Ukraine. In January, the newly elected President Viktor Yushchenko took office. He appointed his armistice in last year’s “orange” revolution, the right-wing Liberal Yulia Tymoshenko, as new prime minister. She formed a broad coalition government with Yushchenko loyalist parties. pledged to fight corruption and to implement reforms in order to prepare Ukraine for future EU membership.
According to countryaah, Kiev is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Ukraine. The judiciary opened new investigations into the 2000 assassination of regime-critical journalist Georgij Gongadze, who was believed to have been ousted by former President Leonid Kuchma’s regime. One of the suspects, former Interior Minister Yuriy Kravchenko, committed suicide but claimed in a farewell letter that he was innocent. The trial in the case was delayed, but at the end of the year, Gongadze’s widow was awarded the European Court of Human Rights a damages of € 100,000.
- Also see abbreviationfinder.org for how the acronym UP stands for the country of Ukraine and other meanings of this two-letter abbreviation.
Despite his Western orientation, President Yushchenko made his first state visit to Moscow, and in the spring, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Ukraine in an attempt to establish good relations with the Yushchenko regime after he openly supported Yushchenko’s opponent Viktor Yanukovych in the presidential election the year before. Although Yushchenko realized the need for a good relationship with Moscow, he showed his basic attitude when, shortly after Putin’s visit, Ukraine agreed with Georgia, Azerbaijan and Moldova on a “Union for Democratic States” with a view to getting out of Russia’s sphere of interest. The new regime’s close relationship with the United States was marked at the end of the year, when US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Kiev and labeled Ukraine as “a strategic partner”.
The new Ukrainian regime proved to contain great internal contradictions. Yushchenko’s chief of staff resigned in early September, claiming that the corruption was worse than under Kuchma’s regime. A few days later, Yushchenko dismissed the government, including Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was reported to be in constant conflict with the secretary of the National Security Council, Petro Poroshenko. He was also allowed to leave his post. Jury Jechanurov was appointed new head of government, which was approved only after the second vote in parliament. received support from the loser in last year’s presidential election, Viktor Yanukovych.
Ukraine’s rapid economic growth slowed substantially during the year. The new regime’s promises of social improvement for the most disadvantaged were only partially fulfilled. Increased wages for government employees and increased social contributions were paid with increased taxes and fees, and the Ukrainians suffered from price increases.
At the beginning of the year, Ukraine signed a new agreement with Turkmenistan on gas deliveries, which meant significantly increased fees for Ukraine. The deal came after a price dispute that threatened Ukraine’s economy since Turkmenistan closed in mid-winter by deliveries to the heavily gas-dependent country.
At the end of the year, the Ukrainian government came into conflict with the Russian company Gazprom, which threatened to shut down gas supplies unless Ukraine agreed to a four-fold increase in the previously subsidized gas price.
The end of the uprising began on February 18, when about 20,000 protesters went to Parliament demanding the re-introduction of the 2004 constitution. During the fighting between police and protesters, snipers go into action, killing 18. Half protesters and the other half police officers. Forensic investigations subsequently show that they were killed by the same weapons and the same ammunition. Who the snipers were was not clarified, but the Israeli newspaper Haaretz subsequently interviewed Israeli officers who had been sent to Kiev in those days. It was not the security forces that started the shooting. They explicitly prohibited shooting with sharp, precisely to prevent the country from being hanged in the world press, but some protesters were photographed with automatic weapons. Permission to shoot with a sharp was first granted 20. February, when another 70 were killed. The right-wing radicals were now equipped with automatic weapons and were well disciplined for attacks on security forces.
On March 5, the Russian intelligence agency announced an interception between Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and EU Foreign Coordinator Catherine Ashton, where for the first time the coordinator was informed that it was the same sniper who killed both protesters and police.
On February 21, the EU succeeded in negotiating an agreement in place between Yanukovych and the opposition, which would reinstate the 2004 Constitution, write a new constitution until September and hold presidential elections by December. The agreement was then passed by 386 votes to 0 in parliament, but the agreement did not matter. Power lay with the right-wing groups that the United States had funded and occupied seats and streets around Parliament. On the same day, Yanukovych fled to Russia. The US regime change had succeeded.
Parliament now inaugurated Arseniy Yatsenyuk of the Conservative Fatherland Party as Prime Minister. His government consisted of 20 ministers, 10 of whom were from right-wing parties. There was a double power situation in the capital, where armed right-wing radicals controlled streets and squares, while politicians in parliament tried to re-establish a power base.
On February 23, the government, as one of its first official acts, decided to repeal the Minority Languages Act, which allowed the use of Russian, Polish or Romanian among the ethnic groups in the country. After that, Ukrainian was the only language allowed. This law change was triggering the uprising in the eastern part of the country populated by ethnic Russians. On March 1, residents of the cities of Kharkiv, Donetsk, Simferopol, Odessa, Luhansk, Melitopol, Yevpatoria, Kerch and Mariupol demonstrated against the new government. This development came largely across US plans. As a reward for its funding of the regime change, the United States wanted to acquire the Russian naval base in the Crimean peninsula. It wanted to avoid Russia and, therefore, from the outset supported Crimean detachment efforts. Just days after the coup in Kiev, armed local militias took control of the public buildings in Crimea, on March 16, a referendum was held giving 96% support for joining Russia, and a few days later Crimea was formally incorporated in Russia. At the end of the month, the Ukrainian defense minister had to admit that more than half of the Ukrainian soldiers in the Crimean peninsula were deserted on the opponents’ side. He was then deposed.
The Russian response to the US expansion attempt came at a convenient time. The US and NATO suffered military and political defeat in Afghanistan, where after 12 years of occupation they failed to defeat the rebels in the country. NATO was on its way and needed to find a new “enemy”. Russia willingly made itself available here. Already in March, the EU and the US adopted the first sanctions against Russia to hit the country’s elite and its economy. The sanctions were tightened several times during 2014 and 15, and were met by similar Russian-imposed sanctions against Western European and North American goods. The economic war exacerbated the already deep crisis in the EU.
In EU and US rhetoric, Russia was the aggressor to Ukraine by incorporating Crimea and supporting other rebels in eastern Ukraine who wanted more autonomy over Kiev. It was disregarded here that it was the United States that had militarily and politically destabilized the country and sent the country’s elected president, Yanukovych into exile.
In order to change the power relations according to the right-wing armed groups in Kiev, the authorities decided to weaken the Right Sector. On March 12, an arrest warrant was issued against the Right Sector leader in western Ukraine, Aleksandr Muzychko (aka Sasha Beliy), and in an operation on March 23, he was shot and killed by security forces. The Ukrainian “revolution” ate its own.