Yanukovych Lets the Dogs Loose on the Opposition

What’s the best thing about getting elected president?  You can wrestle control of the legal system and use it to chase down your opponents and aid your business positions.  Maybe there are some grounds behind this reopened case against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko – it’s clear that there is a complicated past, and it’s not hard to get dirt on any successful Ukrainian – but the timing and handling of this renewed interest by investigators smacks of an arbitrary, politically motivated witch hunt.  My guess would be that Viktor Yanukovych would just like to remind people that he’s willing to let the dogs loose.

From the Financial Times:

Ukraine’s prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday it had reopened a 2004 criminal case against Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister, over accusations that she had tried to bribe Supreme Court judges.

Ms Tymoshenko on Wednesday claimed the opposition was being “repressed” much like under the authoritarian presidency of Leonid Kuchma, when she was jailed for several months. She linked the latest investigation to the May 17-18 visit to Kiev of Dmitry Medvedev, Russian president, saying: “Yanukovich wants to demonstrate how he deals with the opposition.” (…)

But Volodymyr Sivkovych, deputy premier in charge of law enforcement,warned that Ms Tymoshenko would face numerous investigations, accusingher of misappropriating billions of dollars while serving as premier in2008-09. Referring to her and opposition allies, he said: “They willhave no time to get a seat in parliament,but will be thinking of how to flee.”

Opposition leaders havegathered several thousand people for protests held in recent weeks incentral Kiev. But in an interview with the Segodnya daily newspaper,Anatoly Mogilev, interior minister, said he favoured restrictingprotests to the “outskirts of Kiev”.