True Blue?

After the elation of 2004's Orange Revolution, the camp of defeated prime minister Viktor Yanukovich is now talking wryly of a 'Blue Revolution' as Ukrainian politics appears to turn full circle. Yanukovich was back in the hot seat last week as troubled president Viktor Yushchenko acquiesced to nominate his former rival to the job of prime minister.

Yanukovich's controversial comeback began with March's elections, when his Party of the Regions won a substantial 32% of the vote. A series of ineffectual coalitions between former Orange allies Yushchenko and blonde bombshell YuliaTymoshenko put Yanukovich's return on hold, but the awkward alliance soon descended into farce as more and more ministers fell by the wayside.

Incoming prime minister Yanukovich draws the majority of his support from the southern and eastern regions, where Russian is the most widely spoken language. Russian speakers have railed against the newly dominant Ukrainian language - customers have complained that they cannot even understand the labels on medicines and other such essentials. This resentment was compounded by the fact that many people throughout the Ukraine were disappointed that the Orange Revolution did not bring more immediate and radical change to the standard of life in the country. Perhaps that would have been a tall order - neighbouring Poland had a series of false starts following the breakthrough of 1989. But such was the spirit of optimism in 2004.

Whilst Yanukovich is now insisting for a review of Ukraine's bid to join NATO - a policy that he is non-plussed with - it appears that Yushchenko has elicited a promise from his new colleague not to pour cold water on all aspects of the new Western alliance.


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