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Last Updated: Monday, 24 October 2005, 20:27 GMT 21:27 UK
President Yushchenko: Your questions
President Viktor Yushchenko

Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko has pledged to implement a political reform programme that will devolve much of his powers to the prime minister and MPs.

Ukraine has seen a sharp decline in economic growth since Mr Yushchenko took power in January.

Viktor Yushchenko was sworn in as president in early 2005 after huge numbers of protesters forced a rerun of the troubled 2004 election, in what came to be known as the Orange Revolution.

But last month he sacked prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and her cabinet in a move that appeared to mark the end of the coalition that won the Orange Revolution.

What did the Orange Revolution achieve? Have much needed reforms been implemented? Should the Ukraine seek closer ties with Europe or a greater relationship with Russia?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine answered your questions in a special edition of Talking Point.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Holding general elections does not make a country democratic
Arseven R Gumush, Lefkosa, North Cyprus
Mr Yushchenko thinks that his wish and desire to make Ukraine a democratic state can be achieved overnight! Remember that holding general elections does not make a country democratic - upholding the law and being honest by those who run the state machinery is! That means every level of the government must be accountable; the Judiciary impartial and the armed forces in their barracks! That is what he needs to do first! His Orange Revolution is only one side of the coin!
Arseven R Gumush, Lefkosa, North Cyprus

During the presidential campaign one of your major slogans was "Criminals out of the Government". Recently you have signed a bill by Parliament that provides immunity to the Parliaments of all levels. The consequences are that 200,000 deputies will be practically immune to the criminal prosecution. Don't you think that that at least contradicts your promises and basic democratic standards?
Alex, Kiev, Ukraine

I was close to crying when the Orange Revolution happened in Ukraine. First, mainly due to the understanding of a fact what ordinary people who had the power to put down the rule of the oppressive government. And, second, I saw my country men and women, the Belarusians, supporting your, Ukrainians', noble effort to get rid of the tyranny. Belarusians were supporting your drive towards freedom all along: waving the flags (seeing white-red-white Belarusian flags on the Independence Square in Kiev really made my heart tremble), singing for freedom (a number of Belarusian artists performed to keep the spirits of Ukrainians high), and just sending congratulation notes to the relatives in Ukraine. The question I want to ask concerns Belarus. How will the policies of your government change in regard to the Belarusian (Lukaszenka) regime? Will your government support Belarusians who struggle to change their lives for the better by getting rid of Lukaszenka? Thank you very much indeed.
Yauheni Hladki, Minsk, Belarus

I graduated in Ukraine and have a Ukrainian wife. We have two kids but we couldn't travel together to Ukraine on vacation because of old USSR laws. Our kids cannot get Ukrainian passport from New York and I cannot get visa because I need invitation from Ukraine notwithstanding that we are here together with my wife in New York. When will all these change? I think all these things discourages potential investors.
Benkay, New York, USA

The Ukrainian people deserve a modern nation and need to continue the fight for change through uncertain economic times
Robert P, London
My view as an outsider is that the Yuschenko at least has a vision of democracy that is shared by many in his own country and the West. Following on from years of dominance by Russia and the Communist apparatus it is likely that the building of successful trade, financial and political links with Western countries will take time. The legacy of Communism will not be eradicated overnight. The Ukrainian people deserve a modern nation and need to continue the fight for change through uncertain economic times.
Robert P, London

I've visited your country on three occasions. From what I have seen, a move towards continuing a strong relationship with Russia might make more sense than attempting to do the impossible (ie go with an entirely free-market system), when the people of the Ukraine do not speak any language familiar to Europeans, or the rest of the world, with the exception of Russia. They do not know anything about running a successful business in a capitalist system. They do not like tourists, especially if they do not speak their language. They do not possess the necessary upfront capital to even start small businesses and compete with, or even compliment, other EU countries.
Joanne Morris, Vocklabruck, Austria

Both the Ukrainian public opinion and the international system has asked 'actions' to Yushchenko in turning Ukraine into a strong democracy. Finally, Yushchenko did it dismissing the government and recognizing that the Orange Revolution is not only made by symbols and words. The international system has understood it, but not the Ukrainian public opinion. Now Yushchenko has to face a biggest challenge: he has to go on with the process of democratisation of its country without the support of the public opinion. It will not be an easy task and the last test will be the next parliamentary elections.
Valentina, Flensburg

Mr Yuschenko, do you expect to bring back Ukrainians who emigrated some time ago to other countries? If so, with what incentives?
Oleksandr K, Ottawa, Canada

