2004/10: Ukraine Presidential Election

The 2004 presidential election in Ukraine eventually featured two main candidates:

  • sitting Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, largely supported by Leonid Kuchma (the outgoing President of Ukraine who had already served two terms in office from 1994 and was precluded from running himself due to the constitutional term limits)
  • the opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko, leader of the Our Ukraine fraction in the Ukrainian parliament and a former Prime Minister (in office 1999–2001)

The election took place in a highly charged atmosphere, with the Yanukovych team and the outgoing president’s administration using their control of the government and state apparatus for intimidation of Yushchenko and his supporters.


In September 2004 Yushchenko suffered dioxin poisoning under mysterious circumstances. While he survived and returned to the campaign trail, the poisoning undermined his health and altered his appearance dramatically (his face remains disfigured by the consequences to this day).