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Полiт. ситуацiя на Українi

Ukrainians Disillusioned with 'Orange Revolution'

Полiт. ситуацiя на Українi, задоволений 18%

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Political squabbling and a dire economic situation in Ukraine are a far cry from the heady days of the 2004 "Orange Revolution", when there were high hopes for that country's future. 

Ukraine's current president, Viktor Yushchenko, was elected in December 2004 after hundreds of thousands of his supporters took to the streets to protest the results of an earlier election declared fraudulent by the Ukrainian Supreme Court and international monitors. 

That massive protest became known as the "Orange Revolution," named after the color worn by Yushchenko's supporters. In a second, court-ordered election, Mr. Yushchenko defeated Viktor Yanukovich, now head of the powerful "Party of Regions" in the Ukrainian parliament, or Rada. 

There was great euphoria in Ukraine then and confidence that the "Orange Revolution" would usher in a new era. 

But analysts say that confidence quickly dissipated as President Yushchenko and his former ally, now Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, engaged in bitter political fights - squabbling that continues to this day. 

"Very early, after the events of 2004, the two sides divided over policy agenda, some of it had to do with the ambitions of the principals within the coalition - Tymoshenko and Yushchenko. And they've never really been able to agree either on a division of power, not just for themselves, but for those who support them within their respective parties in the Rada and the cabinet. At its base, there is a fundamental political and personal tension between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko - and it has made it very difficult for the two major parties and then others who could support them within a coalition, to come together. Whether Ukraine, in a deep enough crisis or an on-going crisis, will force them to look beyond their personal and political differences I think is very difficult to know," said Robert Legvold, who is with Columbia University in New York. 

Experts say the political infighting, coupled with allegations of corruption in the Yushchenko administration, have disillusioned Ukrainians even more.

Katinka Barysch, with the London-based Center for European Reform, says Ukraine's dire economic situation is another black mark against Mr. Yushchenko.

"Ukraine's economy is in freefall," she said. "The industrial production is falling at a rate of 30 percent compared with last year. They already had to go to the IMF [Interna. ional Monetary Fund] and borrow 16 billion Euros or $20 billion. Inflation is in double digits. Their budget is out of control. Very difficult situation."

 

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By Andre de Nesnera

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