Importing Revolution: Internal and External Factors in Ukraine's 2004 Democratic Breakthrough

What role did external actors and the United States in particular, play in fostering the factors that led to the Orange Revolution? An answer to this question is not only important as a factual response to the critics of the Orange Revolution. The case is also an important one to be studied by those interested in understanding how external actors can influence democratization. Tracing the causal impact of democracy assistance programs on the consolidation of liberal democracy is very difficult, since the process of liberal democratic consolidation is incremental, complex, and long-term. The Orange Revolution, however, is a defined, concrete outcome, which therefore can be more easily explained. This essay attempts to offer such an explanation, with special attention devoted to isolating the distinctive contributions to the Orange Revolution of programs funded by the U.S. Agency of International Development.