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The Yulia Tymoshenko Case: will the most popular politician of Ukraine return to prison?

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In modern Ukraine with all of its variety of political forces and movements it is very hard to find a politician that is more popular and experienced than Yulia Tymoshenko who was the only female Prime Minister of Ukraine.

Tymoshenko left business and joined the political circus in 1997. She became a member of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, took a number of posts and actively participated in Ukraine's life. Since the very beginning of her political career, Tymoshenko has supported the European integration, fought corruption and tried to deprive oligarchs of power.

One of the most important and widely known events in Ukraine where Tymoshenko proved herself as a strong leader was the 2004-2005 Orange revolution that made Viktor Yushchenko Ukraine's President. Subsequently, in 2005 Tymoshenko took PM's office for the first time but later that year she was dismissed because she had some serious disagreement with President Yushchenko. It was the time when a conflict between Tymoshenko and current Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko had started, and the reason was Poroshenko's striving for PM's office back then.

In December 2007 Tymoshenko became PM under Yushchenko's presidency for the second time and stayed in office until March 2010 when Viktor Yanukovych was elected President and the Verkhovna Rada dismissed Tymoshenko's government. Those events became a crucial moment in life and career of Ukraine's first female PM when a number of criminal cases were initiated against her. The most notorious case was the 2009 gas contracts with Russia.

In March 2011 the Party of Regions initiated an investigation in the Verkhovna Rada to find out the circumstances of 2009 agreements between Ukraine's Naftogaz and Russia's Gazprom. Tymoshenko was accused of exceeding her authority, inflicting 1.5 billion hryvna loss as well as betraying Ukraine's national interests. The result was Tymoshenko's imprisonment that ended on February 22, 2014 to become one of the biggest achievements of another revolution known as the Euromaidan. Obviously, Tymoshenko's release helped the opposition since she was a victim of the Yanukovych regime and became a symbol of freedom fighting.

But the winners of Euromaidan had no place for Tymoshenko in new Ukraine. Poroshenko and the oligarchs took the power again – they are exactly the kind of people whom Tymoshenko was always fighting. The confrontation between them continues even now because the rise of corruption in Ukraine and oligarch power squabbling took the substantial scale. The rating of Poroshenko and other Ukrainian politicians is very low while Tymoshenko's popularity continues to rise and giving present Ukrainian leaders a headache, making them fear the 2019 presidential election.

Tymoshenko continually accuses Poroshenko and his team of inability to organize reforms in Ukraine and of keeping the archaic criminal authority in the country. Instead of giving Tymoshenko a post in Ukraine's government, Poroshenko turns to an old way fighting rivals – he threatens Tymoshenko with a new criminal prosecution for the 2009 gas contracts with Russia. If you follow the link, you will find a request from Artur Gerasimov, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament and a leader of Petro Poroshenko faction, to resume an investigation into the gas deal. Mr. Gerasimov believes it is of vital importance to prosecute Tymoshenko before she leaves Ukraine.

It is impossible to imagine what President Poroshenko has on his mind, but obviously he plans to go for the second term as Ukraine's leader. With a strong rival like Tymoshenko, neither he nor any other candidates have a chance to win. The only possible way to keep the succession of oligarchy in Ukraine is to put Tymoshenko behind the bars again.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: tymoshenko, ukraine, prison

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