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Economist: The Ukrainian government is losing two PR battles

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June 26, 2012, 7:22 p.m. | Ukraine abroad — by Economist

On June 26th, Jailed Yulia Tymoshenko's appeal against the seven-year sentence she is currently serving, for abuse of office in negotiating a gas deal with Russia in 2009, was up for consideration in Kyiv.
© AFP

The Ukrainian government is not good at PR. This week has seen another blunder, as Yulia Tymoshenko was summoned to two court hearings on the two days' break in Euro 2012. The jailing of the former prime minister and de facto opposition leader has already led many European politicians to boycott matches in the football tournament that Ukraine is co-hosting with Poland.

A hearing was scheduled on June 25th in Kharkiv in a separate case, for tax evasion involving Ms Tymoshenko's former company, United Energy Systems of Ukraine. On June 26th, Ms Tymoshenko's appeal against the seven-year sentence she is currently serving, for abuse of office in negotiating a gas deal with Russia in 2009, was up for consideration in Kyiv.

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Brunislav June 26, 2012, 7:49 p.m.    

The allegation that Tymoshenko's private company owed the Russian Ministry of Defense about 400,000 dollars at least finally begins to get into specifics about the former prime minister's corruption while in office. Too often I've only heard vague remarks that since she was involved in the gas industry in the 1990s she must have been involved in corruption at one time or another. It all just seems too speculative and unsubstantial.
If there's any evidence to back up this allegation it would be quite interesting. In the end I'm left wondering though--400,000 dollars? That doesn't really amount to a hill of beans for the Russian Ministry of Defense. A single airplane costs at least twice as much if not more. Why take such a risk over such a small debt?

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dave June 27, 2012, 6:49 p.m.    

brother, it's not 400 thousand dollars that Tymoshenko's company owed the Russians, it's 400 MILLION dollars. The charges are that she tried to get this debt covered by Ukraine's government budget. In US or UK, even the best-connected thieves could never dream to steal nearly so much as Ukrainian officials in the 1990s...

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IvanovPetrovSidorov June 28, 2012, 2:08 p.m.    

She may be a more progressive politician than those currently in government, but if she has skeletons in the cupboard, she must come clean of them. Too many politicians bang on about morals when they fall foul of the law, yet try to hide their own sins behind the veil of legality when it suits them.

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bernardh June 28, 2012, 2:42 p.m.    

Well, here are some research questions before you jump to conclusions about the alleged UESU debt:
1/ When and how did the alleged debt emerge?
2/ Is Tymoshenko mentioned at all in the letter from the Russian ministry of defense?
3/ Does the Russian ministry of defense make any claims to the Ukrainain government to pay the alleged debt?
4/ what exactly is the allegedly criminal act by Tymoshenko?

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