The Guardian 13th May 2005
The world saw it as a spontaneous drive for democracy, but Ukraine's 'orange revolution' was in fact an operation years in the making. Daniel Wolf reports on how meticulous planning, 10,000 video cameras and tonnes of porridge brought about a peaceful coup
The success of the orange revolution has promoted a kind of democratic inebriation, in which random demonstrations around the world are each sold as a new dawn of freedom in the Ukrainian tradition. Yet what Yushchenko's team achieved requires more than a sense of grievance and the hope of change. It needs large sums of cash (in this case, much of it American - the US state department has said that it spent£35m in Ukraine over the past two years; it is estimated that the Russians, by the by, contributed up to £160m to the other side).
Along with the money, a democratic revolution on the orange model demands long-term planning, superb organisation and charismatic leadership. It also, of course, has to be addressed to a people who are ready to understand and support it. In the words of Bessmertny: "The people were so sick of the authorities, they were ready to give everything, ready to give their last things so that people would carry on standing there, on the square. Because everyone understood that, if the people dispersed nothing would ever happen."
Daniel Wolf directed Inside the Orange Revolution, to be shown on BBC4 on Sunday at 10pm. I wonder if it is to be shown on BBC World? Then everyone in Singapore could watch it.