The Ukrainian opposition faced one of the greatest degrees of state-backed violence in the second wave of democratization of post-communist states with only Serbia experiencing similar cases of assassinations and repression of the youth Otpor NGO. In the 2004 Ukrainian elections the opposition maintained a strategy of non-violence over the longest protest period of 17 days but was prepared to use force if it had been attacked. The regime attempted to suppress the Orange Revolution using security forces. Covert and overt Russian external support was extensive and in the case of Ukraine and Georgia the European Union (EU) did not intervene with a membership offer that had the effect of emboldening the opposition in Central-Eastern Europe. This article surveys five state-backed violent strategies used in Ukraine’s 2004 elections: inciting regional and inter-ethnic conflict, assassinations, violence against the opposition, counter-revolution and use of the security forces. The article does not cover external Russian-backed violence in the 2004 elections unique to Ukraine that the author has covered elsewhere.

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