President Yushchenko, you have recently pledged to implement an unprecedented political reform that sets Ukraine apart from other democratizing Eastern European states. By devolving power to the prime minister and MPs this initiative will ultimately limit your presidential power. What do you hope this reform will achieve and do you think it will bring greater cooperation in the political process?
Denisa Gavan, Vancouver, Canada

President Yushchenko I've been to Odessa several times as both my wife's parents live there and we have friends there. When will there be a concentrated effort to assist the street children of Odessa and the rest of Ukraine. I have never seen so much conflict between poverty and wealth like this before. You look one way and you see people with 200 thousand dollar Mercedes and BMWs and then you look the other way and see a 5-year-old in only underwear and no shoes and it is only 2 degrees outside. It is sad to see that the only people that will even buy food for some of these poor street children are foreigners who can communicate in Russian to them. And the poor pensioners of your country seem to be the only ones who care for them by giving them food and cloths. It seem to me that in ignoring to help these children Ukraine will become a country of lost hope for these children turning them into prostitutes and drug addicts. Please Viktor look into the future and see what is becoming of Ukraine.
Matt Maisey, Sydney, Australia & Odessa, Ukraine

Ukraine's future is looking good but it is really a country of two halves. The east is pro-Russia, and the west towards Europe. Quite honestly, the future belongs in both directions, as long as America keeps its nose out of Ukrainian affairs, then the people will be able to develop, as a country.
John, Elgin, Scotland

Is Russia exerting an economic pressure on Ukraine in order to make the point who is the boss?
Roman H, Mississauga, Canada
Mr Yushchenko, what specific legal and economic reforms is your government going to enact in order to fulfil people's expectations? Is Russia exerting an economic pressure on Ukraine in order to make the point who is the boss?
Roman H, Mississauga, Canada

Mr Yushchenko, as a President of one of the up and coming political nations in Europe, would you say the foundations are laid to give the Ukraine a sound financial backing, a potential player in the EU and a barrier to Russian influence in the former soviet republics?
Tom Levick, Newcastle, UK

I have a Ukrainian friend whose father (and the whole military detachment of men he was with) died as a young man as a consequence of emergency work he conducted in the immediate aftermath of the Chernobyl accident. She says that her mother receives a standard military pension of only eighteen US dollars a month; could this be correct? While the past few years has been hard for many pensioners in former eastern bloc countries, it would seem to me that her fathers work (and men like him) in ensuring the safety of millions of people inside and outside of Ukraine should result in an enhanced pension for their widows.
Guy Reeves , Perugia Italy

What is your vision about how the profits generated by energetic resources have to be managed in order to provide Social Security, Health, Education and safety to the Ukrainian people? Please, in order to give the Ukrainian people what they deserve you ought to fight against corruption.
Arnoldo Martinez, Valencia, Venezuela

Mr Yushenko, it appears that Yulia Tymoshenko, a real partner with you throughout the Orange Revolution, deserves an active role in the future of Ukraine. Now that you have dismissed her from the Prime Minister position, do you have any intention of reinvolving her?
Christina Szuper, Queens, NY

How much of a personal responsibility and commitment do you feel in front of people from other countries who see in what the Orange Revolution achieved, hope, inspiration and a 'how-to guide' to challenge authoritarian regimes in their homelands such as Lukashenko's in Belarus?
Olav Sibille, Toronto, Canada

President Yuschenko, do you think you have some reforms and ideas that will eventually allow Ukraine to join the EU? What is a target for this goal you hope to set. And how can your coalition be authentic ,with power struggles, corruption, and conflicts parallel to former communists and Russian-backed governments?
Ben Fuller, Pittsburgh, PA

Mr Yushchenko, what are your plans for the ethnic Russians within Ukraine? What do you plan for them to bring them to your side?
Andreiy, Hong Kong

How long do you think it will take for Ukraine to become a full EU state, and if plans are already in progress are they running smoothly?
Johan Rewilak, Leicester

Mr Yushchenko. What are you going to do to disable the power of the Ukranian Mafia who still have great power and sway in Ukraine, the country of my fiancée?
John Scholey, Barnsley England

The Orange Revolution showed what people can do when we work together
Wasyl Moskal, Toronto, Canada
Change takes time, it is up to the people to make the changes and not the politicians, all the politicians are the same, they look after themselves first and the ordinary people second. The Orange Revolution showed what people can do when we work together. President Yushchenko made some difficult decisions and get Ukraine into the European way of life. Ukraine deserves to belong in Europe.
Wasyl Moskal, Toronto, Canada

