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Yearbook 2002

Ukraine. The March parliamentary elections were criticized by foreign observers, who testified about irregularities. However, the election was a success for former Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko, who was forced to resign after a vote of no confidence the year before. According to Countryaah website, Yushchenko's newly formed electoral union, the right-wing liberal and nationalist Our Ukraine, received just over 23% of the vote. Communist Party and President Leonid Kuchmas For a united Ukraine each took about 20%, while the Socialist Party and Julija Tymoshenko's blocs each got about 7% of the vote.

2002 Ukraine

The election results were interpreted as supporting Viktor Yushchenko's reform policy, which was voted down in the former parliament. However, many independent members had been elected and neither government nor opposition succeeded in creating a clear majority.

President Kuchma announced in May that Ukraine had decided to apply for membership in the NATO military alliance. The request was made to NATO's Secretary General when he visited Ukraine in July to mark the fifth anniversary of the country's accession to NATO's Partnership for Peace program. However, the NATO commander explained that much reform work remains for Ukraine before it can join the military alliance.

In July, 83 people were killed and about 115 injured when a fighter plane crashed and caught fire in the midst of a spectator mass at an aerial display in Lviv in western Ukraine. President Kuchma dismissed the Air Force commander and commander-in-chief. The defense minister also resigned and the president banned future military aviation demonstrations.

Police said in August that they had arrested a suspect for the murder of regime-critical journalist Georgij Gongadze in 2000. The opposition has long accused President Kuchma of ordering the murder. At the two-year commemoration of Gongadze's disappearance in September, the opposition launched new demonstrations against Kuchma demanding his departure. In Kiev, over 15,000 people gathered and protests were held in several cities. The campaign was led by former Deputy Prime Minister Julija Tymoshenko, who demanded national court for Kuchma. Former Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko also joined the protests. Police stormed a tent camp that protesters set up outside the presidential office. Many were arrested, but the protests continued, among other things. by about 50 members of parliament going on hunger strike. According to an opinion poll, 70% of the population wanted Kuchma to step down.

Another journalist was found dead in the fall. The government's finance minister was suspected of being involved in the death.

The pressure on the president increased with accusations from the US that Ukraine sold the advanced radar system Koltjuga to Iraq and that Kuchma personally approved the deal. The US stopped its assistance to Ukraine, which denied the allegations and in October, US and British experts admitted an investigation into the alleged radar deal. The head of the coal-fired plant was killed in a car accident earlier this year, shortly before a parliamentary commission announced that it had received information on illegal arms sales to Iraq.

In the fall, some of the opposition members went to the government side, which, just over six months after the election, managed to create a majority with 231 of Parliament's 449 seats. But in November, Kuchma surprisingly dismissed Prime Minister Anatoly Kinach and replaced him with Viktor Yanukovich, who until then had been governor of the Donetsk region. Parliament approved Yanukovich, but the opposition boycotted the vote.

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