Archive for the ‘Yanukovych’ Category
In Ukraine, ‘how little has changed’ even after Orange Revolution
The heroes of the Orange Revolution — the man nearly poisoned to death and the beauty in traditional braids — inspired the world in 2004. I covered this non-violent protest and stood, with half a million others, many nights in a frigid Kiev square to hear Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko denounce the country’s corrupt regime.
Their grassroots movement overturned the rigged election of Viktor Yanukovych. Yushchenko became President and appointed Tymoshenko to be Prime Minister. Hopes lifted throughout the country, and elsewhere that Ukraine would overthrow their Soviet-style autocrats.
But today the country lurches toward bankruptcy and toward becoming a Russian vassal again. Six million have fled and the IMF has cut off credit.
Tymoshenko occupies a jail cell in a penal colony, 300 miles east of Kiev, after being sentenced for seven years on trumped up charges. Polling shows that she is Ukraine’s most popular politician.
Yushchenko, booed wherever he appears these days, occupies a Presidential palace he designed for himself, paid for by taxpayers, even though he was thrown out as President in 2010.
And Yanukovych, whose 2004 election was overturned, won in 2010 after the Orange Revolution’s heroes destroyed one another politically. He and his insiders live like Playboys in a country riven by poverty and corruption.
Those of us who followed events there wonder what happened to Eastern Europe’s Arab Spring and to the magical couple who risked everything and inspired a nation of 45 million people and the world.
These and other questions were debated and discussed at a conference this week in Ottawa, sponsored by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. Experts appeared before a Parliamentary committee and before a series of influential plenary sessions to discuss issues around the theme “Ukraine at the Crossroads”.