The Orange-clad demonstrators laid the capital of Ukraine almost under siege through protests and political events that took place in Ukraine from end 2004 to beginning 2005 for around two months. In the immediate aftermath of the run-off vote of 2004, Ukrainian presidential elections claimed to be marred by massive corruption, voter intimidation and direct electoral fraud. The Ukrainian capital, was the focal point of the movement’s campaign of civil resistance, with thousands of protesters demonstrating daily. Nationwide, the democratic revolution was highlighted by a series of civil disobedience acts, sit-ins and general strikes organised by the opposition movement.
The protests were prompted by reports from several domestic and foreign election monitors as well as the widespread public perception that the results of the run-off vote of 2004 were rigged by the authorities in favour of Viktor Yanukovych. The nationwide protests succeeded when the results of the original run-off were annulled and a re-vote was ordered by Ukraine’s Supreme Court. Under intense scrutiny by domestic and international observers, the second run-off was declared to be “fair and free”. The final results showed a clear victory for Yushchenko. He was declared the official winner and with his inauguration, the Orange Revolution ended.
In 2010 Yanukovych again became Yushchenko’s successor as Ukrainian President after the Election Commission and international observers declared that he had won in a fairly conducted 2010 Presidential elections.
Yanukovych was out of power for four years, however, following yet another set of riots in Kiev, unlike the bloodless Orange Revolution, where over one hundred people died in the February 2014 riots.
The situation is now more dangerous than it has ever been. Ukraine voted for independence and separated from the Soviet Union peacefully in 1991. Its Orange Revolution in 2004-05, a street response to rigged elections, was also completed without bloodshed, though some panicky reactions on both sides brought it pretty close. Since then, Ukrainian politics have been messy and tainted by corruption. It has now descended, for the first time, into violence, and that may be hard to reverse. The protests were initially restricted to the capital, Kiev, but this started to change about a month ago when mini-protests started replicating themselves across the country.
On the positive side, despite doom-laden forecasts about an east-west split – broadly between those whose first language is Russian and those whose first language is Ukrainian – Ukrainians in both camps have been unanimous in support of independence. The eastern part of the country may look culturally, economically and in its religious orthodoxy towards Russia, but everyone is more mixed up than this simple division would suggest. Although polls have never shown any appetite for returning to Russia’s administrative embrace.
Finally, the Ukrainian Parliament have toppled the authoritarian government from power who have persecuted protesters, activists and undermined the media and court. The government poked the final nail into its coffin when the police stooped fire over the protesters and killed many people.
Yanukovych, like Egyptian Mubarrak, and others in Arab states tried to suppress the voice of general people in a bid to remain in the helm of power. When other administrators succeeded for a while, to some extent, in other parts of the world, Yanukovych failed miserably in his endeavour due to a large chunk of population who are educated and well managed in their domicile.
Yanukovych is now facing arrest for mass murder. The turmoil in Ukrain is going to last for sometime more, unless Presidential Elections are held under the supervision of international monitors, although Russia and US should stay away from provoking and taking any other side.