An Open Address of Ukrainian Intellectuals In Defense of Yulia Tymoshenko
The absurdity of and political motives behind the charges brought against Ms. Tymoshenko are obvious
On 15 December 2010, democracy in Ukraine suffered a cruel blow. On this day, political persecutions acquired a new character and a threatening scale. Freedom was crushed. The dictatorship of the Party of Regions showed its true face. Until then the Yanukovych team tried to scare the opposition and civil society with quiet repressions and arrests. The Prosecutor General’s Office brought charges against Yulia Tymoshenko, leader of the Fatherland party who received 12 million votes from Ukrainian citizens in the most recent presidential election. By doing so the government has shown a bold intention to eliminate the real opposition and move toward authoritarian rule in the state.
The absurdity of and political motives behind the charges brought against Ms. Tymoshenko are obvious.
The criminal case opened against her rests on one and only accusation that she allegedly used the money received from the sale of greenhouse gas quotas in order to pay pensions at the peak of an economic crisis. Even though the State Treasury confirms that all these sums, to the last kopiika, are still on its accounts, the authorities are threatening Ms. Tymoshenko with 7 to 10 years in prison.
It is a clear case: Viktor Yanukovych must have told Viktor Pshonka, his close friend and at the same time Prosecutor General of Ukraine, to open a criminal case against Ms. Tymoshenko in order to keep the leader of the Fatherland party from political activity and destroy the opposition. Mr. Yanukovych realizes that Ms. Tymoshenko will be his main rival in the next parliamentary and presidential elections and that she is the embodiment of real resistance against the anti-Ukrainian and anti-democratic policy pursued by the current government.
The Ukrainian people have bitter, tragic experience of being under the “infallible” Lenin-Stalinist regime. We remember that the destruction of freedom and political alternatives brought lawlessness, poverty, killer famines, Russification, humiliation of dignity and spirituality, etc.
Today we are on the verge of seeing all the 20th-century experiences begin to repeat themselves. Again, one party rules; political pressure is being put on society and the mass media; the opposition is being persecuted; lawlessness and corruption are thriving; the government is abandoning national interests and undermining Ukrainian identity and the independence of the Ukrainian state. The violent beating of the Fatherland party MPs in the Verkhovna Rada by the Party of Regions parliamentarians is additional proof that the Regionals are acting like invaders in Ukraine.
We demand that the president of Ukraine immediately put an end to the political repressions, expel bandit MPs from his inner circle, and secure democracy, legality and respect for human rights in the country. We demand an end to the political persecutions of Yulia Tymoshenko, leader of the opposition and head of the Fatherland party.