of the most horrific things occurred during the first and second election. Pro western candidate Yuschenko was a victim of an assassination. He had been poisioned with dioxin or agent orange, with some 5,000 higher dose than anyone had ever had. In the US we know this as the banned substance agent orange that was used as a dense vegetation defoliant in Viet Nam. He was flown to Vienna where doctors immediately went to work on him but the act was physically devastating. His face was horribly disfigured and his organs were under attack. Despite his condition and some good make up artists he was able to continue his campaign and make an incredible televised debate against opponent Yanokovych.
During his tenure, the first year he fought bitterly with his "supporter" Yulia Tymoshenko who he had named prime minister.This unfortunate situation gave his opponent Yanokovych more strength in the country. After dismissing Tymoshenko,his nemisis Yanokovych was assigned by parliament as prime minister, a position with almost equal powers as the president.
During the campaign Victor Yanokovych was steadfast and clear what he would do for Ukraine. He fervently fought for these issues and accomplished some during his tenure. His drive for Ukraine and some accomplishments included:
1. Free, transparent and fair elections
2. Media and press freedom
3. Higher salaries and pensions; reduced government debt; vast
growth in foreign investment
4. Simplified procedures for business creation
5. Reformation of the educational system
6. Improved health care and social policies
7. He promoted national consolidation, Ukraine’s culture and
8. consistent efforts to integrate Ukraine into global economic
institutions and the Euro-Atlantic community;
9. Immediately turned to the EU and WTO seeking membership
and support. He discussed with NATO for membership.
10. Lifted the ban of VISAS for Americans and Europeans.
11. He opened the history books of Ukraine to recognize the
Holodomar...the mass starvation of some 10 million Ukrainians
under Soviet Stalin rule.
12. He instituted the Ukraine language as the official language of
Ukraine and that it would be taught in all schools as a primary
13. He set in place a lease to be paid for docked Russian ships in
Crimea Black Sea ports. This had never been done before. He
said he would not renew the Soviet navy base leases in
these strategic areas when they were up for renewal, and
made a law, banning foriegn ships docking for any length of
time Black Sea Crimea, and made it law that no foreign ship
would be allowed to stay in Ukraine/Crimea ports.
Having just returned from the re-election at the Orange Revolution,I found most people in the US indifferent.