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2014-10-25

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Orange Revolution

Ukraine's "Orange Revolution" of 2004-2005 was a series of protests and political events that took place throughout the country in response to allegations of massive corruption, voter intimidation and direct electoral fraud during the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election.

 

The protests were prompted by reports from numerous domestic and foreign observers and the widespread public perception that the results of the run-off vote of November 21, 2004 between leading candidates Viktor Yushchenko and Viktor Yanukovych were rigged in favor of Yanukovych. The run-off was mandated by Ukrainian law due to the official results of the presidential vote held on October 31, 2004, in which no candidate carried more than 50% of the cast ballots. The winner of the run-off would become Ukraine's third president since its 1991 independence following the demise of the Soviet Union.

 

The orange ribbon became a symbol of the Ukrainian Orange Revolution. Ribbons are a common symbol of a non-violent protest.Orange was adopted by the protesters as the official color of the movement since it was the election campaign color of the main opposition candidate, Viktor Yushchenko. The symbol of solidarity with Yushchenko's movement in Ukraine was an orange ribbon or a flag bearing the "! !" ("Yes! Yushchenko!") slogan. Millions of Ukrainians demonstrated daily in Kyiv, which was the center of the revolution where a large 24-hour tent city was set up by Yushchenko's supporters , and this action was highlighted by a series of nationwide protests, sit-ins, and general strikes organized by the opposition. This was all following the disputed results of the November 21 run-off election.

 

Due in large part to the oppositions efforts, the results of the original run-off were annulled and a second run-off election was ordered by Ukraine's Supreme Court for December 26, 2004. Under intense international scrutiny, the official results of the second run-off proved to be virtually problem-free, legally valid and clearly in Yushchenko's favor. He was declared the official winner and was inaugurated into office as the third President of Ukraine on January 23, 2005.  The Orange Revolution reached its successful and peaceful victory.