Policy Memos

A New President for Ukraine: A Democratic Choice in the CIS?

Policy Memo:


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During the second term of President Leonid Kuchma (1999–2004) Ukraine faced a serious decline in civil rights, rule of law, and fair government. Political scandals around journalist Heorhiy Gongadze’s murder and the intimidation of political opposition and independent media resulted in growing social dissatisfaction with the state institutions. At the same time, Ukrainian politics were shaped by the new strong non-leftist opposition, which presented an alternate view for modernization of the Ukrainian state and nation in conformity with European and democratic values. The main branch of this opposition, the “Our Ukraine” block led by former Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko, included not only traditional national-democratic opposition but also former state executives who protested Kuchma’s crony capitalism and corruption. In the 2002 parliamentary elections Our Ukraine won the first slot on the party slates. Having put pressure on the deputies of the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada), Kuchma managed to form a slim propresidential majority. Nevertheless, Yushchenko emerged as the leading candidate in the 2004 presidential race. [...]

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About the author

Professor, Founding Director of the Kyiv Mohyla University School of Policy Analysis
National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy