Tag Archives: Yulia Tymoshenko

Sunday Surprises – European&Ukraine elections, prayers and similar work – visits

Pope, Palestine, Prayers – the pacifist P….

Panoramic watching the events was a Sunday hectic and full of surprises. Pope Francis stopped his motorcade between scheduled events in Bethlehem on Sunday to pray before the massive concrete separation barrier that divides the Palestinian city from Israel, which erected the controversial wall a decade ago.

The surprise stop was the latest signal that the Pope backed what the Vatican had indicated in 2012 with its support for a United Nations vote to make Palbildeestine a non-member state: That it regards it as a sovereign state. In a speech earlier on Sunday the Pope called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas a “man of peace” after paying him a courtesy visit, and referred to the Vatican’s good relations with the “state of Palestine”.

According Time Magazine, Francis was scheduled to arrive in Jerusalem later on Sunday, and — in part because of official concerns about religious extremists, security preparations were extraordinary even by Israeli standards, outstripping even precautions taken for President Obama’s visit last year, according to organizers.

Pope’s Agenda for Monday includes deep bows to the Israeli narrative, including a visit to Yad Vashem, the museum of the Holocaust, and to the Wailing Wall, the last remaining piece of the Temple in place at the time of Christ. In a gesture that unsettles Palestinians, Francis will also be the first pontiff to lay a wreath on the grave of Theodore Herzl, the founder of the Zionist movement that envisioned a future state on the land hundreds of thousands of Arabs called home.

European Election, the sad E: Extremism & Euroscepticism, ‘Earthquake’ win

Marine Le Pen‘s far right National Front scored a stunning first victory in European Parliament elections in France on Sunday as critics of the European Union registered a continent-wide protest vote against austerity and mass unemployment. Cf. Reuters, without waiting for the final result, a somber French Prime Minister Manuel Valls went on television to call the breakthrough by the anti-immigration, anti-euro party in one of the EU’s founding nations “an earthquake” for France and Europe.People watch a board displaying provisional results of the European Parliament election at the EU Parliament in Brussels

Denmark‘s anti-immigration far right People’s Party was set to top the poll with an estimated 23 percent and the extreme-right Jobbik, widely accused of racism and anti-Semitism, was running second in Hungary with 15 percent.

The UK Independence Party (UKIP), which campaigns for Britain to leave the EU, was set for a strong score after making big gains in local elections held at the same time on Thursday, raising pressure on Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron ahead of a general election next year.

The anti-euro Alternative for Germany (AfD) won parliamentary representation for the first time with an estimated 6.5 percent, the best result so far for a conservative party created only last year. In Greece, epicenter of the euro zone’s debt crisis, the radical left anti-austerity Syriza movement of Alexis Tsipras was set to win with 26.7 percent, pushing governing New Democracy into second place on 22.8 percent. That reflected popular anger at harsh spending cuts the government has adopted in recent years to meet the terms of its EU/IMF bailout program. It means that far right and hard left parties, their scores magnified by a low turnout of 43.1 percent, gained ground in many countries although in Germany, the EU’s biggest member state with the largest number of seats, the pro-European center ground held firm, according to exit polls.

Ukraine: again P, winner P… Petro Poroshenko wins  presidency

Because we speak about election… Exit polls suggested candy tycoon Petro Poroshenko won Ukraine’s presidential election in the first round Sunday, a ballot that took place amid weeks of fighting in eastern regions where pro-Russia separatists have seized government buildings and battled government troops.

Exit polls gave Poroshenko more than 55 percent of the vote, well ahead of petro_poroshenkoformer Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in second place with just over 12 percent. “I would like to congratulate Ukraine with the fact that despite the current aggression by the Kremlin and the desire to break this voting, the election happened and was democratic and fair” Tymoshenko said after the polls closed. If Poroshenko majority is confirmed by results on Monday, there will be no need for a runoff vote on June 15.

Cf. Reuters, Russian president Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that he will respect the voters’ will. He has announced the pullback of tens of thousands of Russian troops massed on the border. But the absence of more than 15 percent of the potential electorate from the election could give Moscow an excuse to raise doubts about the victor’s legitimacy and continue applying pressure on the new president in Kiev.

The White House – two similar surprise work – visits

Leaders of the two White House from Washington and Moscow (government headquarters) have spent Sunday making surprise visits. One – President Barack Obama in Afghanistan. Second – Prim-minister Dmitry Medvedev in Crimea.

President-Obama-in-Afghanistan_5_1President Barack Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan on Sunday, his first visit to Afghanistan in two years and his fourth trip as president overall, and pledged a “responsible end” to the war there by the end of 2014. During the visit, Obama spoke to troops, visited a base hospital and met with military officials to discuss troop presence in Afghanistan as the country’s longest war comes to a close. Also Obama said on Sunday that his administration would likely announce soon how many troops the United States will keep in the country, as it winds down its presence after nearly 13 years of war.

Speaking at a briefing by military commanders at Bagram Air Base, Obama said one reason for his trip was to discuss the U.S. footprint for the rest of this year – when the bulk of troops are scheduled to be withdrawn – and afterward. “We’ll probably be announcing some decisions fairly shortly” said US president.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has arrived Sunday in Crimea for a Dmitry Medvedevtwo-day working trip. It will be Medvedev’s second trip to Crimea since Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula in March in a move that has not been recognized internationally.
Medvedev was expected to visit immigration offices in the city of Sevastopol, where Russian passports are being issued to local residents. Medvedev’s office said he will also visit the Artek children’s center on the Black Sea on May 26.

Medvedev will then chair a meeting to discuss a plan for organizing children’s vacations. Russian prime minister will hold a traditional meeting with his deputies on Monday, visit the Olympic sport center “Spartak” and meet with Crimea’s acting Governor Sergei Aksyonov.

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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.

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.