Orange Revolution

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Ukraine’s “Orange revolution”

"In January 2005, news of the disputed Ukrainian elections flashed all over the world; President Leonid Kuchma stood accused of tampering with the electoral processes for his preferred candidate Viktor Yanukovich. Electoral fraud was nothing new to the Ukraine, but in the past Kuchma’s authoritarian government had been on friendly terms with transnational elites and predictably stolen elections in 1994 and 1999 were ignored by the international community. In 2004, this appears to have changed. Subsequently, tens of thousands of citizens descended on the streets of Kiev for over a week, demanding new elections for their favored candidate – opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko. Economic conditions may have played an important role in mobilising protestors against Kuchma, with the Ukraine’s Gross Domestic Product in 2000 being a third of its 1990 level value.

"What explained the sudden interest of the western media in this contested election? And why, when millions of Yanukovich’s supporters marched throughout the Donetsk region in late November, did the media “miss” them? [1] It seems the answer to these questions seems to be intimately tied in with the interests of foreign (or more specifically US) “democracy promoters”, who provided the opposition with around US$65 million in the two years running up to the election. [2] Indeed, visual evidence of this aid was apparent at the massive Kiev protests, where food, clothing, medication and local accommodation was provided for free. [3]

"As in the previous [so-called colored] revolutions, a youth group styled after Otpor, called Pora (a group that formed in December 2002) led the protests. However, while Otpor’s catchy symbolism played upon the image of a clenched fist, Pora’s campaigning literature was not as democratically minded; their posters showed a jackboot crushing a beetle. Pora received most of its international funding indirectly through the Freedom of Choice Coalition – an umbrella organisation for Ukrainian NGOs founded in 1999 – which itself is financed by the international “democracy promoting” community. [4]" Barker, 2006

Orange Revolution - the film

The film/documentary was released by York Zimmerman was premiered in April 2007 as the Orange Revolution (the films former working title had been the Ukraine Project).

Writing in February 2007, Michael Barker notes that:

"Like the two films that preceded it, it seems likely that The Ukraine Project will provide yet another whitewash of the NED’s work. This is all the more likely as shortly after the Ukraine’s so-called ‘Orange revolution’, Ackerman and Duvall wrote an article in the International Herald Tribune which suggested that the debate concerning the “propriety of U.S. and European funding for democracy-building in Ukraine” really “misse[d] the reality of how the Orange Revolution succeeded.” [5] They added that “Like all victories of people power in the past 25 years, it was achieved, not by foreign assistance, but by the indigenous force of ordinary citizens applying their own strategy to challenge autocratic power.” They even used the tried and tested method of labelling debaters, who questioned the motives of the ‘democracy promoters’ as “conspiracy theorists.” Of course they are not stupid and they acknowledged that “[e]xternal aid can help, but [they add that] its neither necessary nor sufficient” for a revolution to succeed. This interpretation of the events flies in the face of more critical research (not published in the mainstream media), like that of Professor William I. Robinson. Robinson’s polyarchal work – introduced earlier in this paper – has shown that many of the revolutions that have come to pass in the last 20 years had been thoroughly infiltrated by the NED (and their international cronies), and even then, their success in ousting their governments is only really guaranteed once the imperial powers that be give them the official nod. For example, although opposition groups are being courted by the NED in Uzbekistan, the nod has not come from foreign policy elites in the US, so instead of success in the streets protestors often meet death (even those ‘supported’ by the NED)." [6]

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