In 2004, a disputed presidential runoff in Ukraine led to widespread, ongoing protests, sit-ins, and strikes that formed the “Orange Revolution.” The name comes from the color identified with the campaign of the opposition candidate that protesters rallied around.
Thousands of protesters turned out after a runoff presidential election in November 2004, when then-Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych was declared the winner in polls that were widely believed to be tainted by fraud. The protesters stayed out on the streets – no small feat during a Ukrainian winter – until a re-do of the runoff was announced in December of that year. Opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko won the second time around.
Mr. Yanukovych was the favored candidate of post-Soviet Russia, while West-leaning Mr. Yushchenko was the favorite of pro-democracy opposition. The widespread protests by the opposition were a major event in post-Communist Eastern Europe and a major victory for democracy in the region.