New York Magazine


Orange Winter
  Release Date: / / (Future Release)

Starring: Leonid Kuchma, Victor Yanukovich, Viktor Yushchenko

Director: Andrei Zagdansky

Rating: (NR)
  Running Time
  72 min
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Billed as an "essay documentary," Andrei Zagdansky's film about the Orange Revolution in Ukraine has passion to spare, as it gives us a montage of scenes from the two weeks of national turmoil following the country's disputed 2004 election. Tight and swift, it's a valuable look at this remarkable period, though it will have a tough time attracting those with relatively little background.

On November 21, 2004 the people of Ukraine were supposed to elect a new president. They had the choice of two candidates: Viktor Yanukovich, prime minister in the government of the very unpopular outgoing president Leonid Kuchma, and Viktor Yushchenko, a former prime minister and popular opposition leader. Viktor Yushchenko was perceived as a pro-Western, European Union-leaning candidate; Viktor Yanukovich as a pro-Russian, post-Soviet politician with a questionable past. The outgoing President, Leonid Kuchma, had an important personal stake in this election. For years the opposition had blamed him for various crimes-- from corruption to involvement in the murder of an opposition journalist. A hand-picked ''heir'' was his best chance to secure post-presidential immunity. The day after the election, the state controlled media ''projected'' Viktor Yanukovich a winner in what was widely believed a fraud-ridden election. The outraged populace of Kiev took to the streets staging the biggest mass protest in post-Soviet history.