Editor’s Note: The following is an English-language translation of imprisoned ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s Oct. 29 letter alleging that the Oct. 28 parliamentary election was rigged and announcing that she is going on a hunger strike in protest. The Ukrainian original can be found here. http://byut.com.ua/direct_language/12938.html. She is in the second year of a seven-year prison sentence for abuse of office in concluding a natural gas deal with Russia in 2009, a conviction widely regarded as political persecution.
From July 30 to Oct. 28, the most unfair elections in the history of the independent Ukraine were held.
To admit that they were fair or partly fair, or that they were elections at all, means to tell all the people who corrupted voters in single-member constituencies, suppressed TVi and other independent channels; all the people who organized “carousels” and forged certificates of non-existent illnesses to rig home voting; to tell everyone who in front of video cameras threw in piles of ballot papers filled in by the same hand – the hand of the [Viktor] Yanukovych regime; to tell all the people who took decisions in the Central Election Commission to register false parties and use their resources to form subordinated election commissions; to tell all the people who distributed food packages and paid money in districts; to tell all these clear lawbreakers, including criminals: “Guys, you have done everything right, act like this in future, we’re ready to say black is white, evil is good, and the people who rigged ballot are honest politicians, because we are all in favor of political opportunism and political expediency and not of the truth and European values.”
It is impossible to say the elections were fair and legitimate at a time when every Ukrainian citizen knows that money and food packages were offered to him and many people took them; to say the elections were fair and legitimate when every Ukrainian citizen knows that power structures and administrative resource applied violence to them; when hundreds of thousands of election commissions members took money for forging protocols; when every citizen knows that all TV channels campaigned dirtily 24/7 in favor of the ruling regime; and when everyone read resolutions of the international community about political repressions in Ukraine.
To admit these elections were fair and legitimate is to fully demoralize the Ukrainian nation and the part of our people who still believes in justice and European choice despite the extraordinary efforts of the ruling regime to rig the ballot.
The national exit-poll showed that 73 percent of Ukrainian citizens voted against Yanukovych, against his corrupted, bankrupt policy and that the legitimacy of his regime was completely lost. The elections outcome is a verdict for the oligarchy, its godfather and their clans.
And if - thanks to corruption in single-mandate constituencies - they implement the result, if they manage to “correct” it by means of false protocols from bribed precinct and district commissions and to distort the national exit poll; if thanks to the unfair means they form their majority in the Verkhovna Rada that will be recognized by Ukraine and the world, then this will be a signal for all post-communist regimes that fair elections can be killed and that everything can be “doctored to death.”
Political expediency and willingness to compromise can legalize everything, but where to hide the real choice made by people? Where to put 225 files with clear proof that massive voter bribing was carried out in all election constituencies by all -- I stress ALL candidates from the ruling party in single member constituencies?
How to legalize corruption, Yanukovych’s sons, fellows, friends, henchmen and his entourage?
I will not act in the name of political expediency and I will not call clear lies the truth. These elections were rigged from the first to the last day; and to hide this fact means to destroy Ukraine’s future.
I express my solidarity with the Ukrainian World Congress, with conclusions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europea, as well as with the position of Andreas Gross, Head of the PACE Monitoring Group, expressed some weeks ago; and I state clearly that 73 percent of Ukrainian citizens want to remove the Yanukovych authoritarian regime, and gave the mandate for this to all oppositional forces. Everything that is different from the result in the elections is rigged and forged.
I don’t consider the parliament, where a majority rigged in such a way will rule despite the will of people, to be legitimate. If I were with you now and could act freely, without any doubts I would call you for continuous protest actions. And we together would put those who rigged the elections to their place as we have done many times before.
But now, being behind bars, I cannot call you to go out into the streets because I cannot guarantee that these protests will be peaceful and organized in the best way. That is why I do what I can in these conditions. I go on hunger strike to protest against the vote rigging and illegitimacy of the parliament. I know and I believe that most Ukrainians will understand and support me,