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You're reading: Nervousness about Ukraine exaggerated

“I wear this wristband in solidarity with the people of Belarus. I sincerely hope that we will not be wearing similar bracelets in support of Ukraine.” This was the dramatic declaration by Freedom House Executive Director David Kramer at a recent Washington D.C. panel in which I also took part.

The sense of alarm in Kramer’s comparison of Ukraine under President Viktor Yanukovych with Belarus under Alexander Lukashenko underscored the nervousness with which Ukraine’s ruling elite is viewed by many in the human rights community.

At the root of this nervousness is the ongoing prosecution of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, which has cast a pall on Ukraine’s not inconsiderable institutional flaws.

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