Dear President Yushchenko, as a long-term friend of Ukraine, I welcomed the Orange Revolution and hope it results in reform and modernization. My question is about science in Ukraine. I have heard it said that the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine is currently a fossilized gerontocracy in urgent need of reform. Please tell me what your Government can do about this situation.
David Minter, Isleworth, UK

The Orange Revolution gave the Ukraine potential, a kick-start towards reform. Of course these reforms will take time, and will not go unopposed. The recent 'wink' from the EU may help this. Crucially, the Ukraine could be the first former-Soviet country to embrace the EU while also maintaining a strong relationship with Russia.
Christopher, Crook, UK

The last elections have changed the attitude of Ukrainian people towards politics forever. However, nothing is going to change economically and socially until "third world mentality" of the ruling elite is gone. How come that hundreds of local officials, heads of state-owned companies were sacked on basis of their political views (eg support of Yanukovich during the election)? There is a need for a change, but posts should be given to people most able to do the job, and not to those whose only advantage is support of Yuschenko during the elections. Respect to free press is essential, even if the point of their interest is life of president's son.
Sergiy, London, UK

Will the people give this time to the government?
Gino van Hoof, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Many people in Ukraine had much different expectations after the Orange Revolution. They thought changes would come very quickly and there lives would become much better very soon. Unfortunately this doesn't work like this. It takes a lot of time and it is much too early to say if the Revolution has worked. The question is will the people give this time to the government? I see changes there every year and things are really improving but it is going slowly. Let's hope the people will stay patient.
Gino van Hoof, Eindhoven, Netherlands

I am Ukrainian married to Sierra Leonean. He was student in Ukraine and we got married there. Now we are living here in London. Last summer we wanted to go to Ukraine and my husband could not go with me because we were informed by the Embassy that before he can apply for Ukrainian visa he needs to get an invitation from somebody in Ukraine. I am his wife and I am here with him, so obviously I cannot do invitation for him. Why I cannot go with my husband to my country? We asked my mother to send us an invitation. She lives in a village and there is no bus from the village to the town where the branch of the home office is, and nobody answer to you by post either. Never the less she walked for 3 miles and reached the office, she filled in forms and paid the fee, but there is no processing time limit for these invitations, so we have been waiting for 2 months and because summer was nearly over I had to leave my husband behind and went to Ukraine by myself. I want Mr Yushchenko to answer why I cannot take my husband to my home country? Why I am treated this way by my own country? And why where is such a mess in Ukraine. People in villages have not drinking water, no centralised water system at all, they dig wells and drink this dirty water, when you even look at that water you will be scared to drink it. I am ashamed to be Ukrainian and I feel very sorry that my mother has to live in such a backwards anarchy country.
Nataliya, London, UK

I am wondering what status Russian language will have in the future of Ukraine? After all, half of Ukrainian population prefer to use Russian in their everyday life. Should Russian become second official language in Ukraine? It seems like it would make life for many people in Ukraine much easier if both languages - Ukrainian and Russian - could be used as official state languages.
Nadiya, Atlanta, USA

Mr. President, I admire your courage and determination to put Ukraine on the right path, but how do you respond to those critics who claim that real change is unattainable until the current political establishment is cleansed and replaced by new blood?
Christopher Sexton, Frankfurt am Main

My question to president Yushenko: I had the privilege of witnessing your inauguration in late January, making a special trip from New York to Kyiv in time to be in the Maydan. The reception I received as an American of non-Ukrainian decent was of celebration and kindness. And many were in the streets to support the new era of politics in the Ukraine. I ask now that you are getting close to the end of your first year, have you developed a plan to prepare your country for EU consideration, and how will/has this path effect(ed) the country's relationships internally with those loyal to Russia and Vladimir Putin, as well as externally with Russia itself and those states who have strong ties to the former Soviet States.
Darra Boyd, New York City, USA

Are you going to make life easier for foreign business people who will create employment in Ukraine?
Stegg, Newbury, England
Mr President, as a UK national, in September 2004, I took a gamble to invest a lot of money to start a business in Ukraine (Dnepropetrovsk), importing medical goods from the UK. At the beginning of this month, we finally got the go-ahead from the "powers-that-be" in Ukraine to start importing our wares. Are you going to make life easier for foreign business people who will create employment in Ukraine?
Stegg, Newbury, England

The previous government was planning to destroy a large part of the Danube Delta Nature Reserve in order to create a deep-water canal for ships. This is one of the most important areas for wildlife in the whole of Europe. The project has also poisoned relationships with your neighbour, Romania. Will you scrap this ridiculous plan before it is too late?
Dr Paul Kail, Prague, Czech Republic

