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You're reading: Protesters have inspired world with their resolute stand

The rule of
law is indeed at stake in Ukraine, as are the long-term prospects for peace and
stability in Eastern Europe, not to mention the aspirations of the Ukrainian
people for an independent and prosperous future.

In Ukraine,
the rule of law is manifestly represented by the people occupying Independence
Square, not the occupants of the government buildings they are besieging.
 We can be certain of this because Ukraine’s most prominent opposition
figure, Yulia Tymoshenko, is in prison, convicted of the types of corruption
that are standard operating procedure for the regime of current President
Viktor Yanukovych. Under Yanukovych’s leadership, Ukraine has been ridiculed as
a “kleptocracy” and has earned Ernst and Young’s ranking as one of the most
corrupt governments in the world.  The deficiencies in the legal and
judicial system of Ukraine are notorious, including selective prosecution,
corruption and bribery, nepotism, cronyism and an unacceptable lack of
transparency. If the people of Ukraine take defiant action against a corrupt
government, they should be supported by the international community, not
discouraged.

But the last
straw for the Ukrainian people, and the imminent threat to the international
community, is that President Yanukovych has proposed the ultimate corruption,
selling Ukraine’s European birthright to Russia for the Biblical “mess of
pottage.”  Rejecting the long-sought invitation to join modern Europe –
which was conditioned, of course, on the obligation to adhere to the rule of
law, starting with the release of Tymoshenko — Yanukovych seems determined to
turn instead toward the open arms of Russia, which is blackmailing Ukraine to
join an alternate “free trade” zone centered in Moscow.  Who believes that
those open arms portend a warm embrace from Mother Russia?

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