KyivPost

Free Tymoshenko, drop charges

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Aug. 7, 2011, 2:46 p.m. | Editorial — by Editorial

When heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, the Russian Federation and numerous other governments are all saying the same thing – that the Aug. 5 arrest of ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko appears to be unjustified and that the charges against her smack of political persecution – it’s a clear signal to Ukrainian authorities to reverse their misguided ways.

Before President Viktor Yanukovych makes a complete fool of himself on the international stage, he should break off his Crimean vacation and issue two orders right away: Release Tymoshenko from jail and drop all the criminal charges against her.

Then Yanukovych - who has monopolized political power and has tremendous influence over all branches of government - should publicly rebuke the judge who, overnight on Aug 7, issued an order banning peaceful demonstrations. Such a ruling clearly tramples on the basic rights guaranteed by Ukraine’s constitution.

As officials from the European Union, US and beyond say, the issue is not about liking or not liking Tymoshenko, who now faces contempt-of-court charges in addition to her ongoing trial on charges of abusing her authority as prime minister in reaching a 2009 gas deal with Russia. Testimony resumes in the trial on Aug. 8.

The issues today are much bigger than the fate of one flawed, but courageous politician who has tirelessly called attention to the alleged pilfering of the nation by those in power. At stake is Ukraine’s future as a democracy, the future of fair trials and the constitutional right to hold peaceful demonstrations.

Despite the administration’s contention that the courts and judges are independent and cannot be influenced politically, everyone knows that is not the case. In fact, the opposite is true. Politicians, most of all Yanukovych's administration, control the courts. The Ukrainian system of appointing and removing judges is a case study in the formation of kangaroo courts.

The trial against Tymoshenko has been one more exhibit in this sad spectacle of injustice. About two weeks into the month-long trial, the court banned televised coverage of the proceedings. We suspect the order came because Tymoshenko was doing a good job of showing the silliness of the charges against her.

The accusations have never made much sense – that she, as prime minister illegally reached a 2009 natural gas supply contract with Russia to end a three-week crisis that threatened to freeze Europe in the dead of winter.. Any violations Tymoshenko committed seem more procedural than criminal, although she should have made all details of the agreement public at the time.

Where were the other leaders then? Ex-President Viktor Yushchenko was, as we know now from trial testimony and other sources, playing an obstructionist role. Yushchenko stands accused of sabotaging a gas agreement with lower import prices that Tymoshenko's government had nearly signed late in 2008, and of lobbying the interests of RosUkrEnergo, the controversial gas trading intermediary that for years made billions of dollars from energy deals among Ukraine, Russia and Central Asia. Yanukovych, then firing his own political darts from opposition, has long been aligned with RosUkrEnergo’s interests.

Moreover, the judge presiding over the Tymoshenko case has denied her requests to call key witnesses, such as state energy monopoly Naftogaz's auditor, Ernst & Young, and members of her government. The judge has also not given her defense attorneys adequate time to prepare.


Add it all up and Judge Rodion Kireyev’s rulings signal that a railroaded guilty verdict is ahead, one that would make Tymoshenko ineligible as a convicted felon to challenge Yanukovych and the Party of Regions in future elections. Just in case these spurious charges don’t pan out, however, prosecutors are busily lining up new ones to fall back on.

It was welcome to see Klitschko, the heavyweight boxing champion, come out so swiftly and forcefully in Tymoshenko’s defense. He has vast popularity that cuts across political lines. His support should help shift public opinion. Klitschko cut short his training in Austria for a Sept. 10 title defense to return to Ukraine.

“When I learned what had happened in Ukraine, I stopped training for the fight and returned to Kyiv. As far as I understand, a real battle for democratic values is unfolding here – in Ukraine. I cannot be an observer in this situation,” Vitali wrote on his blog in Ukrainska Pravda. “Tymoshenko ended up behind bars on the eve of Ukraine’s independence.”

The Russian Federation has its own twisted motives for siding with Tymoshenko. The Kremlin wants the 2009 gas agreements seen as legitimate because it doesn’t want state-controlled Gazprom to give in to the Yanukovych administration’s demands for lower prices. But truly Russian leaders are playing their usual game of wanting to see a Ukrainian president weak and isolated.

Western governments are almost unanimous in viewing what is happening to Tymoshenko as unjustified, if not entirely farcical.

The Yanukovych administration has, since taking power on Feb. 25, 2010, consistently eroded the democratic underpinnings of the nation – from stacking courts, to unconstitutionally changing the constitution and holding a flawed regional election. The courts, legislature and much of the media are now subservient to Yanukovych. Tymoshenko represents the strongest remaining example of independent political thought and action, and now she is on the ropes.

