The Orange Revolution's Challenge to Ukraine, Russia and Europe James Sherr, Politique étrangère, 1/2005, (Spring).
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The inauguration of Viktor Yushchenko as President of Ukraine promises to transform the art of the possible in Europe and Eurasia. But it remains to be seen whether the new president will hold power or simply hold office. The most dangerous period in any revolution usually arises just after it takes place. At home and in the former Soviet Union, Yushchenko confronts a nexus of power that is ingrown, opaque and still highly resourceful. There are grounds for hope: a political culture which, by post-Soviet standards, is democratic and pluralistic; the Euro-Atlantic orientation of many who work inside State structures; a considerable degree of ethnic and linguistic tolerance; and (despite recent appearances) the lack of strong separatist sentiment. There are also grounds for prudence: the scale of public expectations; the tenacity of criminal structures; strong regional divisions and a complex international environment. Until Russia changes its paradigm of geopolitics and «good neighborliness», it will pose serious problems for Ukraine. Until the West reinforces Ukraine’s advance by changes in policy, its transformation will be precarious and its prospects uncertain.
James Sherr is Research Fellow at the Conflict Studies Research Centre, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom.