Monday, June 02, 2008

Political repression returning?

Minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko has not yet returned from his hastily-arranged visit to Moldova. On 29th May he was summoned to the Prosecutor-General's office, but, fearing arrest, is reluctant to return.

Lutsenko lawyers are even considering him claiming asylum in a neighbouring country on account of alleged political persecution by President's Secretariat, and its head Viktor Baloha.

Lutsenko, of course, was one of the top field generals during the Orange Revolution. Also in the firing line is one of Yushchenko's main financial sponsors prior to the O.R., Davyd Zhvanya, whose Ukrainian citizenship is now being queried. Other Tymoshenko associates are also being 'stepped on'. But how real is the threat of persecution of cabinet ministers by the President and his Secretariat?

Some observers and journalists are claiming with increasing frequency that political repression, akin to that which took place during Kuchma's period in office, may indeed be returning.

Serhiy Rakhmanin [who recently interviewed the PM on television] in an excellent piece in the current 'Dzerkalo Tyzhnya' says, "Several days ago the head of the cabinet publicly announced that repressions in the country have already started. Many dispute this, but there is logic in the premier's words. Furthermore, there is a feeling that this time Yulia Volodymyrivna is being completely sincere. People who have known her for a long time have noticed fear in Tymoshenko's eyes - a fear that was not there even in the days of the 'Ukraine without Kuchma' campaign. The same fear can also be felt in the words of Yuriy Lutsenko, whose natural fearlessness is currently in conflict with his instinct of self-preservation... Are there grounds to talk about repression, rather than a determination to establish legal order? Certainly there are."

Volodymyr Ariev, a former Channel 5 journalist and now a NS-nominated NUNS deputy, in a local TV broadcast in Lutsk, expressed similar thoughts: "Political ordered persecution and use of criminal cases at a particular moment is an indication of repression. Not in order to find the truth and determine fairness, as should be the case by law enforcement agencies, but rather at the required political moment. He also claimed that, "Many in the mass media do not want to interfere in the political fight, particularly at the central level, or they are prepared to take the money." He said that this is a problem even greater that the stories deliberately 'planted' in the mass media during Kuchma's period in office.

p.s. 'Segodnya' reports: "Bank Street [Pres's administration] loses hope for a 'broad coalition' but are considering dissolution of parliament"

It quotes a source from the secretariat: “Yes, earlier we calculated, that by June in NUNS more than half of the parliamentary fraction - 37 people, would agree to leave the coalition with BYuT and create 'broad' coalition with Party of Regions. However now there is practically no hope of this. We can't get the 37. At a maximum, even with large reservations, we can gather is 20-25. And it's unlikely this will change in the next months."

Therefore on Bank Street the opinion is strengthening that by Autumn is will be necessary to call for early elections. Tymoshenko will win, but the broad coalition will be able to be created. A reason to break up parliament can easily be orchestrated. For example its work can be blocked for a month, or the government can be dismissed. It won't be possible to create a new one in two months".

One of the leaders of Party of Regions told 'Segodnya' that he had heard talk of new early elections, but nevertheless considered: "Yushchenko will adhere to his promise, and sooner or later a minimum 50 NUNS deputies will be with us. But if the matter goes to elections, then we will not be against this".


Anonymous said...

Yes there is some truth to the statement that Julia\'s eyes show much tension. Recent TV footage of Yulia with Yushchenko very much showe3d the look of betrayal and disappointment in Yulia eyes. This footage came soon after Yukle shared a ride with the President from the Airport on his return from Canada. It was the look of a woman who knew she had been betrayed by her lover. It was a very telling sight and was not one of a confident united team leader

Anonymous said...

As many as 34% of people polled believe that Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is the biggest obstacle to the Cabinet of Ministers activities. 9% believe that the presidential secretariat and President Viktor Yushchenko create problems for Tymoshenko’s team.
At least the people arent being hoodwinked.............

elmer said...

Well, one small step forward - the Podilsky court dismissed the trumped up politically motivated criminal charges against Lutsenko.

It appears that some people think that the Prosecutor General's office has only one purpose - to prosecute inconvenient political enemies.

The idea was to bootstrap a slap in the face by Lutsenko in response to a kick in the knee by space cadet mayor of Kyiv Chernovetsky into an "official malfeasance."

This type of criminal charge would have posed immediate restrictions on Lutsenko's movement.

The Ukrainian court is right to dismiss this trumped-up case.

Here's a similar case from the US. A state legislator in Oklahoma was convicted of federal (US - not state law) campaign law violations (in the US, there are limits on how much any one individual can contribute; in Ukraine, noone knows how campaigns are financed, or where the money comes from, only that people buy their way on to party lists).

The Oklahoma State Pension Fund administrator determined that the state senator's violation of FEDERAL campaign laws somehow violated his STATE of Oklahoma official duties and oath.

This led to a determination to forfeit the state senator's state (not federal) pension.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court determined that the federal offenses and convictions had nothing to do with public service in state office or the state oath of office.

Opinions of virtually every state in the US are available over the Inernet for every citizen to see.

Opinions of the US Supreme Court

and federal district and appellate courts are also available over the Internet for all to see.

One small step forward in Ukraine......

Anonymous said...

Death by a thousand cuts

And in the meantime Yushchenko and his band of undemocratic cut throats continue to undermine Ukraine's parliamentary governance.

Bit by bit, be it the abuse of Presidential power to veto cabinet decisions, under the pretense that they are unconstitutional, or the deflection of a few disgruntled members of the governing coalition who have withdrawn their support for the government whilst retaining their position and parliamentary mandate.

Yushchenko and co are biding their time and in the process undermining Ukraine's economic and democratic development. Fresh elections may provide a clean sheet but the landscape will remain more of less the same.

Nothing much has changed in Ukrainian politics since 2004.

The vote for the Presidential election in the first two rounds being more or less the same as the last two Parliamentary elections. Yushchenko and this party Our Ukraine were the main cause for the collapse of the "Orange coalition" and the fall-out between coalition partners. The people involved then are the same players that are now seeking to undermine the so called democratic coalition.

As long as Yushchenko remains in office Ukraine will never be a true democracy. Yulia must but the bullet and call an end to the destructive devise game play of Yushchenko's team. She must push ahead for constitutional reform that would see |Ukraine become a full parliamentary democracy in line with other European states.

Constitutional reform should also include changes to Ukraine's method of parliamentary representation and fresh election for both head of state and the parliament should follow.

Any delay in adopting reform will only see the President once again in a position to arbitrarily dismiss Ukraine's democratically elected parliament and perpetuate Ukraine's' political instability.

Yushchenko is the problem not the solution.

Yulia should abandon any support for Yushchenko, whose political career is fast coming to an end.

There are more then enough sufficient grounds for Yushchenko's impeachment and if Yulia takes a stand she will secure the support of the other factions who have previously proposed such action.

Yulia must act now in the interest of Ukraine's democratic development.

Come the Fall, Yulia's options will be limited. Yushchenko will try and dismiss the parliament in order to prevent his demise and loss of power, power that he has and continues to misuse and abuse.