Northern Eurasia 2005: Color Revolutions
Russia viewed Western actions after the US invasion of Afghanistan with increasing concern. In 2003 the US invaded Iraq and in 2004 NATO expanded to include seven former-Eastern Bloc countries. Meanwhile, revolutions overthrew the pro-Russian governments of Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan.
10 Jan 2002–5 Oct 2006 International Security Assistance Force▲
In December 2001 the United Nations Security Council established the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to assist in the securing and rebuilding of Afghanistan. The ISAF, led by NATO, arrived in Afghanistan in early 2002, where it helped Hamid Karzai, head of the Afghan Transitional Administration, establish the authority of government in the Kabul region. Over the following years the ISAF expanded its jurisdiction to cover the entire country, despite coming into increasing conflict with Taliban insurgents.
19 Mar–1 May 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom▲
Alleging that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction, the United States formed a “Coalition of the Willing” to invade the country in March 2003. Although Coalition forces defeated the ruling Ba’ath Party by early May of that year, no such weapons were found, and a state of war continued to exist between the Coalition and domestic insurgent groups until US withdrawal in 2011.
3–23 Nov 2003 Rose Revolution▲
In November 2003 antigovernment protests broke out in Georgia over allegations that the recent parliamentary elections—which failed to meet international democratic standards—had been rigged. After facing a twenty day civil disobedience campaign in which he was eventually driven from parliament by demonstrators holding roses, President Shevardnadze declared a state of emergency and attempted to mobilize troops. When the troops refused, Shevardnadze resigned in favor of opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili, who immediately began implementing pro-Western reforms.
29 Mar 2004 Vilnius Group▲
The accession of the Visegrád group encouraged yet more Eastern European countries to join NATO. In 2000, the Vilnius Group was established as a collective lobby to join. In 2004, Vilnius Group members Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Romania were admitted into the alliance. Of the three Vilnius members who were not admitted, Croatia and Albania joined in 2009, while Macedonia’s membership was vetoed by Greece.
22 Nov 2004–23 Jan 2005 Orange Revolution▲
In 2004, Ukraine held a Presidential election between pro-western Viktor Yushchenko and pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych won, but the election was marred by a chemical assassination attempt on Yushchenko, and widespread corruption within the electoral process led many to question the legitimacy of the poll. After two months of mass demonstration (known as the Orange Revolution), the Supreme Court required a re-vote, which was won by Yushchenko.
19–24 Mar 2005 Tulip Revolution▲
In March 2005, following two days of protests, Askar Akayev, President of Kyrgyzstan, agreed to investigate claims of election fraud put forward by the opposition. Just two days later, Akayev dismissed the minister for the interior and the general prosecutor, cracking down on the riots which followed. After neighboring Uzbekistan voiced its concern over events in Kyrgyzstan, Akayev fled to Russia and resigned his presidency.