Dreams of reform fade in Ukraine: Unlike 2004’s Orange Revolution, focus now on ‘bread-and-butter’ economic concerns [Article]

From the Toronto Star:

Whichever candidate wins, it will be a victory for Russia, which took a beating as the villain of the Orange Revolution.

“The 2004 election was ideological,” said Ukraine expert Jakob Hedenskog, a visiting scholar at the University of Toronto. “It was an important choice between East and West. This time it’s about bread-and-butter issues.”

Under Yushchenko, Ukraine veered toward the West, with failed attempts to join the European Union and NATO, and a “national project” to promote the Ukrainian language and church, and gain recognition for the 1930s famine that killed millions of Ukrainians under Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s brutal economic policies.

But antagonizing Moscow came at a price. Russia cut off gas deliveries to Ukraine over a payment dispute, causing a drop in pressure in the Europe-bound pipeline and gas shortages in European countries.

Moscow’s fierce opposition to Ukraine’s EU and NATO membership also helped to curb the West’s enthusiasm for Kyiv’s entry.

This time, the crisis on the home front is more pressing. The International Monetary Fund has frozen an emergency bailout because government infighting undermined required budget cuts.

Unemployment is biting, and a new European visa regime has destroyed the livelihoods of cross-border traders in impoverished western Ukraine.

Meanwhile, corruption, broken government promises and an oligarch-dominated economy have disillusioned many of Ukraine’s 46 million people, and low turnouts are predicted at the polls.

Still, says Dyczok, life has improved in many ways since 2004, when she observed the elections.

“Society has moved forward in ways people don’t notice,” she said. “They are more engaged. They’re active, and they protest at the local level. The political spectrum is diverse, and there will be a strong opposition.”

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4 thoughts on “Dreams of reform fade in Ukraine: Unlike 2004’s Orange Revolution, focus now on ‘bread-and-butter’ economic concerns [Article]

  1. As an orange revolutionary, I'd say the Orange Revolution was more about bread-and-butter than it was about East-and-West.

    We didn't want a two-time robbery-and-battery convict in charge of Ukraine because that would have been bad for the bread-and-butter.

    Unfortunately, the Orange Revolution turned out to be 3 steps forward, 2 steps back.

    3-2 (Yushchenko+Tymoshenko)=1(freedom of speech).

  2. Some background info on Yanukovych that may not be so well known:

    Yanukovych punching out two teeth of Transport Minister Heorhy Kyrpa, leading Kyrpa to say, “In all my life, I've never seen such gangsters.”

    Varvara Ovdiy recollecting Yanukovych's early years of tearing earrings off women's ears and concluding “Only insane people could elect such a president.”

    Yanukovych goon squads attacking a well-defended Yushchenko office in Luhansk

    Yanukovych losing consciousness for four hours after being hit on the chest by a raw egg (shown in two videos, plus a comparison video of Tymoshenko being pelted, plus a video of a Yushchenko joke concerning the event, plus a Yanukovych interview in hospital after the event)

    Dictator wanted–only degenerates need apply–offers further glimpses into Yanukovych's biography

    The Heorhy Gongadze murder

    Poisoning of Yushchenko

    Plans to spread violence throughout Ukraine prior to the 2004 elections
    http://www.xoxol.org/putin/putin29.html discovery of explosives aiming to kill Yushchenko and Tymoshenko

    Also detailed material concerning reasons why Ukraine might prefer to avoid Kremlin rule, as for example

    Murdered by Moscow–Petlura, Konovalets, Rebet, Bandera

    If the NKVD is dead, where is its grave? — contains material on the Vinnytsia massacre.

  3. Altho neither Yanuk nor Yulia are to my liking….I suggest that whoever becomes chief potus will certainly be constrained by certain political realities. Talk is cheap during political campaigns….but once in office, circumstances will force them into a much more compromising mode. An example is Yushchenko….he talked a mean game during the Orange Rev., but then was unable to follow thru on most of his promises. (wittingly or unwittingly) The main hope with these two characters is that we not take three steps back and two steps forward. It's unfortunate that Ukraine's evolution is taking such a circuitous route. But I'm conifident that we'll get there!!

  4. Kinda encapsulates Yanuk nicely….in a word…he's a thug! Should he prevail in this contest, I believe he'll be more restrained than some of his 'anti-Ukrainian' comments.
    Neither candidate is Ukrainian as to my definition….but as former President Krawchuk once remarked..” we have what we have”. Somewhat a sad commentary but that is the reality at present. I just hope to live long enough to see a real Ukrainian leader emerge…one who is all consumed in trying to live up to the magnificent and noble ideals that our parents had.

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