Study finds Tymoshenko case viewed as political repression and personal revenge

According to a study carried out by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, an absolute majority of those asked see the prosecution of former Prime Minister and leader of BYUT, Yulia Tymoshenko as a demonstration of political repression and selective justice. Out of the 52 respondents 40 called the case repression, and not one viewed it as an example of just judicial proceedings.

Among reasons suggested for criminal proceedings against Yulia Tymoshenko, the most frequently mentioned was an attempt by those now in power to prevent her taking part in the next elections. Most also saw it as an attempt to deflect attention from current socio-economic problems, while at the same time placing the blame for problems on the previous government.

The 52 respondents who included prominent journalists, medial lawyers, human rights activists and political analysts,  were asked:


What in your opinion was the real reason for initiating criminal proceedings against Yulia Tymoshenko?  (mark all that you consider important)

1 – real misuse of power by Yulia Tymoshenko as Prime Minister


2 – the wish to prevent Tymoshenko taking part in the 2012 parliamentary elections


3 – the beginning of a real struggle by the present regime against corruption and misuse by public officials; demonstration that no position will save a person from the justice system


4 – intimidation of the opposition, the wish to tame it


5 – personal vendetta against Yulia Tymoshenko


6 – deflecting the public’s attention from economic problems, the wish to put the blame on the previous government


7 – others



The respondents gave a generally negative assessment of the likely consequences of the trial of Tymoshenko for the internal political situation in Ukraine. The overwhelming majority believe that this trial will lead to the collapse of the justice system and undermine people’s faith in it. Only one person expressed the opposite view.


Most viewed as negative the influence of the courts on democratic processes, linked with an increase in authoritarian trends. Only one person thought that democracy would become stronger as a result of the trial. There was a split regarding the likely influence of the trial on the development of civil society in Ukraine: some saw it leading to it becoming more active while others expected no significant impact.

An absolute majority are convinced that the trial will not have major consequences for the Party of the Regions Batkivshchyna and the opposition as a whole. However among those respondents who believed there was an influence, most think that the trial will lead to a fall in support for the ruling Party of the Regions and growth in support for the opposition Batkivshchyna Party (21 respondents) while at the same time a fall in the role of the opposition as a whole.


The effect on international relations was seen as being extremely negative. Not one respondent predicted any positive changes to Ukraine’s international image, the negotiations between Ukraine and the EU on signing an Agreement of Association; the investment climate; and the authority of the Ukrainian regime in the West. Only 3 respondents envisaged the possibility of an improvement of Ukraine’s standing in Russia.

Among other potential consequences of the trial of Yulia Tymoshenko, some respondents mentioned a worsening in relations with the West and an intensification of Ukraine’s isolation, as well as Ukraine’s moving further into Russia’s sphere of interests.

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