Ukrainians Hold Muted Celebration Of 2004 ‘Orange Revolution’

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainians turned out yesterday in Kiev to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Orange Revolution, amid disillusionment with political leaders and a severe economic crisis.

Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko speaks during a reception to mark the fifth anniversary of the 'Orange Revolution' in Kiev November 22, 2009.

Several dozen people celebrated in the capital’s main square - a stark contrast to the tens of thousands who on November 22, 2004 led protests which prompted the cancellation of rigged election results.

Draped in orange, the colour of pro-Western candidate Viktor Yushchenko, the demonstrators protested a vote that returned the Russian-backed incumbent President Viktor Yanukovich.

After three weeks, the peaceful uprising achieved its goal - the supreme court annulled the vote due to fraud, ordered a new poll and after a clear victory Yushchenko was declared president on January 23, 2005.

But hopes of prosperity have been set back by the economic crisis which saw the national currency lose 40% of its value and aspirations of political stability undermined by bickering national leaders.

“Of course I feel disappointed. (The political leaders) have betrayed the ideas of the revolution,” said Andry Avramenko, who took part in the Orange Revolution protests and had an orange scarf draped round his neck.

Source: AFP