Ukraine's Western friends have taken a stand through statements, but need to increase pressure on Yanukovych in the coming days, weeks and months.

But the real question, which will start to be answered when the trial resumes on Aug. 8, is: What are Ukrainians going to do about it? Stand up and fight for democracy? Or let these injustices spread until authoritarianism is as firmly rooted in Ukraine as it is in Belarus and Russia today?

Click here to read this Kyiv Post editorial in Ukrainian language on www.kyivpost.ua.

The Kyiv Post is hosting comments to foster lively debate. Criticism is fine, but stick to the issues. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks will be removed from the site. If you think that a posted comment violates these standards, please flag it and alert us. We will take steps to block violators.
Anonymous Aug. 7, 2011, 4:03 p.m.    

Well stated.

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Anonymous Aug. 7, 2011, 4:20 p.m.    

Excellent Article !

Yanuconvict should be the one going to jail immediately for life !

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Anonymous Aug. 7, 2011, 5:07 p.m.    

Outstanding article!! KP has a home run with this one analysis!

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Anonymous Aug. 7, 2011, 5:09 p.m.    

A well balanced and accurate article.

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Anonymous Aug. 7, 2011, 5:17 p.m.    

People of Ukraine: Listen to this article. Wake up from your slumber and fight to protect your democracy NOW !

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Anonymous Aug. 7, 2011, 5:24 p.m.    

A call to arms requires a leader. Will it be Klitchko? Yuliya's a victim here but she's not really a solution to the current problem. Someone needs to stand up and speak for all the repressed people, someone new, someone who can be a leader not just a cult of personality who is populist. In a country of so many educated people, why limit choice between a bad candidate and a worse candidate, seriously.

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Anonymous Aug. 7, 2011, 5:30 p.m.    

The Ukrainian system of appointing and removing judges is a case study in the formation of kangaroo courts.

Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/opinion/editorial/detail/110291/#ixzz1ULyqVbXw

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Anonymous Aug. 7, 2011, 5:33 p.m.    

Vitali wrote on his blog in Ukrainska Pravda. “Tymoshenko ended up behind bars on the eve of Ukraine’s independence.”

Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/opinion/editorial/detail/110291/20/page/1/#comments#ixzz1ULzMSAyr

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Anonymous Aug. 7, 2011, 6:48 p.m.    

Thief oligarch Tymoshenko is untruly criminal.

Her detention for Contempt of Court is correct.

No Court of Justice in any civilized country in the World is going to suffer likes of Tymoshenko lack of attitude and hooliganism in Court.

The Ukraine Court of Justice was too patient with her. If she try this kind of behavior in US Court, she will spent her time in the slammer.

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Anonymous Aug. 7, 2011, 7:09 p.m.    

Yanuks whole gov't is Contempt of Constitution....

illegal and rigged voting,,,proven

illegal passing of votes in Rada......

Yanuk signs these votes into law,,,,illegally.....

illegal appointment of judges.....

illegally changing Constitution....

etc.....

This is all done by ILLEGAL PIANO VOTING....

How can you even call this a &quot;Ukraine Court of Justice&quot;??

The real criminals are those Rada members who know how to push a lot of buttons.......

Julia is a smoke screen,,but I love it,,,,because Yanuk finally shot himself in the foot !!!

Now, the people are waking up....!

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Anonymous Aug. 7, 2011, 8:02 p.m.    

She is not accused of thievery!!! If you have evidence that she is , please present it to the authorities and not gossip like ignorant peasant.

No Court of Justice in any civilized country is appointed by the president like it is in Ukraine. Its called kangaroo court! Any self respecting politician should condemn such illegitimate institution and refuse to abide by its dictated from above law.

There is no independent Court of Justice in Ukraine no matter how much Yanukovych criminal elements are trying to convince the rest of world.

The very legitimacy of current president is questionable either! When he was elected in the presidential seat it was under 2004 constitution mandate. He brazenly changed the constitution without the approval of the people to constitution of 1994, when president had more power then the parliament.

He is illegitimate president, importer, recidivist with two criminal records for robbery and rape.

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Anonymous Aug. 7, 2011, 7:14 p.m.    

Great article , Brian.

A word about illegal piano voting,,,would have given your story, added flavor.

bk

Bless Ukraine!

.

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Anonymous Aug. 7, 2011, 7:23 p.m.    

