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11 June, 2013 13:00   ▪  

Brookings Institution: how badly Yanukovych wants his European vector should become clear this fall

In the next months Viktor Yanukovych faces a decision point concerning Ukraine`s geopolitical choice, argues Brookings Institution, American analytical institute.

“So is Yanukovych prepared to do something on Tymoshenko that would unblock the path to signing the association agreement? Perhaps, though before becoming too hopeful, we should remember that this could be a movie that we have seen before,” claims the institute.

“Following Tymoshenko’s arrest and trial in August 2011, and the ensuing storm of criticism from Europe and the United States, Ukrainian parliamentary deputies proposed that the legal code be amended. They suggested dropping the abuse of power article that had provided the basis for her trial. That seemed like an elegant way out of the mess. At a September 2011 conference in Yalta, Yanukovych himself alluded to the possibility of amending the outdated code. In a lengthy conversation with Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele on the margins of the conference, Yanukovych left the two believing that he would support such parliamentary action. Optimism grew that Kyiv might find a way to release Tymoshenko. But Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, which controlled a majority of seats in the parliament, did nothing to remove the relevant article. Tymoshenko was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison.”

“Yanukovych faces a decision point in the next months. EU diplomats have said that, if the association agreement is not signed in November, it will move to the EU backburner until the second half of 2015. Letting Tymoshenko languish in prison thus could well cause Yanukovych to miss the opportunity to sign the agreement and claim the mantle of the person who brought Ukraine into Europe. How badly Yanukovych wants his European vector should become clear this fall,” write Brookings Institution’s experts. 

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