The Ukrainian opposition, in its composition at the beginning of the 21st century, enjoyed support never seen before in the modern history of Ukraine and came to power thanks to massive public protests. Yet it failed to meet the nation’s expectations. In spite of having plans to solve the most burning issues of society, the opposition never implemented them. Even the changes that were indeed made, failed to become irreversible.
The result of the 2010 presidential election was not so much a victory of those currently in power, but a defeat of the previous government that – for subjective or partly objective reasons - failed to meet its promises, rise above political and personal conflicts, and withstand temptations generated by power in a corrupt post-soviet country.
The Orange leaders ended up with distorted priorities treating victory over their opponent partner as their top priority rather than the implementation of reforms declared during the campaign. To do so, they wasted the energy and efforts that could otherwise have been used to overcome corruption, restrict the influence of oligarchs, implement reforms and overcome resistance to reforms.
The pursuit of “defeating (their partner) no matter what” pushed Orange politicians into unions with their ideological opponents and populist moves that undermined the economy, especially in the middle of the financial crisis, and aggravated the business environment.
Internal squabbles also hampered resistance against external threats, including gas crises, trade wars and so on, and impeded European integration.
After the revolution, its leaders virtually lost contact with the people. Parties continued to be the “fan clubs of their leaders”, as has always been the case in Ukraine, used as tools for bringing to power those who have the necessary resources, rather than as means to seek and support allies for reform in society.
Meanwhile, social activists and NGOs failed to establish either an efficient partnership with the government or get it under their control.