• Jan 2, 2014
    In 2013, Ukraine derailed its long-standing ambition of deeper political and economic integration with the European Union by suspending signature of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area that it had initialed in March 2012. The government’s unexpected decision to suspend signing the agreement sparked large and mostly peaceful protests in Kiev and other major cities. The protests grew after the authorities used excessive force to disperse protesters, injuring dozens, and arrested several activists for allegedly “rioting.”
  • Jan 15, 2013
    Ukraine’s human rights record remained poor in 2012. Candidates and supporters faced violence and harassment from authorities ahead of October parliamentary elections. Opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko alleged ill-treatment in prison, where she is serving a seven-year sentence, and two of her former political allies were imprisoned. The government extradited two asylum seekers. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists faced violence and harassment from nationalist groups. Parliament passed an anti-discrimination law and revised laws protecting asylum seekers. The European Union, United States,, and other countries criticized the country’s deteriorating human rights situation.
  • Jan 22, 2012
    In 2011 Ukraine adopted reforms to facilitate closer association with the European Union and adopted new laws on access to information and refugee protection. The conviction of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and the arrest and trial of other former government officials undermined confidence in the judiciary’s independence,
  • Jan 24, 2011
    The February 2010 presidential election ended the political turmoil that has characterized Ukraine in recent years. Viktor Yanukovich won the election over incumbent Viktor Yushschenko in a contest that international observers declared generally in accordance with international standards. Upon taking office President Yanukovich initiated far-reaching reforms, drawing criticism for pushing through changes without respecting democratic procedures or engaging the opposition.
  • Jan 20, 2010
    Another period of instability characterized political life in Ukraine in 2009. Political scuffles between President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko continued through most of the year. In March Yushchenko proposed a constitutional amendment that would restructure parliament into two chambers—ostensibly the intent is that a bicameral parliament will better withstand political crisis, but critics suggest that the amendment is also designed to limit presidential power after Yushchenko’s term ends in 2010. On October 22, parliament voted against the president’s proposal.
  • Jan 13, 2009
    2008 proved to be another year of political turmoil in Ukraine. The longtime conflict between President Viktor Yushchenko and parliament continued, despite the appointment of Yulia Timoshenko as prime minister in late 2007 and the creation of a coalition government with her party. During August’s armed conflict in Georgia and its breakaway region South Ossetia the political situation deteriorated, and in September the coalition government collapsed, as the president and prime minister could not agree on the proper response to Russia’s use of military force in the conflict.
  • Jan 5, 2006
    Presidential elections in November 2004, which were neither free nor fair, sparked a popular uprising in support of presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko. In what became known as the Orange Revolution, thousands of Ukrainian citizens took to the streets to peacefully protest the government’s manipulation of the elections in favor of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich. Yushchenko secured a victory over Yanukovich in repeat elections on December 26 and was sworn in as president in January 2005.
  • Jan 5, 2005
    A November presidential election that was neither free nor fair plummeted Ukraine into its deepest political crisis since gaining independence in 1991. At this writing the two leading candidates, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich and opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko, had both claimed victory. Hundreds of thousands of protesters had occupied the streets of Kiev, and parliament had adopted a vote of no confidence in Yanukovich. Initiatives in several regions in eastern Ukraine to seek autonomy should the opposition candidate win the presidency had raised concern of a possible break-up of the country. While the Ukrainian political elite, together with foreign mediators, were looking hard for a way out of the crisis, the danger of the situation turning violent remained very real. To their credit, the authorities had to date not cracked down on demonstrators.