Skip to Main Content

The War in Ukraine — Contemporary Ukraine in Revolution and Conflict (2004-2014)

A guide to better understanding the current crisis


2004 and 2013-2014 are watershed years in the development of contemporary Ukraine. The Orange Revolution of 2004 emerged as a result of fraudulent results in a run-off vote for the Ukrainian presidency between a more Euro-centric and westward-looking candidate Viktor Yushchenko and a pro-Kremlin candidate Viktor Yanukovych. Returns from the second round of voting were marred by allegations of fraud that seemed to be tipping the balance in favor of Yanukovych, and protesters gathered in Kyiv by the thousands to peacefully demonstrate against the results and called for a free and fair revote. Due to the pressure of protestors, a new round of voting occurred on December 26th and Yushchenko emerged as the winner of the presidency.   

For an account of Ukraine's Orange Revolution, see:

Karatnycky, Adrian. “Ukraine’s Orange Revolution.” Foreign Affairs 84, no. 2 (2005): 35–52.  

The Euromaidan Protests/Maidan Revolution/Revolution of Dignity/Revolution of Honour was a student protest movement that sought to force the pro-Kremlin Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to sign an agreement of association with the European Union. The mass protests were focused in and around Kyiv's Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti/Майдан Незалежності) and turned violent. The movement forced an end to the Yanukovych presidency and the creation of a unity government in early 2014. The effects of the Maidan Revolution led Russian President Vladimir Putin to annex Crimea and support a pro-Russian separatist movement in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, which set the stage for Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022.  

For a short introduction to the Maidan Revolution and its aftereffects, see the following:

BBC News. “Ukraine’s Revolution: Making Sense of a Year of Chaos,” November 21, 2014, sec. Europe.

Shapovalova, Natalia. “From the Square to Politics After Ukraine’s Euromaidan Protests - After Protest: Pathways Beyond Mass Mobilization.” Carnegie Europe. Accessed March 8, 2022.