On Monday, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymosheno’s daughter Yevhenia (who resumed using her maiden name late last year) relayed her mother’s demand to the European Parliament that the elections scheduled for this October should be pre-emptively declared illegitimate, according to the Kyiv Post.
“The main message is to declare now that this election is illegitimate. Doing so after the election will be late. Already one can acknowledge the fact that democratic forces will be unable to defeat falsifications going on at every level. She hopes that observers who will be present before the election begins will manage to notice that and conclude before the election that it is unfair and dishonest. Dictatorship in Ukraine has effectively been installed, and this election will help consolidate it,” she said.
To put this bluntly, Tymoshenko is asserting that because she cannot contest the elections because of her conviction (currently on appeal to the European Court of Human Rights), the entire election is a sham and Europe should declare Ukraine’s elections invalid before they are even held. The effect this would have on Ukraine’s relationship with the European Union — and Russia — is apparently not all that important. The traditional standard of judging elections once they are complete is also curiously absent.
It is hard to know whether this amounts to egocentrism on a world-shattering scale, Tymoshenko’s politics as usual, or some combination of the two.
The likelihood that Europe will pre-emptively decide to permanently antagonize Ukraine because Yulia Tymoshenko has not been released but is instead facing an appeal to a non-Ukrainian court — not traditionally a sign of a brutal dictatorship — is low at best. This is most likely an attempt by the disgraced former Prime Minister to rally her troops and to keep her cause alive before the European Union, which she has skillfully used as a lever in the absence of broad popular support at home.
The European Parliament should deny Tymoshenko the use of their good offices for her ends, and instead insist that Ukraine be judged as every other nation, even Burma, has been judged: by the election process itself once completed. To do anything else is to make already-frayed relations needlessly worse.