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The Orange revolution in Ukraine has consistently been presented in the mainstream media as a victory of popular forces against a tyrannical authoritarian dictatorship, a victory of sincere political forces demanding transparency in government affairs against a corrupt elite and the victory of believers in human freedom against the forces of censorship and repression. However a closer look at the issue shows that all is not how it seems. Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Timoshenko were not outsiders to the political establishment of Ukraine but members of the Ukraine’s entrenched ruling class. According to a report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace:

“Although the Russian financial-industrial groups are generally perceived as involved in criminal activities, they are not considered to represent outright organized crime. In Ukraine, however, there seems to be no line whatsoever between organized crime and the leading economic-political groups, most of which seem to see racketeering as one of their main activities.

In Russia, the financial-industrial groups provide financing to various parties and to the government. In Ukraine, the economic-political groups rather tend to own political parties. Lazarenko and Timoshenko created the parliamentary party Hromada, as a company party of the Unified Energy Systems. Vadim Rabinovich has reportedly “bought” the Green Party. Surkis and Medevedchuk reportedly own the United Social Democratic Party. However, Bakai, Pinchuk and the Franchuks support Kuchma directly and possibly his party the National-Democratic Party. Characteristically, all these oligarchic parties are considered centrist that is, always prepared to make a deal without any real ideology.” (Aslund, 1999 )

Yushchenko has been described as a one of the top figures involved in the unofficial system of crony capitalism that has replaced communism following the breakup of the Soviet Union and Ukraine’s independence. Yushchenko was appointed governor of the central bank of Ukraine in 1993 and continued in that position till 1999 when he was appointed as Prime Minister by the then President Leonid Kuchma.

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