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President Yushchenko and his Orange Revolution thrashed and humiliated

President Yushchenko and his Orange Revolution thrashed and humiliated

The Party of the Regions, led by Viktor Yanukovich, has clearly won the Ukrainian legislative elections, with around 33% of the vote – twice that of Viktor Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine, beaten into third place behind Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc (20.4%). The Communist and Socialist Parties will both be represented in Parliament, having obtained the minimum 3% necessary.

So, how popular the Orange Revolution is barely a year after its promises of a wonderful new Ukraine. Where are the NGOs, where are the claims that the vote was rigged, where are the crowds of hooligans, the darlings of the west, defying law and order, thronging the streets, spreading litter and committing acts of vandalism? Where is the Revolution? It has dissipated into a dull, befuddled muddle of half-promises and pseudo-pledges, sold down the river by a bewildered, unable, inept and inefficient clique of wannabe politicians whose sole purpose to exist is to sell the Ukraine and its interests to Washington in particular, the West in general and NATO, that spear in the side, the constant thorn in the crown


Yushchenko, in a position of political check, now understands that playing politics involves more than being the pawn of Washington and that however novel the call of the west may be, the fact of the matter is that the Ukraine is going through a serious identity crisis. More and more people realise that the idea of independence is a romantic concept but the reality is that the Ukraine is dependent upon, and not independent from, the Russian Federation, de facto.

Therefore President Yushchenko will look to the largest opposition parties and their leaders (Yanukovich or Timoshenko) to form a government of national stability, albeit possibly in a period of uncomfortable cohabitation. At present the most likely scenario is an alliance with Yulia Timoshenko, who Yushchenko dismissed as Prime Minister last year. She has declared that she would expect that post back and also that she would favour cancelling the gas deal signed with the Russian Federation. Timoshenko’s pro-presidential party, which was swept to power during the events of 2004 when Yanukovich’s Presidential election victory was overturned amid a popular uprising and generalised lawlessness in central and western Ukraine, has stated it favours a coalition with President Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine.

Timoshenko has, however, already revealed her true mettle, the cause for her uncereminial sacking last September: she is a political opportunist of the most naive kind, who confuses the beauty parlour and chit-chat in hairdressers’ salons with the real business of government. Basically, she is all hot air, pretty pictures on websites...and no action or substance.

An unlikely government duo would be Yushchenko as President and Yanukovich as Prime Minister, due to the camps that both men represent. However, would a Yushchenko/Yanukovich cohabitation be such a bad deal for the Ukraine? For some reason Yanukovich today is far more popular than the frivolous Timoshenko and the incapable Yushckenko.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

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