Ukraine's remarkable "Orange Revolution" reversed a trend of corruption, repression and impunity familiar to many former Soviet republics, and has accelerated Ukraine's transition to a peaceful, transparent free market democracy. Integral to this process was the establishment of partnerships supporting Ukraines' full integration into Europe and the World.
Working with nongovernmental organizations in Europe, in 2003 GFI became a co-founder of “The Friends of Ukraine Network,” a network of organizations in support of Ukraine's new democracy. The Friends of Ukraine sponsored the February 2004 Conference in Kyiv and now work towards developing public policy, enhancing the public dialogue, supporting related scholarship, and educating world leaders and on Ukraine's present needs.
The Friends of Ukraine Network orchestrated important gains for Ukraine’s progress towards a democracy. It helped build Ukraine’s political culture by hosting for the first time in contemporary history political discussions between the two major presidential candidates (Viktor Yushchenko and Viktor Yanukovich). At this meeting, senior government officials listened in public to criticism from both Ukrainian and foreign participant. Their work also strengthened support for continued democratic changes in the country, while conveying their trust to the democratic opposition. Finally, because it worked entirely in public settings, it enabled national and international media to more accurately report on the democratic changes underway in the Ukraine.
With the 2004 election in Ukraine and non-violent transition of power, Ukraine continued down the long path towards democracy. To continue on this path, GFI and the Friends of Ukraine Network will continue working towards the following objectives: