Five years after the Orange Revolution, Gongadze says that those longing for strong-armed rule may outnumber those who want to preserve their imperfect democracy. She attributes this to unrealized reforms and widespread corruption, which have had a major corrosive effect on the Ukrainian public.
From a once-promising democratic leader in the region, Ukraine has dissipated into a source of disenchantment for the democracy activists in neighboring ex-Soviet republics. The EU and other democratic nations need a clear, constructive, and principled policy with regard to Ukraine. If Kiev’s next leaders prove unwilling or unable to halt the nation’s slide toward its authoritarian past, Western powers will have to support the civil society movement and new emerging leaders. This may help preserve the few gains of the Orange Revolution. But even if Ukrainians lose their way, Gongadze believes that the basic democratic reforms they have earned will ensure that their destiny will still remain in their own hands.
Gongadze is a Ukrainian journalist and human rights activist, and the widow of slain Ukrainian journalist Georgy Gongadze.
Opinion summaries provided by Opinion Source, an organization with which Safe Democracy is associated