War in Ukraine ‘stems from the Orange Revolution, a humiliating ordeal for Putin’

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One year into the war that Russia launched against Ukraine, FRANCE 24 takes a closer look at the anti-Western rhetoric President Vladimir Putin used to justify the conflict, which is rooted in events in the early 2000s, according to historian Françoise Thom, an expert on post-Communist Russia.

On February 24, 2022, as a Putin speech was broadcast on television, Russian troops were penetrating into Ukrainian territory, initiating the most important military operation on European soil since World War II.

During his speech, the Russian president tried to justify the invasion with a brutal tirade against the Kyiv government, which he described as “neo-Nazi”, and against the perceived threat posed by NATO and the US against Russia.

This rhetoric, far from being new, dates back to Ukraine's Maidan Revolution in 2014 and Orange Revolution in 2004, according to historian Françoise Thom, an expert on post-Communist Russia, who spoke with FRANCE 24.

FRANCE 24: In February 2022, Putin justified the invasion of Ukraine by citing the necessity to shield Russia from NATO and the West. When was the first time the Kremlin used this rhetoric?

In my opinion, the ongoing war stems from the Orange Revolution, which was a humiliating ordeal for Putin. The candidate he backed, Viktor Yanukovych, lost the popular vote to a pro-European candidate, Viktor Yushchenko, in the 2004 elections.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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