Borys Kushniruk

The more the date of the Vilnius summit approaches, the more grows the tension and uncertainty whether the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU will be signed there. And this is despite the fact that the strategic importance and need for this Agreement for Ukraine and the EU doesn’t arouse any doubts.

The reason of this uncertainty is in the absence of a compromise concerning conditions of release of the former prime minister of Ukraine Mrs. Tymoshenko.

Actually, leaders of the EU countries and Ukraine have made this stalemate themselves and they have no idea how to find the way-out which would be amicable for everyone.

Leaders of the European countries have entrapped themselves into the impasse by their categorical demands concerning Yuliya Tymoshenko’s release without any conditions, without understanding of everything connected with the court verdict pronounced to her.

Thus, as my experiment of communication with the western diplomats shows, the majority of them are skin-deep familiar with the essence of charges used as a basis for conviction of the former prime minister of Ukraine. And even less they know about the fact that the least serious charges were chosen out of the list of charges which were supposed to be brought against Yuliya Tymoshenko in connection with signing of the gas agreements of 2009.

Other charges would have to do not only with Mrs. Tymoshenko, but also with Gazprom officials. Not to say that it would be necessary to start thinking about bringing the incumbent president of Russia Vladimir Putin to criminal liability. Exactly resulting from Putin’s and Tymoshenko’s mutual arrangement, a decision was made to alienate 11 billion cubic meters of gas from the private company Rosukrenergo. This was a compound of the gas arrangements between prime ministers of Ukraine and Russia. Under the instruction of these high-ranking officials, Gazprom and Naftogaz additionally concluded imaginary agreements which is a crime not only in Ukraine and Russia, but also in the European Union countries. Not to mention such “trifles” as the fact that these imaginary agreements were signed backdating.

Later on illegality of these actions was recognized by the decision of the Stockholm Court House. As a result, Naftogaz was compelled to not only return illegally alienated gas, but also pay penalties with total amount of over billion dollars to the private structure. But due to political reasons this case wasn’t investigated by law enforcement agencies of Ukraine. Otherwise, it would create even greater tension in the relations with Russia.

Basically, it would be interesting for me to look at the reaction of European society and mass media if, for example, prime ministers of France and the Netherlands agreed to take property away from some private company without a court decision. And in order to do so, they forced heads of state corporations to sign imaginary agreements. It’s clear that it’s difficult to even imagine such a thing. But this is exactly what was done by Yuliya Tymoshenko and Vladimir Putin.

Also due to political reasons corruption component in connection with signing of these agreements extremely unprofitable for Ukraine wasn’t investigated. Although, considering the screaming incorrectness of the gas contract, it was supposed to be done, no matter would the documentary confirmation of similar suspicion be found or not. At least, Ukrainian law enforcement agencies were supposed to address corresponding authorities of the European countries and the US for legal assistance concerning the search of offshore accounts connected with Mrs. Tymoshenko, and check of flow of funds on them after January, 2009. And personally I have no doubts that they exist. By the way, I’m sure that the leaders of the European countries have no doubts about their existence as well.

But, again, political expediency prevailed formally legal grounds for investigation of the possible mercenary purposes of those agreements.

Another thing is that by charging the former prime minister only with exceeding powers, the Ukrainian authorities also brought themselves to the standstill. Because, as a matter of fact, the majority of heads of the governments of the European states, not to mention the European society, don’t understand all components of the committed offenses connected with signing of the gas agreements in January, 2009.

A considerable part of politicians in Europe consider charges against Yuliya Tymoshenko to be an attempt to eliminate her as a political opponent. It is clear that when we speak about charges from law enforcement agencies against a politician, who is simultaneously the leader of the greatest opposition party, there is always a basis to a thought that they have political grounds. And in this case they shouldn’t be excluded as well.

But if similar investigations and trials in relation to politicians aren’t carried out at all, doesn’t this generate extraordinary corruption in the state?

It is rather a rhetorical question. The answer can be easily found in Ukraine where over twenty years of independence (till 2011) there was conducted not one investigation or judicial penalty in relation to governmental officials for malfeasances. The only one person who was punished was Pavlo Lazarenko – the former prime minister and Yulia Tymoshenko’s business partner. But, as we know, he was convicted for money laundering not in Ukraine, but in the USA.

Taking into account an extreme importance of signing of the Association Agreement, I am the supporter of finding the mechanism which would allow Mrs. Tymoshenko to leave Ukraine for treatment, without further serving of punishment.

Because the question of strategic development of Ukraine and the whole Europe is at stake here. Divergence of views concerning the actions of one person shouldn’t seize hostage dozens of millions of Ukrainians and five hundred million citizens of the European Union.

But at the same time, European leaders should cease using categorical statements saying the politician is not guilty, because due to the conscious actions of this politician Ukraine bears multi-billion losses. Because this rhetoric brings them and the leadership of Ukraine to even greater deadlock.


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