The remarkable popular protest in Kiev and across Ukraine following the cooked presidential election of November 2004 has transformed the politics of eastern Europe. Andrew Wilson witnessed the events firsthand and here looks behind the headlines to ascertain what really happened and how it will affect the future of the region.
It is a dramatic story: an outgoing president implicated via secret tape-recordings in corruption and murder; a shadowy world of political cheats and manipulators; the massive covert involvement of Putin's Russia; the poisoning of the opposition challenger; and finally the mass protest of half a million Ukrainians that forced a second poll and the victory of Viktor Yushchenko.
As well as giving an account of the election and its aftermath, the book examines the broader implications of the Orange Revolution and of Russia's serious miscalculation of its level of influence. It explores the likely chain reaction in Moldova, Belarus, and the nervous autocracies of the Caucasus, and points to a historical transformation of the geopolitics of Eurasia.
ANDREW WILSON is senior lecturer in Russian and Ukrainian studies at the School of Slavonic & East European Studies, University of London. He is author of The Ukrainians and Virtual Politics: Faking Democracy in the Post-Soviet World, both published by Yale University Press.