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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tymoshenko ends hunger strike – the politics of Ukraine.

Sometimes, the wheel changes to fast that what is at top comes to the bottom – if the analogy were to be correct, sooner, the bottom would again become the top !

The creator of the popular ‘Orange Revolution’ had a meteorical rise, plunged low, was arrested, was on hunger strike and now comes the news of her being shifted to a hospital ending the hunger strike.It is  Yulia Volodymyrivna Tymoshenko, a politician in Ukraine. She was the Prime Minister of Ukraine from 24 January to 8 September 2005, and again from 18 December 2007 to 4 March 2010.  In 2005, she was placed third in Forbes Magazine's List of The World's 100 Most Powerful women.  She has been a practising economist and academic. Prior to her political career, Yulia Tymoshenko was a successful but controversial businesswoman in the gas industry, becoming by some estimates one of the richest people in the country.

In the Autumn of 2001,  she joined hands with Viktor Yushchenko to create a broad opposition bloc against the incumbent President Leonid Kuchma in order to win the Ukrainian presidential election 2004.   In 2004, she established the Force of the people, a coalition which aimed to stop "the destructive process that has, as a result of the incumbent authorities, become a characteristic for Ukraine".  On November 22, 2004 massive protests broke out in cities across Ukraine: the largest, in Kiev's Maidan Nezalezhnosti attracted an estimated 500,000 participants. 

These protests became known as the Orange Revolution. During the protests, Tymoshenko speeches on Maidan kept the momentum of the street protests going.

On 5 August 2011 Tymoshenko was arrested for "ridiculing court proceedings" and  was held at Lukyanivska Prison.  In Oct 2011, the court found Tymoshenko guilty of abuse of power and sentenced her to seven years in jail, also  ordered her to pay the state $188 million. She was convicted for exceeding her powers as Prime Minister, by ordering Naftogaz to sign the gas deal with Russia in 2009.  she did appeal against the sentence with her followers stating the trial as a political payback. Later, criminal case on state funds embezzlement and tax evasion charges against Tymoshenko was reopened  and there are also investigations in to whether  Tymoshenko was involved in  a murder and being investigated for ten criminal acts.  Tymoshenko lost her appeal against her sentence of abuse of power; later she and  her lawyers  boycotted the appeal proceedings claiming "Judicial system and justice are totally non-existent in Ukraine. The Parliament of Ukraine again voted against decriminalizing the law under which Tymoshenko was sentenced to imprisonment in Feb 12. Foreign Doctors were allowed to examine her and stated  that  Tymoshenko was “ill, in constant pain and requires toxicology and other laboratory testing.   

President Yanukovych stated on 24 February 2012 the procedure for pardoning Tymoshenko could start "after her trial" and if she submitted a respective application to the President.   Tymoshenko refused to attend the trial against her, citing problems with her health. She was then moved against her will from Kachanivska prison to a hospital where she entered a hungerstrike on 20 April 12  to protest - according to her lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko - "what is happening in the country and what is happening to her in prison".  Now comes the news of her ending  the hungerstrike on 9 May 2012.  Ukrainian prison authorities transferred the former Orange Revolution heroine to a hospital earlier on May 9 amid concerns about her health.

There has been some International pressure in her favour.  Recently,  Ukraine postponed a summit of Central and Eastern European leaders scheduled for May 11-12 in Yalta after the presidents of eight countries canceled their attendance in protest against Tymoshenko's treatment.In addition, a growing number of European leaders have vowed to boycott the Euro 2012 events in Ukraine.  Yanukovych has faced growing criticism over the conviction of Tymoshenko — and the authorities’ refusal to let her travel abroad for treatment for chronic back pain.

Ukraine is a country in Central and Eastern Europe. Ukraine borders the Russian Federation to the east and northeast, Belarus to the northwest, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, Romania and Moldova to the southwest, and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south and southeast, respectively.

…- and East or West, political life is difficult and one in top, comes down after a period of power…….

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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