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The Orange Revolution was the culmination of a political crisis that began exactly four years earlier in November 2000. The Kuchmagate crisis emerged after President Leonid Kuchma was implicated in the murder of a journalist and other abuses of office. The crisis split the national-democratic reformist and centrist-oligarch alliance that had ruled Ukraine throughout the 1990s when state and nation building was prioritized. From 2000 onwards both sides in the alliance sought to unilaterally dominate Ukrainian politics, thereby making the 2004 elections a choice between consolidating democracy or consolidating autocracy. Civil society and the democratic opposition grouped around candidate Viktor Yushchenko unleashed the Orange Revolution in protest at blatant election fraud, defeating a Russian-backed attempt at installing Viktor Yanukovych as Kuchma's successor.