For reasons that go far beyond the fate of ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, international governments and domestic critics are justified in their concerns about the state of democracy, rule of law and justice under President Viktor Yanukovych.

If his administration keeps going down the authoritarian road, Yanukovych has no one to blame but himself and his wealthy backers for dashing Ukraine’s democratic aspirations and chances of greater political and economic integration with the European Union.

The ongoing trial of Tymoshenko has exposed Ukraine’s judiciary as cruel, arbitrary, inept and anything but independent. Judges are appointed and dismissed on on political whims. The nation’s general prosecutor, Viktor Pshonka, views himself as part of Yanukovych’s team.

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