Ukraine was arguably the most likely of the former Soviet Republics to succeed following independence, however, it's economic history has been particularly poor, GDP falling by 60% between 1991 and 1999. Rapid growth subsequent to 2000 coming to a virtual stop in 2008 with the Global economic crisis. The period from 1994 to 1996 was characterised by a grab of former State enterprises creating a group of extremely wealthy oligarchs, who have subsequently dominated the positions of President or Prime Minister of Ukraine.
To most of us, if we care to look up the Wikipedia profiles of the people concerned, they are little better than Mafia. Certainly not people with whom we would like to associate.
Prelude to current Ukraine Crisis:
The election of Viktor Yanukovych in 2004 led to widespread protests dubbed the "Orange Revolution".
To keep our perspective I quote from Wikipedia:
"Activists of the Orange Revolution were funded and trained in tactics of political organisation … by a coalition of Western pollsters and professional consultants who were partly funded by a range of Western government and non-government agencies … the foreign donors included the U.S. State Department and USAID along with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute, the NGO Freedom House and George Soros's Open Society Institute."
I am not saying that there was not a natural uprising of Ukranians but would like to point out that USAID has form in trying to stir up unrest.
After the Ukraine Supreme Court annulled the results of the election, Viktor Yushchenko won the revote election 52% to 44%.While it is a large majority one should recognise that 44% of the people still voted for Yanukovych. Yushchenko also survived a poisoning attempt during the election campaign.
The 2010 Presidential Election was won by Yanukovych once again with around 48% of the votes.
November 2013 to Feb 2014 Euromaidan protests. With the country fairly equally divided between cooperation with Russia and closer union with the EU, spontaneous protests against Yanukovych break out in Kiev, becoming violent in February 2014. Poroshenko actively involved in financing riots and promoting them via his 5 Kanel Television Chanel. Yanukovych flees to Crimea and thence to Russia on 21st February. "Following violent protests on 22 February 2014, Members of Parliament found the president unable to fulfill his duties and exercised "constitutional powers" to set an election for 25 May to select his replacement"
Poroshenko (also a beneficiary of 1994/1996 privatisation in Ukraine) wins election for new President, however almost 85% of Eastern Ukraine excluded from poll because of counter Euromaidan protest and riots in area. In many ways we should look on this as a simple coup d'etat … the gaining of power by means of an armed uprising, the counter riots in Eastern Europe suggest that civil war is inevitable.
Poroshenko inaugurated on 7th June 2014.
While I have not covered all the political players in this sequence of events, they all owe their wealth to the flawed privatisation of Ukraine State enterprises during the period 1994 to 1996 where, as is the case of, one of Poroshenko's supporters assets of $1 billion were obtained for $80 million! Much of the desire for political power amongst this group of people relates to their need to quash tax and other investigations into their rise to eminence.
From my own perspective, the legitimacy of the Poroshenko Presidency over all of Ukraine should called into doubt, not only because the election, effectively disenfranchised, 80% of Eastern Ukraine but because he does not have the support of the Ukraine Parliament.
Here is part of his statement on 2nd August 2014, when he calls a snap election after failing to get parliament to declare the separatists in Eastern Ukraine terrorists.
"I don’t know how to work with the parliament where the majority of people represent a ‘fifth column’"
Here is my continuation that looks toward a Federal Ukraine as the route to resolution.
Here are my sources: