If you're one of those people who spent the entire Orange Revolution trying to remember which guy was Viktor Yushchenko and which one was Viktor Yanukovych, that isn't going to get any easier. The former foes have formed a partnership, with Yanukovych (he was the Old Guard) becoming prime minister while Yushchenko (he was the rebel) stays on as president. Among the alliance's aims: to avoid a bigger split between the country's west and east, and to keep the country's bid to join NATO on track.
Veterans of the Orange Revolution express their disgust:
Some, including Yushchenko's former ally Yulia Tymoshenko, who heads the second largest party in parliament, say they will boycott the Rada [Ukraine's parliament] and call their supporters into the streets to protest.
"We are putting up our tents in the streets again, and we are going to take this to the people," says Yevgeny Zolotaryov, reached by phone. He's the leader of Pora, a small party allied with Ms. Tymoshenko. "This is farewell to Yushchenko, who failed to be a leader to the nation and, frankly, betrayed his voters. It is the end of the Orange Revolution."
Given the way Yushchenko has governed, I can't say I'm shocked. But I'm glad to see the tents going up again. Here's hoping they can recover the momentum of '04.
As I wrote two years ago, when the Viktors were still deadly enemies,
the very experience of overthrowing a government this way–of building independent institutions, diffusing power through civil society, and learning first-hand that it's possible to say no to authority–unleashes something that's hard for any politician to control. Those tent cities aren't merely a demand for freedom. They're acts of freedom themselves: of men and women voluntarily assembled both to defy the old order and to build something new.