One curious aspect of Yulia Tymosenko' criminal sentence was the ridiculously huge fine of $188 million that accompanied the 7 year stretch. It was set as reimbursement for alleged losses caused by the 2009 gas contract she had negotiated with Putin.
It's possible that she has this sort of cash salted away on some far and distant shore..but not in Ukraine, and not anywhere it would be easily accessible. So what happens if she does not pay the fine?
Imposition of such a gigantic financial penalty onto a single person seems slightly absurd, particularly as Tymoshenko was not accused of corruption or self-enrichment in the case against her, yet Yanukovych and his pals seem to take a different view. Maybe they think this was her under-the-table 'rake-off' from the 2009 gas deal?
Fuel and Energy minister Yuriy Boyko says the fine money is to be used to pay for Russian gas, [ho,ho, ho..] and Yanukovych himself, apparently raised the issue of a fine with Angela Merkel when the met a few days ago in Warsaw.
There have been a couple of unconfirmed reports that he caved in and agreed to Merkel's insistence he release Tymoshenko, but remained adamant Tymoshenko 'compensate the state' for the alleged $188 million loss. Merkel responded: "We're not in a market here where you can haggle!" and on this their conversation ended. Maybe she took this as a hint from Yanukovych she pays Tymoshenko's fine?
Yelena Bondarenko, a prominent PoR spokesperson, is of the opinion that if Tymoshenko doesn't pay up then she should serve her full sentence. "Decriminalisation is not amnesty...whoever is guilty of damage should either compensate the damage, or serve time".
I think the mercantile approach is revealing of Yanukovych's world view. Values, justice etc. count for nothing. Money and wealth, grabbing it, stealing it, taking it away from enemies, is everything. Just like in the gangster movies - throw them in the cellar until they get the money back.
Anyone who is mega rich in Ukraine [including Tymoshenko] made their money in the 'wild east' period - the early and mid nineties. If the country is to make any progress these people, who entered politics merely to protect their wealth and interests, have to sort out their differences and call a truce if the country is to make any progress.
The big dilemma for Yanukovych is that if he releases Tymoshenko now the chances of him and associates hanging on to wealth they themselves have amassed decreases markedly. It is dawning on them that they could be in big, big trouble in a year or two's time when their political fortunes fade and her's rise..Remember how they all bolted abroad after the O.R.? [This option may now be narrowing.] But the massive anti-Yanukovych bombardment from the West may yet turn out to be counterproductive..There has been a bit of a rally by PoR spokesmen today to protect the 'vozhd' from foreign critics...the UESU charges against her have been reanimated... and she is still behind bars..
Yanukovych today profoundly commented on the Tymoshenko affair thus: "If such a situation occurred in any other country, even the most democratic, no-one would be say anything there, [no-one would] even open their mouth"....but Ukraine is being examined "under a microscope."
Clearly this man 'knows his stuff'.
Maybe 'Lucky' Alex from Belarus has persuaded him being a pariah is not that bad after all..