tymoshenko7_Uriel SinaiGetty Images_ukraine protest Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

The Battle for Ukraine

To commemorate its founding 25 years ago, PS will be republishing over the coming months a selection of commentaries written since 1994. In this commentary from 2004, Yuliya Tymoshenko makes clear that she and her fellow Orange Revolution demonstrators were determined to protect their country’s democracy.

KYIV – The old axioms are true: firmness can pay, and resolution can see you through. We in Ukraine who are struggling to maintain our democracy believe this. We must believe this, now more than ever, because Russian troops wearing Ukrainian uniforms have entered our country, after Ukrainian soldiers refused to carry out orders to crush demonstrations aimed at defending our democracy. If our democratic dreams are to be realized in peace, however, we will need the solidarity of our neighbors, and of freedom-loving peoples around the world.

The struggle to safeguard the position of Viktor Yushchenko, the true winner in last Sunday’s election, as Ukraine’s new president is not one that we sought. But, in the battle for freedom that has been imposed upon us, we will not be found wanting in either courage or resolve.

The days and nights ahead will be difficult, and the secret presence of Russian troops will make them all the more dangerous. Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych’s forces foolishly stuffed ballots and intimidated Ukraine’s electoral commission to an absurd degree. They then tried to force the Ukrainian people to swallow this sham – threatening to ban public gatherings, close our borders to new visa-seekers, and silence any word of our protests on television.

25 years of the World's Opinion Page

Project Syndicate celebrates its 25th anniversary with PS 25, a collection of our hardest-hitting commentaries so far.

To continue reading, log in or register now.

Register / Log In

Get unlimited access to all PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine. Subscribe Now.