How does the President think that the disappointment, the expectation of quick changes and improvements (common after revolutionary changes in Central Europe), can be overcome and managed?
Anna, London, UK

the problem of migration is high unemployment. the promise of 1 mln jobs a year was a joke- who knows exactly how many people really live in Ukraine now? Every fourth person is an elderly.
Taras Levchuk, Kyiv

Having visited Ukraine in 2003 and 2004 ,during Kuchma's office, I see the need for social reform and social programmes as massive. What steps are you taking? To bilaterally balance ties with Russia and closer ties with Europe is an obvious aim with obvious difficulties, but do you believe you can successfully achieve this? In a nutshell, where do you go from here?
Joseph Baillie, North Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

I am former Ukrainian citizen. I am very glad that I choose to emigrate from Ukraine 10 years ago. Ukraine is trying to build its statehood on nationalistic and xenophobic principles and accept it as a part of western world would be great mistake. Orange revolution brought Ukrainian people only misery and poverty. Western interference into Ukrainian election was biased and corrupt and didn't serve to the interest of Ukrainian society.
Leonid

Dear President Yushchenko, with its wonderful nature, Ukraine has the potential to be Europe's great natural park, but huge amounts of work need to be done to conserve nature on private and public land, including extensive decommissioned military sites. The National Trust for England and Wales is the largest NGO in Europe, and plays a key role in conservation of nature and landscapes. Ukraine has no equivalent body. Can you indicate to the British Government the need to support conservationist efforts to establish such a body and carry out such work?
David Minter, Isleworth, UK

Ukraine should try to achieve a better economy without pushing inflation up
Anton, Mariupol, Ukraine
Since the Orange Revolution I have noticed many changes, mainly the inflation and incompetence of the political leadership to resolve economic problems. Yuschenko and his partners want Ukraine to be in the European union, to do this they are causing many people serious hardship. Instead of doing witch hunting the government should pursue a more stable policy of reforming, this will allow international funding to take place and people will be able to have a job. Instead of rushing into the European union, Ukraine should try to achieve a better economy without pushing inflation up as it is happening. With regard to partnership, I think that Russia would be a far better option than Europe considering the economic rigidity and high prices of the EU.
Anton, Mariupol, Ukraine

How important is Ukraine's relationship with Russia today? If you had to choose, which aspect would you say is most important - security, economy or culture?
Robert Wood, Witney, UK

Regardless of the situation in Ukraine right now, I would like to commend the President and your supporters for their courageous display of faith during the Orange Revolution. Living in a country where consumerism, sensationalism, and material culture are valued over greater and more important social/ethical issues, I was truly inspired to see that patriotism is not something that must be sold or advertised. Thank you.
Darren, Washington, DC, USA

As a former scholar on the subject I would like to ask Mr. Yushchenko why oppositionists who become leaders after a victorious revolution start trusting their former enemies more than their former allies? Lech Walesa did that, Boris Yeltsin did that and now he seems to do so too.
Onno Hansen, Amsterdam, Netherlands

How do you see the poorest Ukranians perceptions of the EU see the emerging Ukraine?
Sameen Farouk, London, England

Mr President, there is an old eastern fable about a poor peasant who was wise and lucky enough to be promoted to rule the country. In his luxurious chamber he nailed his shabby boots above the door to always remember who he was and where he came from. Mr President, have you got anything like those boots? Have you got anything to remind you that you are not only somebody's father, godfather, friend, etc, but you are the President of Ukraine and your highest priority is the people of our country?
Vitaly Yatsenko , Odessa, Ukraine

What do you think about the influence America has on your decisions after they helped you and the Ukraine get ever closer to democracy and equality for the peace loving people of Ukraine?
Dennis, Atlanta, USA

We are a small technology investor in Ukraine. In the last 10 years we have seen a significant decline in the number and quality of educated, trained and skilled cybernetics and engineering students from university. What can/ will be done to reinvest in higher level education in the sciences?
Peter Rabley, Washington DC USA

The Orange Revolution has shown to the world that the people of Ukraine can make a huge difference in government. It proved that it is democracy that prevails and not tyranny. It is the first time that Ukraine ever experienced any freedom like it has in after the Orange Revolution. Economic improvements will follow, but maybe hard economic times had to come first. Ukraine should move forward. Ukraine's future is in Europe, not in the past. Ukraine can still have ties to Russia, but it should not give up any European opportunities just to remain close with Russia.
Max, USA

