Disillusionment Strong In Post-Revolution Ukraine Ukraine holds its next presidential election Sunday, five years after thousands of Ukrainians protested a tainted vote in what became the Orange Revolution. Ultimately, the results were thrown out and the opposition won the new election. But just a few years later, the revolutionary mood has soured.

Disillusionment Strong In Post-Revolution Ukraine

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Back in the winter of 2004, thousands of people took to the streets of the Ukrainian capital Kiev. They overturned a tainted election and they hoped for a new, democratic Ukraine. Now there's another election with 18 candidates standing for president. So what about the dreams of all those protestors? It seems they've been lost to political infighting and economic decline. Here's NPR David Greene from Kiev.


DAVID GREENE: The sounds from those cold nights in Kiev's Independence Square still seem to echo through the streets. The man who symbolized the revolution for Westerners was Viktor Yushchenko, his face left green and pockmarked by a mysterious poisoning. He became president.

YULIA TYMOSHENKO: (Foreign language spoken)

GREENE: Were you standing there in the square back in 2004 when Tymoshenko was up there talking and...

SVETLANA OSIPCHUK: Yes. Yes. I saw her. I saw them all. It was exciting.

GREENE: That's a voice from today. Twenty-four-year-old Svetlana Osipchuk was in Kiev this week at the university where she gathered with other students five years ago. Here's how she's feeling as the new election looms.

TYMOSHENKO: The unity of 2004 is broken now.

GREENE: Although both of them are candidates in Sunday's vote, Svetlana, for her part, says she won't vote for either of them. Still, she looks back to 2004 with no regret.

TYMOSHENKO: This aim was good. This aim was positive. This aim was a declaration of something new for our country, because it gave us a great democratic experience. And we could repeat it. And they know that we could repeat it.

GREENE: Mixed emotions are easy to find in Kiev these days.

NAZAR PERVAK: (Foreign language spoken)

GREENE: But if he has lost faith in politics, he points to changes in Ukraine that he does like.

PERVAK: (Through Translator) Before 2004, people, especially those working in state institutions, were afraid to show their political and social views in public. Now it has changed. The people are more open and not afraid.

GREENE: Nazar said he's not worried, even if the upcoming election turns back the Orange Revolution. The candidate leading in some polls is Viktor Yanukovych, the target of the Orange Revolution. He was the winner of that rigged election back in 2004. He still has significant backing in eastern Ukraine and a realistic chance to stage a comeback and turn the results of that popular revolt upside down.


GREENE: That would be tough to swallow for another person on Kiev's Independence Square, Maria Moshkovska.

MARIA MOSHKOVSKA: This is one of the biggest monuments and the central monument which we have seen during Orange Revolution.

GREENE: She pointed out exactly where she stood in 2004. Like so many veterans of the Orange Revolution, she's been frustrated by all the political infighting. But maybe, she says, politicians in her country have learned some lessons.

MOSHKOVSKA: Because I'm Ukrainian, I always will be thinking that there is a chance.

GREENE: Even though she says the Orange Revolution has, in her words, come to nothing, she said she'd never discourage young people from taking to the streets when they think it's right.

MOSHKOVSKA: To fight to get freedom is very important for people. If the question will be to come or not to come, I'll come. I'll not stay home.

GREENE: David Greene, NPR News, Kiev.

INSKEEP: David became familiar to many of our listeners for his reports from the White House and for guest hosting this program. We just heard David's first report from a new beat. He's based in Moscow now, and we'll be listening for his reports right here on MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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