Leviy Bereg' Chief editor Sonya Koshkina writes about the "idiotic situation" into which the presidential administration has blundered by proceeding with the gas case against Yulia Tymoshenko, in a recent 'L.B.' article.
She describes four possible outcomes: full acquittal, a suspended sentence which would prevent Tymoshenko from standing for public office, a "light custodial sentence", or a full 7 to 10 year 'stretch'.
Full acquittal is most unlikely - she give the following reasons:
- The stupidity of the authorities in pursuing Tymoshenko would be fully exposed.
- Tymoshenko would again be a focus around which all 'anti-PoR' politicians could rally.
- Weakness of the authorities would be exposed to the electorate - reducing even further Yanukovych's fading popularity ratings.
- Weakness of the authorities would be revealed to other elites in the regions, and to members of the power structures, security services, police etc.
- The system of manual control of the court system by the authorities would be destroyed.
Tymoshenko's removal from the field of battle is the only way PoR's path would be clear to completely dominate Ukrainian politics [and probably turn Ukraine into yet another semi-authoritarian, 'managed democracy', post-Soviet state]. But any custodial sentence has a major drawback - it could well lead to dramatic economic consequences because of the chill in relations with the EU and the rest of the western world. These would hit all of Ukraine's citizens, rich and poor, and PoR are, if nothing else, a party of big business.
Meanwhile 'Front for Change' party leader Arseniy Yatseniuk, speaking to Kanal 5 TV recently, reckons the case against Yulia Tymoshenko is falling apart. He forecasts prosecutors "will be able, at most, to accuse Tymoshenko of negligence.... bring in a suspended sentence and [she will be granted] unconditional amnesty on Independence Day [with the possibility for Tymoshenko to run for parliament in the 2012 elections]". Like everyone else, he takes it as read that Tymoshenko will be found guilty as charged. Perhaps by suggesting such a 'get out of jail free' scheme he is trying to help Yanukovych ameliorate in some small way the damage that would be caused by full acquittal.
However, numerous blatant [deliberate?] procedural transgressions by the trial judge, mean inevitable appeals against a guilty verdict will be submitted to a higher court. Tymoshenko has not been permitted any defence attorney for several days now - astonishing in a case that could result in a 10 year jail sentence. And there are other cases pending against Tymoshenko which could be pulled out of the hat at any time ...