Yushchenko must be careful not damage his relations with Russia
Allen Aramide, Warsaw, Poland
No, it has not delivered. But you have to remember that after decades of totalitarian rule, things will not be better suddenly. We have gone through this in Poland. Yushchenko must be careful not damage his relations with Russia as a key economic partner as Ukraine is strongly tied economically with Russia.
Allen Aramide, Warsaw, Poland

I would be very interested to learn what policy the President has on adopting millions of its citizens from the former Soviet Union to the Ukraine and possibly and subsequently into Europe if Ukraine considers joining the EEC? Will the EEC be advised of the "actual" possible figures of Ukrainian Citizens? There are millions of Native Ukrainian families living in the Central and Eastern Russian States - many of whom might prefer a Ukraine passport with the possibility of EEC citizenship.
Andy Budge, London, South-West

Mr President, as your power is going to be cut down in just three months, do you plan to accomplish the justice reform declared? Will you bring the court, procurator and investigation systems into sustainable and effective state?
Yaroslav, Odessa, Ukraine

We have not heard yet your final and coherent position with regards to the pending Constitutional Reform. Do you accept the current terms as passed last December or do you plan to try to change some provisions? If you plan the latter - why have you not voiced your position yet? Also, on a separate note, there is a real fear that your political opponents may capture the majority in the Parliamentary elections due next March. Will you participate yourself in the elections (I would rather you did not) and do you have a vision as to how to capture a majority in the new Parliament?
Oleksiy, Kyiv

Where did the funding for the orange revolution come from?
M. Klein, Stockton, CA

How has Ukraine profited from its friendliness with the West? I mean any material profit, financial for example.
Eva, Ukraine

The revolution was nothing but a farce
Chris Ilojum, Kiev, Ukraine
When Ukrainians were called to the Maidan Square, in the centre of Kiev last winter, I told my wife that nothing will change and nothing has changed. The police are still the same. Political hostility and repression of opponents of the regime are being hunted and persecuted for holding opposing views. Bribery and corruption in public offices and the insincerity of the government officials are too much for comfort. Cost of basic amenities is sky-rocketing against a grevniah (UA) currency that is getting stronger over foreign currencies. Call it "Yushenkonomics". Nothing is working and nothing will work because the man has shown he doesn't know his right from left. The revolution was nothing but a farce. A total failure.
Chris Ilojum, Kiev, Ukraine

How do you feel about Russia's growing economic prosperity? At current growth rates, Russia will have the 4th largest economy in the world in 20 years.
Bradley, Austin, Texas

I have visited Ukraine twice in the past 5 years. I was taken by the beauty of the country and the friendliness of the people, despite my primitive knowledge of Ukrainian. What steps are your government taking to encourage tourism from Europe and the USA? The current requirements may discourage many Americans, who do not have a great deal of patience with government processes.
Gary Loging, Milwaukee, USA

You made many speeches on how the new Government will make the situation in Ukraine better. I don't think that that will be possible without the cooperation of the citizens on a family-by-family level. How are you planning to address the problem with the alcohol consumption, which literally destroys the future of Ukraine.
Stepan Goisan, New York

While all the criticism has a lot to deal with reality, there were a very small percentage of people who really believed in 360-degree turnaround for such a small period of time. Guys: we do not need any type of confirmation from other countries that Orange Revolution was a right way to go. People are already different. It is simply obvious for us, Ukrainians. And we do not need to prove it to arrogant politicians from Russia. What would be really great, is support from developed democracies in a big ocean of extremely competitive world, real opening of EU and other world for Ukrainian trade and new ideas, don't you think that the entire world needs some kind of fresh orange breath?
Viktor Stafiychuk, Kyiv, Ukraine

While reading reports of the Orange Revolution last year, I was deeply impressed by your people's defence of democracy. I looked at my country's own election process with disdain and bitterness, having already seen one election rigged and fearing that our upcoming election would operate in the same way, which it did. My question to you is this: is your government on the right track to cleaning up massive corruption and making the Ukraine palatable to the EU? This is the most exciting prospect of having you in office, and I sincerely hope it works out.
James B, New York, USA

Mr. President - are you ready to let the people govern themselves? How are you going to convince them that you will bring about reforms that will allow them to control their own destinies, and not merely idolise you as another saviour-politician - or is the latter what you would prefer?
Jennifer, Kyiv/Canada

Dear Mr. President, although I personally believe strongly that the Orange Revolution achieved democracy, freedom of the press, and made the government responsible to the people for the first time in Ukrainian history, many Ukrainians seem despondent about the achievements. What can you say to those who are disappointed? How to keep up their belief in the values of the Revolution and in you and your team? Everything you stand for is right for the people of Ukraine, but what kind of dialogue will you have with them to continue to make yourself and these achievements clear?
Natalie, Kyiv, Ukraine

