Tymoshenko’s prosecution and detention are undoubtedly flagrant violations of fundamental principles of democracy. They are categorically not the only ones committed by the current regime, and hurried efforts to remove a Soviet-age article of the criminal code in order to avert Tymoshenko’s conviction cannot be all that the European Union demands. There are a number of others, including former government officials, facing prosecution on equally dubious grounds. It is impossible to see any justification for the continued detention of former Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko and former Acting Defence Minister Valery Ivashchenko, to name but two.
There is no place for selective justice in a democracy. Selective indignation could also create the wrong impression.
This does not apply only to flawed and politically motivated prosecutions. A key element of any democracy is freedom of speech and access to information. Manipulation of information is, brutally speaking, more efficient than heavy-handed force, and no less dangerous. The hard-hitting words spoken at the meeting in Yalta have largely filtered back to the Ukrainian Internet via Western information agencies.