EU-Ukraine relations

Chairperson of the Institute of Ukrainian Policy Kost Bondarenko in his article Ukraine: Isolation is not the way forward (EurActiv, November,8) argues that Tymoshenko trial is purely criminal case without any politics. He writes that for the EU would be a mistake to isolate Ukraine because of imprisonment of former premier and opposition leader.

It is typical example of Ukrainian official propaganda. Mr. Bondarenko is well known as its mouthpiece.

I would like to make just few remarks.

First of all, it is no sense to discuss about legal details of Tymoshenko trial. It is like to discuss about political prisoners in Belarus – are they guilty or not? It is quite clear that Tymoshenko trial is politically motivated. Her imprisonment is part of president Yanukovych’s strategy on cleaning of Ukrainian political field before future parliamentary and presidential elections – to provide himself long and happy ruling. Europe’s estimations of this trial are impartial and vast majority of the Ukrainians have the same vision.

Of course, isolation is not way forward. However, this appeal should be addressed to Mr. Yanukovych, not to the EU. Tymoshenko trial just became a catalyzer for present problems, but not only reason of them. There is systematic strengthening of the authoritarianism in Ukraine, suppression of democracy and freedoms during last one and half year. There are unprecedented violations of human rights and rule of law. There are clear intentions to adopt manipulative electoral legislation for the next parliamentary elections which would provide victorious results for Yanukovich’s Party of region. And, indeed, there are not real economic reforms in Ukraine – there are legislative actions in the interests of business-groups allied with Yanukovych’s regime.

It is not way to the European future, but path to the dictatorship. There are big doubts that possible conclusion of the negotiations on Association agreement ( even if the EU would close its eyes on Tymoshenko trial) could be real lever to influence on Ukrainian authority. Seems Mr. Yanukovych has made his choice and is not going to stop.

What the EU should do now or what it can do? It looks like questions without ready answers for the moment. What is clear – Europe really should not isolate Ukraine. In the same time, the EU should definitely distinquish between Ukraine and Mr Yanukovych. Like in the case with Belarus’ and Mr. Lukashenko.

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