Orange Revolution

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A series of demonstrations in Kiev that led to a rerun of the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election. The original run-off poll, held on 21 November 2004, narrowly gave victory to the Prime Minister, Viktor Yanukovych, over the opposition candidate, Viktor Yushchenko. However, there were many reports of electoral fraud in favour of Yanukovych, and Yushchenko's supporters mounted a series of demonstrations and strikes in an attempt to overturn the result. Particularly prominent were the huge daily protests in Kiev, where demonstrators wore the orange colours of Yushchenko's party. The disputed poll was annulled and a fresh run-off held on 26 December. Generally agreed to be free and fair, it made Yushchenko the winner; he was inaugurated as President on 23 January 2005. The Orange Revolution's wider significance hinged on the contrast between the generally pro-Russian policies advocated by Yanukovych and the pro-Western ones of Yushchenko. This also reflected an ethnic and geographical division: the predominantly Russian population of eastern Ukraine supported Yanukovych, while the Ukrainian west supported Yushchenko. The revolution was therefore seen as a move by Ukraine towards the West and a reverse for President Vladimir Putin of Russia, who had openly supported Yanukovych.

Subjects: World History.

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