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Kiev – Princess gas, Yulia Tymoshenko, reaches behind bars – UPDATE: Ex-premier Tymoshenko, sentenced to 7 years in jail

The battle in Ukrainian political space from long time exceeded the limits of civilized debate and hits allowed. However, the upcoming elections and increasing the opposition popularity trend (not too much, but the popularity ratings of Viktor Yanukovych and the Party of Regions are falling dramatically !!) seems to be convinced the leaders to power that is needed really radical measures. Such as the arrest of opposition leader.

A Ukrainian court in Kiev sanctioned on Friday the arrest of the country’s former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko. The move came during a court hearing on abuse of offices charges stemming from Tymoshenko signing a 2009 Russian-Ukrainian gas deal (these were secret negotiations with the Party of Regions for a grand coalition and a gas contract with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Although the contract played a positive role in removing RosUkrEnergo from the Ukrainian-Russian gas trade she has never explained why she agreed to such a higher base price for gas than that in western Europe or why the transit fees Russia pays would remain  frozen and market rates would not apply to them but only to the gas Russia sold Ukraine). About 30 police officers entered the courtroom to detain Tymoshenko after the judge announced the decision, according RIA NOVOSTI. Tymoshenko, the country’s top opposition leader, has criticized the trial as an attempt by President Viktor Yanukovychto bar her from elections and mocked the hearings. She has refused to rise when addressing the court, as required, and routinely insulted the judge. Her supporters have repeatedly disrupted hearings. Her supporters in court, including national lawmakers, squabbled with police, trying to prevent them from driving her away in a prison car and shouting: “Shame! Shame!”

Subsequent the ex-PM arrest, on the site of Yulia Timoshenko was posted a statement, personally written by ex-prime minister before the arrest:
‘I want to make a statement in connection with the implementation plan for my arrest. It is clear that this is a massacre with a political opponent, but I do not know.  I want to say that I have no inclination to suicide. What tricks are done with Kirpa and Kravchenko, they should not repeat. I will never finish his suicide. Everything I do – this is my struggle against the criminal regime of Ukraine by its rightful place in the world. Glory to Ukraine.Yulia Tymoshenko ‘.

For the common person getting behind the bars indicates the tragedy. But politicians in its mass – is not quite ordinary people.  For some of them, no matter how cynical it may sound, the prison cell is a catalyst for a career. And analysts seem to agree that the current session after the bars will be in benefit of Yulia Timoshenko.
In fact this is not the first experience of this kind for former Ukrainian prime minister. Tymoshenko has ever been in jail – she was in prison Lukyanovka in 2005, when she was charged with bribery in the $ 79 million by ex-Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko.  Then, Ukraine’s Supreme Court quashed all criminal charges and prosecution against Tymoshenko. Later she successfully returned to the forefront of Ukrainian politics, so that what appears today to be a defeat for gas princess could become a big problem in the future for leaders of power in Kiev.

A recent pools show widespread disenchantment with the authorities, including in the home base of the Party of Regions, at the direction Ukraine is going, high inflation, growing gulf between elites and the public and widespread perceptions that the authorities are helping the oligarchs and big business while  forcing small-medium businesspeople to pay higher taxes. Notice, just two month ago, ukrainianweek.com wrote: “Tymoshenko has greatest responsibility to prove she can learn from her mistakes as current opinion polls show that she could (if she is not given a suspended sentence or imprisoned and thereby allowed to stand) enter a second round in 2015. In the 2010 elections she lost by only 3%. Tymoshenko should not count on being elected by winning the support of Ukrainians who vote negatively against Yanukovych (which will be many more in 2015 than in 2010). Tymoshenko did not have a clear, pro-European platform in the 2010 elections and to win in 2015 would require her to analyse her mistakes in 2010 and earlier mistakes in permitting deputies to join BYuT who have defected. She also needs to stop referring to “revolution” and the Arab world. Ukraine is both not Russia and Egypt”. So, in 2012-2015, Ukraine will be in a transition between two elections and will resemble Ukraine in 2002-2004. The public mood by 2012-2015 though will be far more bitter than it was on the eve of the Orange Revolution.

UPDATE: 09.08.2011 – According euronews.com after the judge refused a third request to release Ukraine’s former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, scuffles broke out as special force officers clashed with Tymoshenko supporters who have vowed to continue their street protests.

UPDATE: 29.09.2011 – Ukraine’s former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko on Thursday denounced her trial as a “political lynching” as she gave her final statement in a process that could see her jailed for seven years. The statement coincides with a trip to Poland by her political rival President Viktor Yanukovych for meetings with EU leaders where the government is expect to come under huge pressure to end her trial and detention. “This trial is a classic case of political lynching,” said Tymoshenko. “No document has ever proved any guilt. They (the authorities) have falsified this entire affair,” she added.

UPDATE: 11 October 2011

KIEV, Ukraine — A Ukrainian court found former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko guilty of abuse of office Tuesday and sentenced her to seven years in prison in a case widely condemned in the West as politically motivated. She was found guilty of violating legal procedures during the signing of a natural gas import contract with Russia in 2009. According BBC, Tymoshenko, now the country’s top opposition leader, used her power as prime minister “for criminal ends and, acting consciously, committed actions which clearly exceeded the limits of rights and powers”  – Judge Kireyev said. Also Judge Rodion Kireyev said she caused damages of 1.5bn hryvna (£121m) on the national gas company by signing the contract with Moscow two years ago.

During a break before she was found guilty, Yulia Timoshenko said: “Whatever the verdict will be … I will continue my fight for Ukraine, for its European future. Nobody, not Yanukovych, not Kireyev, can humiliate my honest name. I have worked and will continue to work for Ukraine’s sake.” Yulia Timoshenko’s lawyers announced that they will appeal the sentence to the Supreme Court of Justice of Ukraine.

How will develop relations between Ukraine and its international partners is difficult to predict accurately. But certainly at this time Ukraine has a huge credibility problem. The United States and the European Union have condemned the trial as politically motivated, and Tymoshenko has dismissed the trial as persecution ordered by her longtime foe, President Viktor Yanukovych, to bar her from politics. The case has galvanized her supporters, who regularly held rowdy protests inside and outside the courthouse.

UPDATE: May 9 2012

According Reuters, “Ukraine’s jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, whose plight in prison has soured relations between the country’s leadership and the West, was moved to a local hospital on Wednesday in a high-security police convoy”. Remember that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich has faced growing criticism over the conviction of Tymoshenko – and the authorities’ refusal to let her travel abroad for treatment for chronic back pain. Tymoshenko repeated many times that she is the victim of a vendetta by Yanukovich who narrowly beat her for the presidency in February 2010. The European Union and the United States have condemned her trial and sentencing as politically motivated and called for her to be released.