By Mara D. Bellaby, Associated Press Writer
Hundreds of leftists waving Russian flags rallied in Ukraine's capital Sunday to condemn the country's plans to celebrate the anniversary of last year's Orange Revolution.

"There is nothing to be proud of, we sold out our country," Viktoriya Vasilenko, 20, said as she shook wet snowflakes off her hat. She added that President Viktor Yushchenko "is a traitor."

The rally's organizer, the radical Progressive Socialist Party, supports warm ties with Russia and is wary of closer relations with the West.

Sunday's protest came two days ahead of Ukraine's official celebrations marking the beginning of last year's Orange Revolution mass protests, which helped usher the pro-Western Yushchenko into power. Yushchenko said Saturday he hopes to make Nov. 22 an annual holiday called Freedom Day.

"Yushchenko out!" shouted hundreds of protesters, some carrying portraits of Russian czars and Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. Representatives of losing presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych handed out leaflets condemning the holiday plan.

Vasilenko and her grandmother, Margarita, said they came to Sunday's protest because of their anger over last month's sale of a Ukrainian steel mill to the world's largest steel producer, Mittal Steel. Mittal, a multinational firm, bought the Kryvorizhstal mill for $4.8 billion in an open auction that Yushchenko hailed as one of the biggest economic successes of his first year in office.

"Why should we be selling our birthright to foreigners," the grandmother said. The Progressive Socialists had promised that Sunday's rally would attract some 25,000 people, but at its peak only a couple of thousand gathered.


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