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You're reading: Ukraine is no Arab police state

On a visit to Brussels in late March, she suggested that there could be fighting between what she regards as a repressive Ukrainian state and the general population, during which members of the opposition could be placed in jail. Her political party, Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko-Batkivshchyna, raised the prospect of the country exploding into another Orange Revolution-style uprising which could even turn violent this time. She also suggested that the Arab Spring pro-democracy movement could learn from what she regards as the failure to reform Ukraine in the wake of the Orange Revolution that overturned a presidential election rigged for Yanukovych.

To be sure, the extension of Russia’s lease of the Black Sea Fleet base at Sevastopol in return for cheaper Russian gas imports heralds a closer relationship between the two countries. Pressure on the broadcast media and a few highly publicized cases of missing journalists has led some to return to the question of media and press freedom.

Equally, there were attempts to influence the outcome of the local elections held last autumn that were regarded by some as not free and fair. Moreover, the criminal investigation of Tymoshenko and several of her former ministers for abuse of office has raised the specter of politically-inspired justice.

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