As Ukraine approaches its first presidential election since the Orange revolution in 2004, disappointment runs deep. A recent survey shows that 75% of Ukrainians believe the leaders of the street protests, which overturned a rigged ballot and catapulted Viktor Yushchenko to the presidency, used it for their own ends and betrayed their supporters.
That is because Ukrainian voters as opposed to propagandists like James Marson realise that the idea of 'betrayal' is true. That was apparent no sooner had neoliberal oligarchs like Petro Poroshenko been dismissed by Yushchenko for corruption and rivalry in September 2005, less than a year after the Orange Revolution.
However, in accordance with the circulation of these Machievellian elites, Poroshenko was promoted back in October 2009 by Yushchenko as Foreign Minister, proving that no matter what an oligarch does his money and media power ensures he must be kept onside when elections loom.
Poroshenko is is considered one of the country's wealthiest figures and owns 5 Kanal, a pro-Yushchenko news station and has controlling shares in the Roshen group, the country's largest sweets company. Curiously his position was voted for by Yushchenko's bitter rival-Yulia Tymoshenko.
One dominant interpretation of the "failure" of the Orange revolution is as the failure of the west. This view can be traced back to the erroneous idea (propagated by Russia) that the Orange revolution was actually created by the west. In this interpretation, Ukraine became "free" in 2004 from the Russian yoke – the west "won".Well, no the West did not 'create it' but it certainly exploited Ukrainian discontent with Kuchma's corrupt regime to foist a multi-media event designer 'revolution' modelled on Otpor in Serbia and the carefully choreographed coup in Georgia which was branded the Rose Revolution in late 2003.
Its curious that Marson, a ceaseless propagandist for NATO expansion and Yushchenko now tries to reframe the Orange Revolution in a way that makes it seem as though the hopes invested in it were not triumphalistic nor that this reflected the massive inflow of cash from Western NGOS.
This crude narrative of a fairytale People Power uprising was not put forth by Russia but by journalists like Askold Krushelnycky whose absurd An Orange Revolution: A Personal Journey Through Ukrainian History is a monument to the kitsch in Maidan Nezalezhnosti Square in 2004.
It is true the Ukranians have lost out, not least because the West's favourite clients pursued neoliberal policies that would favour short term investment without cleaning up politics first. For corruption is not considered important so long as it does not affect the return on those investments.
The Ukrainian people acted simply as extras in a film set with the script drafted by Western funded NGOS whose plot was to fast track Ukraine into NATO. Which is why Radek Sikorski, the neoconservative Polish FM who worked with Yushchenko's wife in the US New Atlantic Initiative think tank.
That makes a mockery of Marsons assertion that,
The subsequent failure of Ukraine to join Nato, make significant progress on European Union membership or develop European-style institutions and leadership, led one commentator, Simon Tisdall, to declare that, five years on, "in a sense, [Russian prime minister Vladimir] Putin has won".It would be difficult to see how Putin had 'lost'. Then again, Marson has himself asserted in the same article that the idea that the West 'won' in 2004 was Russian propaganda. So the failure of a policy that was backed by Miliband and Sikorski is presumably now a Russian invention. How curious.
When facts fail to fit the prescriptions of the propaganda screed, the rule has been to re-invent the reality
But the Orange revolution was not primarily about defining Ukraine's future as with the west or with Russia, about leaving Russia's sphere of influence, and joining the west's (again, how Russia interpreted it).
It was about defining Ukraine's aspirations and values as western (free and fair elections, rule of law, a balanced media, limited corruption, diversified market economy) as opposed to Russian (rigged elections, legal anarchy, controlled media, rampant corruption, crony state capitalism).Marson is clearly on the defensive when he produces a list of abstract words that could come from a 1001 'democracy transition' texts churned out by mediocre academician PhD students. The kind who then go on to prostitute themselves in think tanks where the idea of thinking independently outside the box is anathema.
Orwell knew that when writers fly off into abstraction it denotes an indifference to reality.
That becomes quite clear with the idea that the West supports a "balanced media" when, in fact, Yushchenko allows Radio Liberty and Voice of America airtime but bans Russian stations which are popular with Russophones in Eastern Ukraine as well as Ukrainian speakers .
Yushchenko's censorship increased as his 'reforms' acheived nothing and, as his popularity slumped, he tried to cut off Russian speaking programmes, ramp up Ukrainian ethnocentrism and import those Russian journalists who supported media oligarchs like Berezovsky to boost his image as Yeltsin once did.
As RT reported in 2008,
"Dozens of Ukrainian students have come to Moscow to watch a Russian-directed movie called ‘Wanted’. They’ve travelled to the capital in protest at a Ukrainian law that bans films in Russian in Ukraine"