Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 November 2019
After 1999, Ukraine and Russia both slid toward autocracy. As Leonid Kuchma’s autocracy made him a less fit partner for the West, he moved closer to Russia, and Ukraine’s 2004 presidential election looked set to solidify Russia’s position in Ukraine. The overturning of that rigged election via the Orange Revolution shocked the Russian leadership. In addition to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in Ukraine, revolution now appeared to threaten the Putin regime. By merging the Ukraine-Russia conflict with the growing Russia-West conflict, this episode made both harder to solve.