The Tymoshenko Case – between hypocrisy and justice

Varianta in limba română poate fi citită aici

In last period, the whole of Europe seems to be scandalized by the situation of former Prime Minister of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko. Ukraine, which was predicted a bright European future, has reached to be compared with Lucashenko’s dictatorship in Belarus. According to FT, German Chancellor Angela Merkel described Ukraine as “dictatorship”, comparing it with Belarus, a clear message of European leaders’ frustration in relation with the treatment undergone by Yulia Tymoshenko, in detention. “Today, Germany and the European Union are living in peace and freedom” Merkel said, during a speech in the Lower House of Parliament, reports the Financial Times, the electronic edition. She added that “Unfortunately, not all of Europe is, because in  Ukraine and Belarus people are still suffering under dictatorship and repression”.

Merkel’s statements is the first occurrence of a Western European politician about Ukraine as a dictatorship, although many analysts do not consider this country as authoritarian as Belarus or Russia. Of course, for reasons more or less diplomatic, Merkel did not directly nominated Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who is charged with consolidating their power by eliminating opponents through such processes supervised by the political power. In fact, German Chancellor has no way to forget that his old friend, recently returned to the helm of Russia – Vladimir Putin – also was the target of similar accusations in the case of the former tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovski and his partner Platon Lebedev.

In the same register like attitude of Chancellor Merkel stands – and almost incredible – solidarity of European leaders,  which – with few exceptions – have decided in block to boycott the Yalta Summit (and the works of meeting have been canceled for this reason). However, I cannot repress a justified question: Where was Europe and its leaders in September 2011, when by the voice of European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, Stefan Fule (quoted by Kommersant-Ukraina daily), the European Union did not recognized “political prisoner status for former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko”, located under arrest during the process where she was indicted for abuse of power. Moreover, participating in the 8-th edition of Yalta European Strategy Forum, Fule said that the same reason is valid in the case of all other investigated ministers, former members of the Tymoshenko cabinet. In view of High European official, “there is a clear distinction between cases in Ukraine and the issue of political prisoners in Belarus, whose status was recognized. In Belarus they were clearly arrested because criticism of President Aleksandr Lukashenko dictatorship. In Ukraine, arise questions just about the quality of legislation and the degree of judicial independence” points the Commissioner, marking the distinction between the events in Ukraine and in Belarus.

A month later, on October 11, 2011, Yulia Tymoshenko aka Princess of Gas, was sentenced to seven years in prison by a court in Kiev. She was found guilty of misconduct in case of the contract signed in 2009 by Naftogaz with Russia for natural gas supplies to Ukraine on a exorbitant price. Before reading the verdict, Tymoshenko denounced a political revenge by the current head of state: “You know very well that the sentence is not handed down by Judge Kireev, but President Yanukovych (…) Whatever the verdict, my fight will continue. This sentence, written by Yanukovych will not change anything in my life or in struggle” she added. Of course, reactions from European chancelleries were present, but were located in the famous and hypocritical record of the papers required in image portfolio of every politician .

At the end of last year, the United States asked Ukraine to free the opposition politician Yulia Tymoshenko, whose appeal to the sentence imposed in October just been rejected. Department of State of the United State said that was disappointed by the Court of Appeal in Kiev, adding that Yulia Tymoshenko and other politicians which are in prison would be entitled to participate fully in Ukrainian politics. Unfortunately, the position taken by the United States failed to raise awareness. Maybe because Yulia Tymoshenko is an emblematic figure of the Orange Revolution of 2004, that (after a promising start!) failed miserably under President Viktor Yushchenko’s term, causing disappointment to a significant proportion of population of Ukraine. From this array of hypocrite sympathy, not lacks, of course, the Russian authorities, who in April 2012, by the voice of the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alexander Lukashevich, have expressed concern about the health of Yulia Tymoshenko, and offering to provide necessary treatment in Russia and underlining the need to show the humanity toward that which for years was considered Ukraine’s Iron Lady.

Of course, the process file of Yulia Tymoshenko will go on the table of international judges. The procedure is bureaucratic and sometimes takes years. Here is an aspect at that should reflect politicians which feel compassion for former Ukrainian PM. Then, I think that it is well to remember that a favorable decision of an international court also Mikhail Khodorkovski had, a document that apparently was good to nothing. And last, but not least, who and what arguments someone can to decide that must interfere with justice (be it corrupt, politicized and willing to many compromises) of a other state? And reiterate an old observation: I would appreciate if world politics would not have done based on functional hypocrisy and double standards. Until when will shed light on the issues raised, I am expecting as the European solidarity to work and in Khodorkovski case through a boycott of proximal Summit Russia – EU. Is it possible ? Is not just a rhetorical question of course.

P.S. It seems that it is not possible. According to latest news, EU leaders will meet, also in block, with president Vladimir Putin at the Russia- EU Summit /St. Petersburgon 3-4 June 2012.

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