The Yulia Tymoshenko Case Files: A New Information Source on Ukraine’s Most Notorious Prisoner

By way of comments we have received, we have learned that, first, WordPress still enables trackbacks (who knew?) and that a Ukrainian Member of Parliament, Inna Bohoslovska, has taken it on herself to put together what appears to be the definitive site on former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. The site, called (in classic Eastern subtlety) “The Tymoshenko Case,” lists this as its stated purpose:

This site is aimed at providing facts and documentation about the judicial travails of Ukrainian politician Yulia Tymoshenko.

Having been active in Ukrainian politics for many years, as a civil society activist, an MP, and as the chairman of the “Veche” party, I have repeatedly seen what can happen when decisions are taken on the basis of hearsay rather than accurate and documented information.

Two years ago I agreed to chair a parliamentary commission of inquiry into the conditions of the signing in 2009 of a highly controversial gas deal with Russia.  It was this gas deal, signed by Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko – even after it was rejected by her entire Cabinet of Ministers – that caused extremely negative economic consequences for our country, and led to the judicial examination of her role in what turned out to be an abuse of office.

In bypassing the normal rules of a Cabinet vote for such an important multi-billion dollar and 10-year gas deal, Yulia Tymoshenko created a heavy economic burden for the people that will be felt for many years. The role of a parliamentary inquiry is to find out why this happened, what lessons can be learned, and what remedies may exist to correct it.

Against the backdrop of the controversial debate now raging over the prosecution of Yulia Tymoshenko, I decided to make every effort to ensure that what we know and can document honestly and openly about the activities of Ms. Tymoshenko becomes widely available to the public, to researchers, to journalists, to academics and to the international political community.

While the history and controversies surrounding Yulia Tymoshenko are well known at home here in the Ukraine, my contacts with foreign politicians, experts and journalists have persuaded me that the degree of knowledge outside of Ukraine is very partial, to say the least.

I want to note a few things. First, the site is mercifully not decked out in orange, a visually unappealing tendency of both Tymoshenko’s supporters and critics. In Ukraine, the Orange Revolution does not carry the unvarnished image of hope that it does here.

Second, I am actually impressed with the site as it stands. It is what it claims to be: An archive of material, including court documents, designed to provide easy access to original materials for anyone interested enough to click a handful of times. I am particularly impressed that Ms. Bohoslovska has eschewed the somewhat natural tendency to sensationalize Tymoshenko’s past, another dreary tendency of her supporters and her critics. Both the “Life Story” section (a serialized version of Tymoshenko’s life?) and the news section are actually fairly balanced and seem more interested in the day-to-day facts of the Gas Princess’s life, rather than wild accusations.

Overall, as it stands today, Ms. Bohoslovska deserves credit for a visually straightforward, factually straightforward resource — one that gives trackbacks as well.

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