Tymoshenko is a heroine to stand up to the totalitarian oppression of Yanykovych. The ByT with Tymoshenko as their leader is the only party capable of defeating the totalitarian regime of Yanukovych and he knows it. Now that his fake court persecution has fallen apart he has arrested Tymoshenko. Yanukovych blatently disregards the Ukrainian constitution himself and falsely applies the constitution to terrorize and persecute the opposition. Yanukovych will become anothe absolute ruler such as Ghadaffi if he is not stopped.

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Anonymous Aug. 7, 2011, 8:13 p.m.    

Who wrote this op-ed a flunky at freedom outhouse.Stand firm mr.president if you turn back now these vultures will eat you alive.There can be no turning back at this point bring in milita riot units bring in army troops whatever it takes but maintain order.Finish the trial, convict her and send her to prison as a warning to other thieves.To hell with world opinion mr.president you are in a fight for survival.

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Anonymous Aug. 7, 2011, 8:31 p.m.    

Criminal occupation. History of the Party of Regions, Ukraine (2007)

http://video.i.ua/user/613823/8535/252016/

Read more:

http://www.kyivpost.com/news/politics/detail/110264/50/page/1/#comments#ixzz1UMhd7lPW

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Anonymous Aug. 7, 2011, 8:44 p.m.    

Traitor Moskals and their collaborators OUT OF UKRAINE!

Anti-Ukrainian Bandits = POR must be made to pay for their genocide!

Bandits to Jail this time! No AMNESTY this time!!!

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Anonymous Aug. 7, 2011, 10:40 p.m.    

I could be wrong......

But I thought Stalin was dead,,,,how did he post this???

Unbelievable....!!

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Anonymous Aug. 7, 2011, 8:47 p.m.    

Yanukovich is a convicted felon. Did not keep him from holding public office.

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Anonymous Aug. 7, 2011, 10:29 p.m.    

Not only did it not keep this thug out of office,,,,but he has a

truck load of other like minded criminals in the VR backing him.

There needs to be a true revolution in Ukraine. When the dust clears....Ukrainians will be in charge of their own country...not these sovok bandits who only care for their own pockets.

These events are going to isolate Ukraine. But this will be just another hurdle Ukraine will overcome on its road to a great destiny.

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 2:14 a.m.    

How can I, as a foreigner observing this little kerfuffle believe anyone? It's a well known fact that most politicians are thieving animals to begin with. Why would Yulia Timoshenko be any different? What she did in the past is well known. Why do you Ukrainians take sides with any of the people who run your country? What do you expect? What do the people of Ukraine get?

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 2:36 a.m.    

The substantive charges are without substance. Hoever she is currently detained for contempt. All she has to do is apologise for tweeting whithin the court. Its a bit like chewing gum. Yes tghere are other aspects of this case that are counter productive to Ukraine. This issue couold have been better served if their was a parliamnetary inquiry. If the inquiry recomneded charges of corruption then she should face trial. As it stands the charges are of a disputable fact. Of greater concern is lutsenko.

If anyone should face trial and prosecution for misuse and abuse of office it is Yushchenko. Why is Yushchenko not being held to account for his actions?

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 2:46 a.m.    

&quot;Russian leaders are playing their usual game of wanting to see a Ukrainian president weak and isolated.&quot;

Is this not what the US has been doing ikn the regions. They backed the so called Orange revolution and supported Yushchenko opposition to Ukraine becoming a democratoc state and his efforts o destabelise Ukraine. The US wanted a ununified Ukraine. Divide and conquer.

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 2:56 a.m.    

Yanukovych is living an a fools political paradise. He had pumped more oxegen into Tymoshcenkos carcus giving her a second political life.

Even if Tymoshenko cynically is denied the right to stand in the next parliamnetary election it will not assist Yanukoych's campaign. Tymoshenko will still be a force to be rekoned with, but even more powerful.

Yanukovych made a better Prime Minister then he has a President. He only won both positions thanks to Yushchenko. First when Yushchenko refused to support the formation of an Orange coalition back in 2006 and second when Yushchenko, having lost office, supported Yanukovych to be elected. The price for this support was his immunity from prosection. If anyone should be prosecuted or misuse and abuse of office it is Yushchenko. Ukraine's most disliked President. The man who betrayed Ukraine and democracy itself.

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 3:24 a.m.    

Rare video footage of Yulia and Victor in the early days:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFLLw7JcU74

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 4:29 a.m.    

Tymoshenko will be freed, upon orders from Putin and Medvedev. Yanukovych is overruled.

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 9:05 a.m.    