What happened in Ukraine was very important not only for Ukraine, but for the rest of the world. By winning the elections Ukraine turned away from totalitarian regime and strong dominance of Russia since Russia is trying to regain its control over former soviet states. Because of this I think the west should have stronger support for Ukrainian government and not leave these people alone against Russia. Otherwise everything will be too late.
Alexander Kepuladze, Republic of Georgia

I would like to ask Yushchenko what his opinion is of the mass emigration out of Ukraine
Richard, Edinburgh
I would like to ask Yushchenko what his opinion is of the mass emigration out of Ukraine. Is it a temporary thing, with most returning once they have made some money? Or is the country losing its most enterprising, brightest and most energetic people? Or is it just part of modern European life, where people move around in search of work and a good quality of life?
Richard, Edinburgh

Do you think relations with Russia have been damaged irreparably, as Putin heavily favoured Yanukovich in the election?
Matt Gimes, San Jose, CA, USA

Mr President I wanted to ask you, what future role you foresee, Ukraine playing not just regionally but also within Europe. How do you perceive this role will affect the relations Ukraine has with its neighbours, particularly Russia?
Shingai, London, England

What useful lessons can you take from the reforms of countries such as the Czech Republic and Romania in the early to mid 90s?
Tom Kenney, Chester, UK

The Ukraine desperately needs stronger support from the West, especially EU. The opinion of many Ukrainians is that recent disruption in the Orange coalition was plotted by the Russian special forces. Foreign investments and clear and easy procedure for membership in NATO and European Union are crucial for our future.
Andy Patiy, Lviv, Ukraine

The change of government has only provided a temporary relief to some from emotional point of view. If the people of Ukraine really want to feel the change they must start respecting the law, and not only watch the government's every step.
Vladimir, Kiev

I wonder if he feels let down by the West?
Ewan, UK
I wonder if he feels let down by the West? All our encouragement during the Orange Revolution, yet the investment has been scarce. The patience of Ukrainians is running out.
Ewan, UK

Fighting corruption is a difficult task, and from what I understand, the traffic police have been disbanded a short while ago. Is there any plan to replace them because it must be awfully difficult to control traffic violations and accidents without traffic police?
Roman, New Jersey, USA

Dear President, how do you intend to solve the Crimean issue especially when there is a strong sense of nationalism brewing in the minds of Crimean people? I would also like to ask you how are you addressing the problem of Crimean Tatars who have returned to Crimea after 60 years exile.
Moign, Karachi, Pakistan

Taking part in the Orange Revolution I saw Ukrainians as an independent nation for the first time ever. Hearing the chanting and cheering in downtown Kyiv was incredible. These people were truly alive.
Stephen Andrews, Richmond VA, USA

Having worked with the " Fund For Foreign Economic Development of Ukraine" in 1993, only to have the effort fall completely apart because of uncertainty within the government, I would like to ask today, have you ever considered the privatization of real estate within the Ukraine?
Karl Reichert, Muscatine, Iowa USA

Since the collapse of the USSR and disintegration of collective farms most farmers in Ukraine are left with no or very little means to start small privately owned enterprises. Are there government programmes or subsidies currently in effect or being developed to help small farmers in obtaining equipment and supplies so desperately needed?
Sergei Bomba, New York City, USA

Since you are more westward leaning than eastward, what concrete aid, be it material or diplomatic, do you desire from the West in order to achieve your aims?
Joshua Strauss, Brooklyn, NY

Ukraine should align itself more closely with the West. Russia's dominance hindered Ukraine's ability to grow and prosper. You only have to look to Poland to see the benefit of closer ties to Europe and the West.
Joseph Ciupa, Toronto, formerly of Limna, Ukraine

What is being done to curb corruption, to decrease bureaucracy and to make it easier for people to set up their own business?
Verena Watson, Twickenham, United Kingdom

Beyond the talk of style of government, what - if any - contributions do you think your government can introduce to the Ukrainian economy? Given the steady pace towards a global, interdependent network economy - what does Ukraine bring to the table?
Matthew A Sawtell, Detroit, USA

Ukraine has taken one huge step towards a true, transparent democracy
Roman, Toronto
The very fact that: much of this political turmoil has happened in the public eye, largely transparent to Ukraine's citizens and internationally, readily and openly analysed from various points of view in the media, and the fact that Yulia now has a real opportunity to win power back in the parliamentary shows that Ukraine has taken one huge step towards a true, transparent democracy, regardless of who the individual victors may be. The Orange Revolution should be seen an evolution and not simply a point in time.
Roman, Toronto

