Of The Ukraine Democratic Opposition
By Justus Leicht
03 December 2004
one were to believe the Western media, one would conclude that the Ukrainian
opposition movement developed independently as the result of a spontaneous
popular movement for liberty and democracy against a corrupt regime.
In fact, what has characterized the media coverage of recent events
in Ukraine is the absence of any critical journalism. Virtually none
of the media oulets has bothered to investigate who is behind the so-called
democracy movement and the nature of its political program.
For their part,
the driving forces of the opposition movement make little secret of
their backers. The relevant information is for the most part available
on their own Internet sites.
Once one begins
to examine the various organizations involved, it rapidly becomes clear
that the movement did not develop spontaneously. A right-wing, neo-liberal
network, developed largely by US organizations, exploited widespread
diassatisfaction with the authoritarian regime of President Leonid Kuchma
to implement a plan prepared well in advance. Its purpose was to bring
Ukraine more firmly under the control of the US and open up the country
more fully to international capital.
The most active
opposition grouping is the network that bears the name Pora
(It is Time). It consists mainly of university students
and has considerable influence in the staging of demonstrations, rock
concerts and other events organised against the government camp and
its presidential candidate, Viktor Yanukovich.
According to its
self-portrayal, Pora has its origins in a decision by the Freedom
of Choice Coalition of Ukrainian non-governmental organisations
to create a broad volunteer network for the implementation of
a nation-wide informational and educational campaign, aimed at securing
the voter rights of citizens.
Pora expressly refers
to the successful activities of volunteer networks in Serbia
(Otpor in 2000), Georgia (Khmara in 2003), and
other countries. Pora proudly affirms that it has been advised by these
Freedom of Choice
is an umbrella organisation founded in 1999, ostensibly consisting of
over 300 different groups. According to its own sources, it is supported
by the following institutions: the American, British and Canadian embassies;
the National Democratic Institute, which is chaired by the former US
sectretary of state (under Clinton) Madeleine Albright; the International
Renaissance Foundation (IRF), which is the Ukrainian offshoot of the
George Soros-financed Open Society Institute; the Eurasia Foundation,
which is likewise financed by Soros and the US government; the World
Bank; the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe; the US
Agency for International Development; Freedom House, chaired by ex-CIA
director James Woolsey; and the right-wing Konrad Adenauer Institute
of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
The political model
for Pora is neo-liberalism. Pora praises the brief reign of Viktor Yushchenko
as Ukraine prime minister because he took measures to open up the country
to international capital and implement a radical privatisation program.
Pora declares: During its brief period of government power, the
team of reformers in 2000 brought about a reduction in the shadow economy
and contributed to the establishment of equal access to the Ukrainian
market not only for Russian, but also for Western companies... Furthermore,
Ukraine expanded its Euro-Atlantic cooperation and adjusted its business
relations with Russia (in particular, with regard to the transport of
The most prominent
members and activists of Pora were trained by the US-backed elements.
A report by the Jamestown Foundation, a think tank whose executive committee
includes James Woolsey and former US national security adviser (under
President Jimmy Carter) Zbigniew Brzezinski, states: Otpor has
been training Pora members under the auspices of the Citizen Participation
in Elections in Ukraine (CPEU) program which is run by Freedom House,
the National Democratic Institute, and the International Republican
Institute and funded by the US Agency for International Development.
In 2000, the Serbian
organsation Otpor organised the demostrations that led to the fall of
Slobodan Milosevic. Now the same organsation is being used to bring
about regime change in Ukraine, supported by one institute close to
the US Democratic Party, and another close to the Republican Party,
and financed by an American government agency.
The Center for Political
Education and the Ukrainian Centre for Independent Political Research
have also trained political activists of the democracy movement.
The Center for Political Education aknowledges that it cooperates with
the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Ukraine and the US Republican
Party-run International Republican Institute, while, according to its
own pronouncements, the Ukrainian Centre for Independent Political Research
has been financed for many years by the American National Endowment
for Democracy, George Soros IRF, and the British and Canadian
Together with the
activists of the opposition, numerous election observers were also sponsored
by American institutions. This should be sufficient to indicate their
complete lack of impartiality in the Ukrainian elections.
A large number were
organized by the Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU), under the chairmanship
of Igor Popov, and by New Choice-2004. The latter organization was founded
by the CVU and built up by Soros IRF. The driving forces behind
the CVU are the Eurasia Foundation and the National Democratic Institute.
In February of this year, New Choice held a working meeting with Madeleine
According to its
own figures, the International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) has since
1990 pumped over $50 million into the construction of various Ukrainian
non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Over the past few years, IRF
admits to supporting NGOs with over $5 million annually.
the election polls, which showed a clear lead for opposition candidate
Yushchenko immediately after the closing of the voting stations, were
financed by the same sources. The polls were initiated by the Democratic
Initiatives Foundation and jointly carried out by the Razumkov Centre
for Political and Economic Research (financed by the IRF) and the Kyiv
International Institute of Sociology. The Democratic Initiatives Foundation
is affiliated to New Choice-2004 and the World Democracy Movement, an
offspring of the National Endowment for Democracy. One of their most
recent projects was providing support for the attempts to overthrow
the government of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.
The national exit
polls were also financed by IRF, the Eurasia Foundation and the embassies
of the US, Great Britain, Canada, Holland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and
The fact that those
conducting the election polls and serving as poll observers were financed
by the same forces who sponsored the opposition and backed the campaign
of its candidate makes a mockery of their claim to impartiality. Whatever
fraud was committedand there is good reason to believe there was
vote-rigging on both sidesthe entire election and its aftermath
were a grotesque exercise in US and European manipulation and provocation.
The attempt of the opposition leaders and their Western sponsors to
wrap themselves in the mantle of democracy is deserving
of contempt. In any event, none of the claims being made by the opposition
camp can be accepted on face value.