What Faustian deal with Russia did her inner circle cut this weekend, to get those two humanitarians to get behind her. So much for being pro-western and independent. Or caring about anyone except herself. When she's free she'll start talking pro western again in order to mobilize her voting base. But she'll owe Russia some big hidden debt that they will call someday. It's all rubbish.

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 5:40 p.m.    

Soooo pathetic that it's funny and sooooo true :):)

Thanks for that post !

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 8:04 a.m.    

Thank you, Kyiv Post.

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 9:49 a.m.    

&quot;Thank you, Kyiv Post.&quot;

For making my IQ shrink :D

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 4:42 p.m.    

Your IQ is already at rock bottom!

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 9:14 a.m.    

Well, neither Yanukovich nor Timoshenko is saint. But we have to be honest: Also Timoshenko is not unhappy to be imprisoned in order to build up the mythos of &quot;Jeanne D'Arc of Ukraine&quot;. In this way she gets attention and positions herself as fighter. Maybe if Yanukovich would ignore her completely, this could be better for him. But noone seems to apply smart strategies.

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 9:40 p.m.    

Tymoshenko stands for freedom and democracy. She is the opposition's only significant player. This is why Yanukovych blatently disregards Ukraine's constitution in order to eliminate her.

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 10:35 a.m.    

Very Interesting and probably accurate as opposed to certain articles and many &quot;commentaries......&quot;

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 10:42 a.m.    

The woman is guilty. If she was fat old and ugly no one would give a damn. Botox and similar things keep her attractive. Though like a &quot;Vampire&quot; she drained a lot of resources and money. So then Russia should let that stoligarch goon of Rothschild out of the nice gulag even though he stole billions and was going to let a foreign &quot;power &quot; control Russian resources. She is/was an idiot to double deal against Ukraine and Russia all because &quot;people &quot; like george zionazi soros wanted to control Ukraine......If you are too brain dead to believe any of this try researching something other than alcohol and we$tern pseudo pop culture.

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 9:35 p.m.    

Tymoshenko is guilty of fighting for freedom and democracy.

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Anonymous Aug. 9, 2011, 2:01 a.m.    

&quot;fighting &quot; to keep that ill-gotten money....

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 11:25 a.m.    

The last paragraph is pretty farfetched. Nobody is gathering en masse and Ukrainian aren't ignorant or scared to gather behind something legitimate (i.e., the Orange Revolution). It's common knowledge KP needs to turn its business around. Yuliya is in a tough spot but she's an equal player in this, dancing the crazy waltz she always dances with whoever is in power, and therefore no crowds. Even with all the firebrand KP articles, no crowds. There's a clear message in this.

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 11:27 a.m.    

Yeah, nothing sells like a revolution. A solution to a commercial problem at KP. But Yuliya to lead? Does anyone believe that twice?

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 9:34 p.m.    

Neither Yushenko or Yanukovych gave Yulia a chance to lead - In fact they both collaborated against her. Now she should be given her fair and democratic chance to lead but not be jailed by a sniveling looser tyrant.

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Anonymous Aug. 9, 2011, 7:57 a.m.    

even if she was the only person in government, then things would not change and she'd blame some evil group for conspiring against her, not allowing her to do basic reforms. and when her people are uncovered as corrupt she blames a corrupt culture for forcing her to partner with corrupt people yadda yadda yadda. it is her very clever response to criticism always. she only knows how to deflect blame not get things done.

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 2:45 p.m.    

I don't agree with the Kyiv Post's position on Tymoshenko. She is a politician of dubious leadership qualities and even more dubioius ethics. The fact that so few Ukrainians are willing to actively come out and support her tells the truth about her low standing in the society today. All the editorials in the world couldn't raise Tymoshenko's popularity.

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 9:30 p.m.    

Kyiv Post is reporting what is being said from all over the world and in Ukraine. The Kyib Post is not givng an opinion - you dolt.

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Anonymous Aug. 9, 2011, 12:33 a.m.    

this is an editorial and hence by definition an opinion. and all year it's been the tymoshenko show. just a tired old face who lost her biggest election now sits in jail which is a shame but absolutely no chance her own people can get enough support to release her without serious international help. its not a revolution. it's been 4 days and nobody cares enough to do what kiev post is shouting to do.

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 5:51 p.m.    

&quot;Free Tymoshenko, drop charges&quot;

It must be very embarrassing for the Branless Bonner to allow such a complete BS of an article, because he clearly do not understands the difference between getting in jail for being CONVICTED and getting in jail because of CONTEMPT OF COURT, and proves the point that KP is nothing but Tymoshenko mouth piece bought for pocket change by a person which ended on the Interpol most wanted list in 2004 for her thievery.

