How things have changed. The People Power colour revolutions have spluttered and now faded away as reality starts to bite, as it becomes increasingly apparent that people are not easily duped by pie-in-the-sky promises and crucially, as it becomes blatantly obvious that each nation occupies a cultural space that has to be respected.
It therefore comes as no surprise that Viktor Yanukovych has won the Ukrainian Presidential election against Yulia Tymoshenko. And even less of a surprise that the darling of the West, the pock-marked face of the Orange Revolution, outgoing President Viktor Yushchenko is a political nobody in no-man’s land. The Ukrainians did not want to join NATO, the Ukrainians did not want to be colonised by the European Union. They want jobs, they want schools, they want hospitals, they want to eat.
The first results from exit polls would indicate a clear victory for Viktor Yanukovych with around 49.42% of the vote, with Yulia Timoshenko garnering around 44.46%, a lead of five points.
Will we once again witness a sea of protesters in Independence Square, Kiev, chanting “Razom nas bahato! Nas ne podolaty!” (Together we are many! We cannot be defeated!), as was the case in November 2004? In a word, no. Independence Square is empty, the Orange revolution has run out of steam; in fact it never came to the boil.
Why? Because it never amounted to anything more than hype created by meddlesome Western influences which wanted Ukraine in NATO. Ukraine and the Ukrainians were used by the arms lobby and Yushchenko was the pawn, the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time.
President Viktor Yushchenko stepped on thin ice the final days of the campaign: He named a controversial nationalist a "Hero of Ukraine." Only after collecting a humiliating 5% of the vote in the first round of the elections did he make his declaration. In Ukraine's most avidly Western-leaning, anti-Russian city, news that the rare honor had been bestowed on Stepan Bandera was met with jubilation. Disgust and dismay swept the Russian-speaking provinces, where Bandera is remembered for what he really was: a Nazi collaborator.
In a letter to Ukraine's ambassador to the United States, the Simon Wiesenthal Center expressed "deepest revulsion" over the decision to honor Bandera, "who collaborated with the Nazis at the beginning of World War II, and whose followers were linked to the murders of thousands of Jews and others."
Yushchenko has been a petty, inept, corrupt dictator. He lost almost all voter support during a long series of feuds with prime minister and one-time ally,Yulia Tymoshenko. They both engaged in a competition of who could undo the other's actions. The result: total disaster and imminent economic collapse for Ukraine.
In the January election, President Yushchenko received less than six per cent of the vote. For some reason. Firstly, Viktor Yushchenko is an academic. He belongs behind the cloistered walls of a University, not in real life. His foray into the real world saw him destroy any political credibility and saw his power base shrink from half of the electorate to a handful of people with poor judgement. Hence his total isolation from the people, his isolation in parliament.
Viktor Yushchenko’s idea for the Ukrainian people was to take pot-shots at Moscow, hoping in the process to carve out a national identity. Blind to the problems that his pro-NATO stance would cause not only with Moscow but among the Ukrainians themselves (66% of the population are strongly opposed to any notion of joining the Organization), blind to the effects his russophobic measures would have (33% of Ukrainians speak Russian as their mother tongue), blind to the fury his move to evict the Russian Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol would cause, the result of his failed policies is staring him in the face.
Yushchenko’s foolish policies saw Ukraine lose its energy subsidies from Russia and saw his country humiliated in the international community as the Ukrainians started stealing Russian energy supplies in transit to Western Europe. He armed Georgia in its murderous act of aggression against Russians, siding with the war criminal Saakashvili.
At home, he promised economic prosperity but shamefully mismanaged the economy to such an extent that the Hryvnia lost half its value and managed to become indebted to the IMF, receiving loans which always have neo-conservative and anti-social strings attached.
Tymoshenko's calls of foul play have been dismissed as officials said they had not received any reports of serious violations during the voting. "The second round got underway smoothly, without blatant violations of public order," Volodymyr Mayevsky, the head of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry's public security department, told a news conference in Kyiv.
Petulant Tymoshenko called for street demonstrations, but apparently Ukrainians have had enough of her crying wolf constantly. The results of responding to her calls have turned out quite badly for them.
As all exit polls indicated no less than a 5 percent advantage for Viktor Yanukovich in the election, Tymoshenko's threats and sour grapes might throw the election into the courts. The Orange Revolution spelt five years of paralysis for Ukraine. It was an abject failure.