True reform and change takes time! 9 months is not long enough to tell whether Mr. Yushchenko has been effective. Ukraine is in a unique position, and as far as foreign ties, it should try to have good relations with both Europe and Russia
Paul, New Jersey, USA

The fragmentation of the coalition is a major setback, undoubtedly. Ukraine has no experience in self-rule; it has had no possibility to develop a political tradition of its own, other than one of resistance and struggle for survival and independence, since the 17th century. We may here be seeing only the inevitable growing pains of a country in the beginning stages of self-government, delayed by fifteen years of corrupt rule after the dissolution of the USSR. The programme of seeking closer ties with Europe remains the correct path; of course it has its own perils, and of course good relations with Moscow should be maintained. But a return to the Russian sphere of influence would be disastrous. The West should do all it can to facilitate the success of the Orange Revolution and the emergence of a stable and free Ukraine.
Stephen Reynolds, Hillsboro, OR, USA

YES - The Orange Revolution has delivered! The Orange Revolution was about democracy, freedom of speech, and an end to tyranny. Now, one can walk the streets of many of Ukraine's cities and villages and witness people demonstrating and voicing their opinions without the fear that once existed. Talk shows, editorials, and other forms of mass media often feature criticism of the government. The people feel free to express their disillusionment and frustrations. They also celebrate their successes. Is this not a true expression of 'the will of the people'? A democratic society is not formed in a day, a month, or even a year. Instead of watching and critiquing from afar, we should all extend an open hand and offer our support and encouragement, and help this wonderful nation develop to its full potential!
Marta Chyczij, Canadian currently in Kyiv

Orange Mania has given way to a sickening disappointment and complete distrust of the "new" authority
Ken, Kyiv, Ukraine
From the streets of Kyiv the euphoria of Orange Mania has given way to a sickening disappointment and complete distrust of the "new" authority in Kyiv. After standing toe to toe with Ukraine's most powerful thugs in a rigged election, the Orange revolutionaries have seen their President sign a "sweetheart" deal with Putin-backed Yanukovich and the nearly wholesale sacking of the "dreamteam" Orange government, to be replaced by people that the Kremlin and former President Kuchma lovingly endorse. Frankly, the people feel betrayed. The tough talk of rooting out corruption in the highest places of government have gone unrealized. The voices from December continue to echo throughout Ukraine for real justice.
Ken, Kyiv, Ukraine

The Ukrainians got the leader they wanted and deserved
M Da Silva, Toronto, Canada

The Orange revolution has delivered less and confused more. It was funny to notice how international media can make heroes out of any seeming revolutionaries in the East. The Orange revolution enthralled Western media and the mighty Time magazine only to be proven later as a hoax of a revolution as per Western expectations and presumptions!
Rajiv Thind , Christchurch, New Zealand

What, you haven't noticed?! Seems to me that after the Orange Revolution Ukraine is doing as well, if not better, than Germany or Poland on the political front. And economic? Give it SOME time.
R L Chomiak, Washington, US, and Kyiv, Ukraine

So far Orange Revolution hasn't delivered much. Unfortunately most of the politicians it brought to power aren't much different from those that represented old regime of Kouchma. Economical policy had failed as Yulia Tymoshenko had done nothing except repeatedly saying that her government is best Ukraine ever had. And despite all the words about fighting corruption in reality many of the new officials are very corrupt. One of the leaders of the revolution Mr. Porshenko well used his new position to become one of the richest man in Eastern Europe. So one year after revolution situation doesn't look very good. We all Want to believe but it becomes more and more difficult.
Ihor, Lviv

Relations should be made with both Russia and Europe
Colleen, Berrien Springs Michigan USA
It showed the Ukrainian people that they can overcome the past. The reforms have not been implemented because of the high corruption in the government. The Parliament is what is in the way of reforms actually being accomplished. There are too many people in the government who were supporters of Yanakovich and they are blocking the way for reforms to happen. Ukraine is still run by the mafia and until the mafia is broken the country will not be totally free. Ukraine should focus first on getting themselves together as a nation. Relations should be made with both Russia and Europe, but first they need to focus their attention on the issues that are plaguing their own country. It shouldn't be the EU or Russia before the Ukrainian people.
Colleen, Berrien Springs Michigan USA

In the USA, it seems that following the Orange Revolution there is a new-found pride amongst Ukrainian-Americans. From pictures I have seen of concurrent protests all over the world, it seems that the revolution was more of an international awakening of Ukrainian identity in addition to a desire for self-determination, a better standard of living, and the establishment of a true democracy in the Republic of Ukraine.
Joe Collins, Chicopee, MA, USA

