“Some say the Orange revolution has failed. I say no. Thanks to the Orange revolution democratic elections in Ukraine are now a reality,” said Matyas Eörsi, head of the delegation of the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly.
So the Guardian reports today, on the news that pro-Russian candidate for the Ukrainian presidency Viktor Yanukovych was likely to win the position with a lead of 3% over the current prime minister and candidate for the Orange Revolution Yulia Tymoshenko.
The US put forward a similar perspective.The Wall Street Journal reports that ‘the Obama administration avoided taking sides in Sunday’s election, hopeful that either candidate would defuse the tensions as Washington seeks to improve relations with Moscow.’
But no matter how the West spins it, Yanukovych’s election victory marks a reversal in the Bush administration’s policy goal of provocatively encircling and isolating Russia through supporting the election of pro-Western governments in Eastern Europe.
At the time of the so-called ‘Orange Revolution’, in 2004, Russia had just played an instrumental role globally in its opposition to the war on Iraq. Under bourgeois nationalist Vladimir Putin, Russia was seen to represent an obstacle to the US’ geopolitical interests in Europe and Asia. This is the chief reason that the National Missile Defence programme (or ‘Son of Star Wars’) was rehabilitated. Undermining Russia was therefore a key priority of Bush’s foreign policy. (For similar reasons, Bush sought to overthrow the dominant political consensus in France and Germany, and with the election of Sarkozy and Merkel was successful.)
Obama’s foreign policy to an extent is a turn away from that strategy, which from the US point of view is probably sensible given the high level of support in Russia for nationalism and the policies of the Putin/ Medvedev current.