Mariyinsky Palace Negotiations, The A case study about maintaining peace throughout Ukraine's 2006 Orange Revolution


Jason Campbell, with Anika Binnendijk and Andrew Wilson
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The Mariyinsky Palace Negotiations: Maintaining Peace Throughout the Ukraine's Orange Revolution is a detailed factual case study of the negotiations to resolve the political crisis caused by the disputed 2004 Ukrainian presidential election. These negotiations culminated in an unprecedented second runoff election and a victory for the opposition Viktor Yushchenko. This case study, which is based on extensive research and interviews with key observers, offers an in-depth account of the complex dynamics that contributed to the contested first runoff election and to the events that followed. It includes English transcripts of most of the high-level negotiations, along with a glossary and several appendices.

NOTE: The case study's epilogue summarizes events through August 2006. Subsequent events may well influence the interpretation and evaluation of the events described in this case.

This case study and teaching note are designed to offer a rich illustration of complex multiparty negotiation dynamics, and thus serve as an advanced negotiation teaching tool. At the same time, the case study also provides a detailed insider's understanding of the events of the Orange Revolution, and may be of interest to those studying political science, electoral processes, and/or Ukrainian affairs.

The complete Mariyinsky Palace case study package is 127 pages long and comprises the 33-page case study and 10 appendices, including a glossary of Ukrainian terms, a timeline, a map of Ukraine, election results tables, brief biographies of key participants, a transcription of the interim agreement following the second round table of negotiations, the OSCE press release regarding the second round of elections, and 78 pages of transcribed excerpts from each of these negotiation round-tables. A shorter (49 pages) version with the case study and all appendices except the negotiation transcripts is also available.

Suggested time frame: 60+ minutes to read and prepare (preferably outside of class); 45 – 90 minutes for discussion

This case study may be used for individual analysis and/or class discussion, and is appropriate for graduate-level students of negotiation, dispute resolution, conflict management, government, diplomacy, international studies (particularly emerging democracies), and political science (particularly elections). It also may be of interest to governmental and organizational professionals concerned with emerging democracies and election processes.



The Orange Revolution that immediately followed the runoff election in Ukraine's 2004 presidential race drew the former Soviet nation into a political crisis that attracted the world's attention. Catalyzed by charges of electoral fraud against Prime Minister and presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych, supporters of opposition candidate Viktor Yuschenko flocked to the capital city of Kyiv within a day of the election and began blockading government buildings. Before official results could be announced, Yushchenko's supporters demanded a re-vote based on their claims that Yanukovych's party had contributed to widespread electoral fraud.

The conflict came to be characterized internationally by the throngs of protesters bearing the orange color of Yushchenko's campaign and by the threats from Yanukovych's supporters that Ukraine's southern and eastern portions would secede. In contrast, the events that led to the conflict's resolution took place largely out of the public view. Responding to international and internal pressure, Yushchenko, Yanukovych, outgoing president Leonid Kuchma, and other high-level officials from Ukraine and elsewhere had three meetings over 12 days to negotiate an end to the political crisis. The negotiations culminated in a package agreement, immediately ratified by the Ukrainian Parliament, that acknowledged the Ukrainian Supreme Court's ruling for an unprecedented second runoff election, mandated election reforms to reduce fraud, and enacted political reforms to transfer some of the President's powers to the parliament. Yushchenko won the second runoff election and was inaugurated as President of Ukraine a little over two months after the protests began.

Subsequent events demonstrate that the Orange Revolution was far from a complete victory for Yushchenko. In an ironic turn of events, by 2006 Yushchenko was suffering from low national approval ratings, Yanukovych's party gained governing power in parliament, and Yushchenko was ultimately forced to name Yanukovych as Prime Minister. Yanukovych's comeback was made all the more significant given the political reforms agreed to during the Mariyinsky Palace negotiations that transferred many presidential powers to parliament. While subsequent events are clearly relevant to a thorough evaluation of the Mariyinsky Palace negotiations, the case study focuses on the events of November – December 2004 that led to the peaceful resolution of the election conflict and set the stage for Ukraine's burgeoning, if unpredictable, democracy.



Possible themes for discussion include Yushchenko's use of sophisticated negotiation techniques, Yanukovych's gradual loss of negotiation leverage, coalitional and other multi-party dynamics, the pressure of constituencies, the role of third-party facilitators, and the influence of external events on the negotiations. The teaching note suggests debriefing questions on these and other discussion topics.

Mariyinsky Palace Negotiations, The Attributes

Authors: Jason Campbell, with Anika Binnendijk and Andrew Wilson
Publisher: Program on Negotiation (2007)