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[Opinion] “Orange Revolution”

Posted December. 06, 2004 22:55,   


This sounds quite pretty as the name of a revolution. Originally, it was introduced by world news media as an opposition rally protesting the rigged presidential poll in Ukraine dubbed the “Ukraine Crisis.” It was two years ago when the color of orange represented the opposition party, the People`s Strength coalition. Presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko’s camp encircled its posters with an orange color in order to make them stand out. In this election, not only venues to canvass but also the interior of taxies and restaurants were decorated with orange. The color stands for honey and bees that represent the oppositions. Some said orange was more peaceful than red, the color of revolution.

Yuliya Tymoshenko, called, “the Goddess of Revolution,” also emerged. “Let’s form orange troops to gain a victory,” she said. As a Yushchenko political ally, her speeches have delivered impressive messages towards people. Now that Ukrainians have succeeded in drawing a rerun of the election, orange, originally used for flags for protesters, became the most popular color in fancy products such as young generation’s T-shirts and scarves for women with mink coats. It is a kind of cultural trend since the “orange revolution” has successfully made inroads into the middle class. It is a sign of change that denies an obsolete system of oppression, restriction, corruption and cronyism.

Ukraine is destined to have as a sad geopolitical background as we are. Despite its ambition to become a superpower in Eurasia, neighboring Russia cannot expand its political influence to Europe unless Ukraine is under its orbit of influence. Without the ex-Soviet state, Russia only has to strive for the hegemony over Central Asia with China within the Asian continent. If Russia can wield its influence over Ukraine, it will not only get access to enormous natural resources, hidden under the ground of eastern Ukraine, but also be able to nurture its ambition to have influence in Eastern Europe. Europe and the U.S. surely got acquainted with Russia’s intentions. This is the reason that the two parties, who used to be antagonistic to each other over Iraqi issues, now raised the same voice to support the opposition in Ukraine.

If the orange revolution succeeds by successfully conducting the re-election, the Ukraine will take its path to westernization and opening to the world. While it will deal a big blow to Russian ambitions, the “soft power empire” of the E.U. and the “military empire” of the U.S. will find the need to cooperate with each other. However, the outcome is not yet known, since eastern Ukraine, with its pro-Russia and pro-ruling party attitudes, has opposed the revolution and also has largely assumed the Ukrainian economy. As a small nation in-between world powers wanting to consider itself as sovereign nation, Ukraine is facing the reality that it cannot be recognized as such.

Kim Sun-deok, editorial writer, yuri@donga.com