Brian Mefford writes: Why Yushchenko won the award.
“We are honored to give the Dole Leadership Prize to such a great cultural and revolutionary icon,” said Bill Lacy, director of the Dole Institute. “Yushchenko and the Orange Revolution ignited a fire for the people of Ukraine, and his victory was a landmark for all of post-communist Eastern Europe.”
Yushchenko served as prime minister of Ukraine from 1999-2001. During that time, he addressed economic and social problems by lowering inflation, advancing privatization, and challenging corrupt practices. Although he was a popular prime minister, Yushchenko was forced out of office by higher ranking government officials.
Yushchenko responded by forming a broad-based democratic coalition called Our Ukraine, which was victorious in the parliamentary elections in 2002. The newly organized opposition gave him a platform from which to mount a credible challenge to President Leonid Kuchma, who had been accused of overseeing an increasingly corrupt administration.