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Watch the new Freedom Collection with Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine from 2005 to 2010. An economist by training, Yushchenko became involved in politics after the collapse of the Soviet Union led to Ukrainian independence.
In the early 2000s, Ukrainian democracy was under siege, as the government chipped away at recently won rights and freedoms. Yushchenko formed the Our Ukraine political movement and became the democratic opposition’s leading candidate for president in 2004. He faced formidable odds, with little access to the media.
During the campaign, Yushchenko became seriously ill with what was later diagnosed as dioxin poisoning. Though gravely wounded, he continued his campaign.
In the first round of the elections, Yushchenko narrowly edged the incumbent president’s chosen successor. Since neither won a majority, they faced off in a runoff. Irregularities and fraud were widespread and the government proclaimed its candidate the winner. Public outrage led to the nonviolent demonstrations of the Orange Revolution. After weeks of protests, the government acceded to a new round of elections and Yushchenko was victorious. Today, Ukraine still struggles to build a lasting democracy.
In a message to dissidents, President Yushchenko says, “Democracy does not begin with a president, democracy begins with you. With millions of us, with you feeling you are part of this grand goal.”
View the new interview here.
This post was written by Lindsay Lloyd, Program Director of The Freedom Collection.
Lindsay Lloyd is the Director of the Human Freedom Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute, where he manages original research and programmatic efforts to advance freedom and democracy in the world. Lindsay currently leads the Bush Institute’s Freedom in North Korea project, which raises awareness of human rights violations in North Korea, proposes new policy solutions, and engages leaders to help improve the lives of the North Korean people. Lindsay is also responsible for managing the Freedom Collection, a multimedia archive that documents the stories of nonviolent freedom advocates from around the word.
Prior to joining the Bush Institute, Lindsay served for 16 years at the International Republican Institute (IRI), most recently as senior advisor for policy. Previously, he was IRI’s regional director for Europe and co-director of the regional program for Central and Eastern Europe, which was based in Slovakia. At IRI, Lindsay worked with candidates, elected officials, political parties, and civil society activists to develop lasting democratic institutions.
Before joining IRI, Lindsay worked for several members and the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives, as political director for a political action committee, and for Jack Kemp’s 1988 presidential campaign. He graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.Full Bio
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