Ukraine may still have severe problems, however the people have learned that they have the capability to determine their own destiny. I believe that the centre of continental Europe is in Ukraine, therefore, geographically and I believe in reality Ukraine should be an integral part of Europe. Maybe Ukraine will finally cast off its derogatory name - " Little Russia"
Eugene Moroz, Concord MA USA

Corruption from former soviet politicians and oligarchs in Ukraine is unfortunately still rife
Ivan, England
Corruption from former soviet politicians and oligarchs in Ukraine is unfortunately still rife: The recent government reshuffle was a simple rearranging of the pigs at the trough, whilst those who stood on the maidan still look for real change. Amnesties for former corrupt, and in some cases murderous, politicians at whatever level was a signal for many that little had in fact changed at the top. Gongadze's murderers still sit in office or relax in their dachas. Meanwhile former embarrassed Russian commentators and government officials gleefully see the demise of the Orange revolution. It is time to bring out the guillotine and deal with this Ukrainian aristocracy the French way.
Ivan, England

In Canada there is a continued perception that Yushchenko is on the right track. He radiates an aura of sincerity and of objectivity. Yes, stick with a closer relationship with Europe, by all means. Russia's historic contempt for Ukrainianism will not diminish until it is forced to respect Ukraine's desire for independence. Until then Russia will continue to expect Ukraine to be a colony of sorts. This is the opportune time to make a permanent statement, to Ukrainians, to Russia, and to the world. Sieze it.
Michael zrymiak, Surrey BC Canada

The Ukraine has only recently returned from the nightmare that was the Soviet Union. Old habits die hard. Ukrainians are intelligent, know how to work hard and all they have to do is learn to work together. That is our biggest challenge and the breakdown in the last government shows we're not quite there yet.
Leo Hura, Honolulu Hawaii

I took part in the Orange Revolution and wrote about it for Political Affairs Magazine. If there is one thing that the movement accomplished, it was to prove to the old Soviet regimes that elections are no longer to be bought, bullied, or stolen. The people, if willing, will have their say. Everything else is icing on the cake. Look for the same in Belarus in the near future. Power to the people.
Thomas Lohr, Denver CO, USA

Ukraine has become more democratic yet politically divided
Firdaus, Singapore
The Orange Revolution did nothing except to see that Ukraine has become more democratic yet politically divided. The problems of all this is greed of power and refusal of Mr Yushchenko's allies to co-operate together to build a Ukraine that is united, prosperous and democratic.
Firdaus, Singapore

Mr. Yushchenko,
During the past year, the global community perceived that Ukraine sought closer relations with the West, especially the European Union, while at the same time keeping Russia close at hand. What is the next step? Will Ukraine evolve into some kind of foreign policy bridge among the EU, the US and Russia, or will Ukraine find its own way by growing close to Europe and the West?
Fernando Zambrana, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico

Mr. President, time and time again we in the West have hoped for meaningful reforms in Ukraine, and yet each time these hopes are dashed. What are you prepared to do to ensure the fulfilment of the promises of the Orange Revolution? Thank you, and Dyakuyu!
Walter Salmaniw, MD, Victoria, Canada

Many of the demonstrators in the square were not there to defend Viktor Yushchenko
Kristin Cavoukian, Vancouver, Canada
Ukraine's Orange Revolution galvanized what had previously been a politically apathetic and cynical population into action in defence of their electoral rights. It was about a flawed process, rather than flawed outcomes. In fact, many of the demonstrators in the square were not there to defend Viktor Yushchenko or Yulia Tymoshenko, but rather their own right to have their voices heard. As such, whether or not it "delivered" will be unclear until another election is held.
Kristin Cavoukian, Vancouver, Canada

Unfortunately Orange revolution did not bring anything. Ukrainian people were deceived once again. Ukraine will never achieve anything until they introduced legal and economic reforms. Until this happens power will move from one clan to another.
Ostap , Kiev

It is not the politicians who will bring change. The Ukrainian people themselves must change. Corruption, cheating, criminalization; this way of life can only be eliminated by the people directly, not by a man waving an orange scarf. That is a fantasy that many outsiders would like you to believe.
Milic, US

Victor Yushchenko has been going through a very rocky period and he has had to contend with accusations of sleaze which could lead to impeachment proceedings. So the future does not look so rosy.
Pancha Chandra, Brussels, Belgium




SEE ALSO:
Orange Revolution in turmoil
08 Sep 05 |  Europe
Profile: Viktor Yushchenko
27 Mar 06 |  Europe



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