Tymoshenko is currently jailed because her behavior during the trial demonstrates clear disregard to the laws of Ukraine. She intentionally and willingly behaves like an ape in the court. No civilized country allows such hooligan behavior in their trial proceedings in a Court of Law, including barbaric countries like the US which is #1 in prison population in the World.

The current Tymoshenko arrest have nothing to do with the object of the trial, but with her orange attitude of a person who believes she is above the law.

Advocating her release only proves that the moron who writes this drivel do not obey the rule of law either, or simply proves the point that KP is nothing else but an oligarch owned propaganda mouth piece.

LOL :D

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 5:59 p.m.    

this comment is paid for by the party of regions

in your &quot;objective&quot; opinionated comment, you should wonder why yanukovuch is not being tried and arrested for poisoning yushchenko, court proven falsifying of 2004 electiona, as well as being a convicted murderer and rapist who is not currently in jail

thanks for your BS comments

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Anonymous Aug. 9, 2011, 12:06 p.m.    

I happen to agree with every sentiment in your comment but not with the insult to the assumed writer. &quot;Brainless&quot; doesn't equal anyone who doesn't think like me. It's just as ape like behaviour as Yulia's in court. I think KP have every right to remove such a comment even though, as I said I couldn't agree more.

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 6:41 p.m.    

Kyiv Post should beware of crossing the line from being an independent news source to an out-and-out Tymoshenko mouthpiece.

KP has flirted with this line in the past, especially around the time of the presidential election, but they have never actually crossed it. The latest developments offer a new temptation to deviate from an objective line of reporting. As Mr Willard noted, the paper's reputation already seems to have suffered somewhat from the perception of bias.

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 9:27 p.m.    

A free paper publishes the news and not the propaganda of a dictator. Leave and take your worthless threat with you.

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Anonymous Aug. 9, 2011, 12:52 a.m.    

KP publishes partisan propaganda from a fallen autocrat who ran a corrupt government right until the current one took over. Looking the other way and blindly painting the lady sinner as a saint. It's bad enough what is happening here, without the phony mythology added in. The woman is not helen of troy. her plight does not launch the 1,000 ships anymore. Kiev Post can not even guess at how much money she stole from Ukraine. Did they even try to know how much she stole, no because it's an awkward question for a pro-BYUT paper. Yes she's blonde and she's got kids you can drink beers with at the bar any night you visit Ciros. So you feel like she's somehow more human. But do you ever meet her or know her personally. Do you have any idea how she got to the top of the machine in Ukraine during the 90s when people were the most gangster even more than now. People make her into this goddess that is nonsense. Willful blindness by Kiev Post and it needs more balance.

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Anonymous Aug. 9, 2011, 8:08 a.m.    

If you were to look at some of the other Ukranian newspapers at least those on the net, you'd see that it's perfectly possible at one at the same not to publish Yanuk's propaganda and still not be a mouthpiece for Tym.

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Anonymous Aug. 8, 2011, 9:25 p.m.    

Can Kiev Post interview the Muslim Brotherhood in Ukraine and get their view on the whole current situation? That would be highly interesting and insightful.

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Anonymous Aug. 9, 2011, 9:43 a.m.    

will FEMEN and the Muslim Brotherhood unite to save Ukraine from tyranny we need gratuitous nudity and strict islamic sharia law now more than ever

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Anonymous Aug. 9, 2011, 1:41 p.m.    

The overwhelmingly large Muslim Communityin Kiev, accounting up to 2 Mio. people, is very dissapointed about the recent arrest of Yulia Ab-del Timoschenka, a long-standing fighter for the rights of Muslims.

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Anonymous Aug. 9, 2011, 3:26 p.m.    

The muslim brotherhood will unite with femen, to solve the problem with gratuitous nudity and sharia law. be prepared for one violent and sexy clash.

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Anonymous Aug. 9, 2011, 11:39 a.m.    

Despite the impression give by all the reports western &quot;support&quot; for Tym an article by Carl Bildt the Swedish FM who has been very vocal in this &quot;support&quot; is not actually calling on Ukarine not to try Tym and just drop the charges. He writes &quot;Tymoshenko’s trial and how she is treated by the Ukrainian authorities must not only be fair, but also must be seen to be fair.&quot;

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Anonymous Aug. 9, 2011, 1:44 p.m.    

The US state office announced that the U.S.S. Enterprise and the U.S.S. George Washington, two large scale flight carriers, are on their way to the Black Sea in order to establish peace in Ukraine.

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