European integration is in full swing in Ukraine, but the opposition increasingly reminds about the fate of Yulia Tymoshenko. Debates on the ex-Premier never stopped, but now the opposition names specific dates of her release, which, put in mildly, sets wondering political forces not only in Ukraine, but also abroad.  

The high-profile appeal of Cox-Kwasniewski on Tymoshenko's pardon, however, has not been supported by European political quarters, and the attempt to collect signatures to this document within Ukraine has failed as well - only 170 signatures. It seems that the closer the signing of the Association agreement comes, the more evident the real state of affairs regarding Tymoshenko's political weigh appears.

Opposition's pressure on "Tymoshenko case" intensified right after Cox and Kwasniewski appealed to the President of Ukraine with a request to pardon the ex-Premier. Now "Motherland" leader Arseniy Yatseniuk estimates her chances for release as very high - by the end of this week. Leader of the "Freedom" faction Oleh Tyagnybok agrees with the colleague. They "logically" deduce that the signing of the Association agreement depends on where Tymoshenko will find herself within the next days: in the hospital of "Ukrzalizhnytsya" or in "Charite" clinic. 

However, the cause-and-effect link is not so clear. Chairman of the parliamentary committee on national security and ex-speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn said on air that the EU might prefer to postpone the consideration of "Tymoshenko case" to the stage of ratification of the agreement.

It seems logical, as consideration of such important and complicated issue as integration cannot depend on a fate of one person, but at the same time the leverage over Kyiv remains. And there are no doubts that this leverage will be used one day by certain European politicians, and the fact that the list of countries insisting on Tymoshenko's release expands is a proof of it. Now it is not only Germany, Italy and Poland, but Austria as well. Nevertheless, no new appeals have been put forward yet.

In Ukraine such appeals are even fewer. In fact, you get the impression that European politicians care about Tymoshenko more than her own colleagues. And Regionals are genuinely puzzled by the situation. In particular, leader of the Party of Regions faction Oleksandr Yefremov noted that before announcing something Arseniy Yatseniuk should have explained how to do it. Chairman of the parliamentary regulatory committee Volodymyr Makeyenko wonders as well. "I heard some statements during the Coordination board sitting, but this morning, when I came to work and checked by table, there were no relevant projects submitted. Not even one!"

Considering such strange behavior of the opposition, Oleksandr Yerfemov has hit upon an idea that Tymoshenko's colleagues do not really want her release, but only treatment abroad without legal rehabilitation. However, it is not the perfect solution as well. First of all, even convicted, but set at relative liberty Tymoshenko can embitter Yatseniuk's life anyway. Now he is the real leader of "Motherland" and a probable candidate for presidency, but with pardoned Tymoshenko Yatseniuk risks to lose his status. Back in June, during the unification congress of "Front of changes" and "Motherland", many members were surprised by the harsh tone of the address, read out loud by Yuri Lutsenko, who just returned to big politics. Moreover, many members thought the address was Tymoshenko's strong-worded criticism against Arseniy Yatseniuk himself. Imagine what she would say to him in person... By the way, have you noticed that Yatseniuk does not hurry to visit Yulia Tymoshenko? Moreover, for the last several months he has been trying, as far as possible, to get rid of the role of Tymoshenko's alter ego, and a halt in demands to release the Leader is a good proof of it.

Secondly, Tymoshenko's release may break up the united opposition. For the moment there is the triple alliance, which does not impede either Oleh Tyagnybok or Vitaly Klichko to run for presidency, though they prefer not to discuss it in public. But if the ex-Premier is released (either pardoned or legally rehabilitated), leaders of "Freedom" and "UDAR" will have difficulties with independence of their images. To vanish in the halo of "martyr of regime" is of no use for them, while neighbouring with Yatseniuk allows them to create independent images.

Nevertheless, we cannot say that the opposition does nothing to release its Symbol. There have been several solutions proposed, including an act of pardon, court decision, special decision of the Penitentiary Administration or Justice Ministry, decriminalization of "Tymoshenko articles" or adoption of other laws, which can make Tymoshenko go free. 

However, all these variants caused rather skeptical reaction of the first deputy chairman of the parliamentary committee on legal policy Volodymyr Oliynyk. "Europe cooperates, Cox and Kwasniewski make efforts, Ukraine's authorities seek variants, and the only person who does absolutely nothing is Yulia Tymoshenko herself. The society still does not understand what this disease she has really is and why it cannot be treated in Ukraine. May be it is called "an attempt to avoid responsibility"? Let's be honest before people. If regular people refuse to come to court, legal services forcefully bring them there. Then why is Tymoshenko allowed to ignore the rules? What kind of politician is she if she believes there are two classes of people: untouchable politicians (in power or opposition), who can do whatever they want, and common citizens, who must observe the laws these very politicians invented? Moreover, Oliynyk also doubts that the signing of the Association agreement will somehow depend on Tymoshenko's release.  

In turn, leader of the Party of Regions faction Oleksandr Yefremov reminded that the ex-Premier is involved into a number of criminal proceedings, including liability for damages before the state. The proceedings are ongoing and even if there are variants to adopt individual laws on this issue, it is not the task of the parliamentary majority to work them out, while the opposition does not offer any initiative. Why? See above.

And still, the key conditions to settle "Tymoshenko issue" include a personal appeal of Yulia Tymoshenko to Viktor Yanukovych. In particular, MP Anna Herman said on air of radio "Liberty" that if the ex-Premier sent a personal appeal, the President would be able to submit some draft bill to the parliament and settle the issue at the legislative level.

However, with the personal appeal to the President Yulia Tymoshenko will taint her image of a "political prisoner", as she will have to admit her guilt and will remain convicted. Therefore, the ex-Premier intends to continue her political career, and her consent to the variant of treatment aboard is just a temporary fall upon successive prepared positions. Moreover, without the personal appeal, the efforts of all politicians, struggling for Tymoshenko's release, will be lost. So, what do ex-Premier and her colleagues really want? And what if their goals differ? The opposition would rather have its undying symbol, which does not impede to make own political careers, while Tymoshenko would be happy with relative security to deal with her true jailers first.

Meantime, reproaches of the ruling party have had effect. On Wednesday, October 9, Tymoshenko's defense lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko declared that Yulia Tymoshenko had repeatedly appealed the verdict on "gas case" in the Supreme Court. However, Vlasenko noted that it had been done to prove "the problem of selective justice in Ukraine". Thus, Tymoshenko does not simply want to stop her rather comfortable imprisonment in the hospital as a convict, but aims at complete legal rehabilitation. And it is not exactly what Cox and Kwasniewski insisted on. It seems that the ex-Premier hopes for...negative decision of the Supreme Court, which will confirm and "refresh" her status of a "political prisoner". Thus, the signatures of her colleagues to the petition on pardon become useless.

Lilia Brudnytska


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