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".