May 26, 2012

Fight for Ukraine is Not Over

    By Irina Severin | 05.25.2012

Merkel seeks Tymoshenko's treatment In Germany as Tymoshenko's safety in Ukraine can not be guaranteed despite  the extra security measures employed

Moderate expectations

A shift in the EU relation to Ukraine from threatening with a boycott to cooperation hopefully will give its fruits. Azarov's invitation for the EU lawyers to take part in the Tymoshenko trial gives a possibility to resolve the problem with Tymoshenko imprisonment without creating an impression that Yanukovych gave up to the pressure, but he does this in the context of approximation of the Ukrainian judiciary system to the EU standards. 
The problem for the EU is that Yanukovych never gives up to the pressure - be it from Moscow or from Brussels. An opposite - if the pressure is applied he will act against his own interests and the interests of the country protecting first of all his self-esteem. Even if the black and white approach is understandable at the parliamentary level, as politicians care more about the impression they create and reelection and not always are able to get to the essence of the problem, at the executive and diplomatic levels should be employed more sophisticated approach.

It seems that a search for the mutually acceptable solution was exactly the reason of the Ukrainian prime-minister invitation for the European lawyers to take part in the Tymoshenko trial as well as the proposition that they can study all related to the case documents in order to evaluate them from the European point of view.  

In this situation, the EU's approach doesn't need to be too formal and legalistic "monitoring panel', as proposed by the EU Parliament Resolution on Ukraine. The EU's expert's participation should be proactive, suggesting solutions combined with the advice for the reformation of the judiciary system in general. The Tymoshenko case should become a positive precedent of the cooperation of the EU and Ukraine in the context of the approximation of the Ukrainian judiciary system to the European standards.   

Russia's Stake in Tymoshenko case

Though there are some pitfalls here. Some experts insist the Ukrainian judiciary system is under the Russian unofficial control and Russia is not interested that Ukraine resolves the Tymoshenko problem and gets out of isolation. After Azarov's invitation for the European lawyers, prosecutors immediately tried to downplay Azarov's proposition. 

Despite all measures of security applied to Tymoshenko  Yanukovych is unable to control everything. There is a danger that if the cooperation with the European judiciary experts will get a positive dynamic something can happen to Tymoshenko. The Tymoshenko case plays the same role in potential Ukrainian isolation as it was with the Gongadze case, which led Kuchma's Ukraine to isolation ten years ago. 

Such developments must be excluded from the start and the best way is to let Tymoshenko get treatment in Germany before the case is resolved, otherwise, consequences could be fatal for all involved.  Azarov's declarations on fight with the terrorism and acquisition of four armored Mercedes for Yanukovych only prove the fact that Ukrainian authorities are not able to fully guaranty Tymoshenko's security. Not to mention ritual explosions in the Tymoshenko's home town last month and still unexplained aggression against her in the jail. Tymoshenko should be warranted in absentia in order to exclude all possible provocations.

Tymoshenko negotiating the gas contract with Putin and Medvedev during Gas War 

As strange as it is the ideologist of the first 'showcase' against the Tymoshenko-Putin gas contract was not Yanukovych, but the Orange Revolution President Victor Yuschenko, who had his stake in the previous contract with Gazprom. The trial against Tymoshenko as he explains was designed to make Russia change devastating for Ukraine gas contract, which leads Ukraine to economic failure and higher dependence from Russia. Yanukovych implemented  Yuschenko's scenario, but at some point, this scenario went out of control
Putin, who hates Tymoshenko for the Orange Revolution humiliation was glad to see her imprisoned. In fact, he provoked it. During the ceremony of signing the contract, Putin emphasized his special "gratitude to Tymoshenko for taking personal responsibility for the contract". In practice, this meant Tymoshenko's omitting compulsory confirmation of the deal by the Ukrainian Cabinet of ministers, which became the main accusation in Tymoshenko's sentence, which along with her mentions also Putin and Medvedev. 

The latter detail didn't excite Moscow, which in exchange for the promise to review the contract suggested to initiate other cases against Tymoshenko, which not affect Russia's reputation. This was exactly what the prosecutors have done reviving old cases against Tymoshenko. As Azarov declared in Brussels: he suddenly realized that they "played by someone else script". Hopefully, the awareness of this fact will help Ukrainian authorities to start their own game. Participation of the EU lawyers in the Tymoshenko trial will be only fair taking into account the EU's indirect stake in the signing of this contract and though its symbolical share of responsibility.

Political Contract - Political Trial

Tymoshenko's prosecutors and Ukrainian authorities insist that Tymoshenko's case is not politically motivated despite the common view that this is just an attempt to get rid off the political opponent. The case is political from the start as Tymoshenko has the 2009 gas deal was made under the huge political pressure from the Russian side, which got proportions of the so-called "Gas War". 

Cutting the gas supply on the 6th of January Putin left to freeze the half of Europe during the abnormally cold winter, not to mention the economic losses.  Health and even the life of a lot of people in Eastern Europe were endangered. Moreover, this was not a spontaneous action from the Russian side - this was a very well thought and thoroughly prepared action meant to discredit Ukraine in the European's eyes and to impose unsupportable conditions to Ukraine in such way bankrupting the country economically and morally. 

Russia intended to prove that Ukraine is not a reliable partner and in such way to break the resistance of those in Europe, who at that stage was still was opposing to building of the Russian-German gas pipe-line 'Nord Stream' and advocating another joint venture - the South Stream gas pipeline, which should bypass Ukraine depriving it of any geopolitical and economic significance and making it more prone to return under the Russian rule. Also during the signing, the contract was clearly articulated Russia's demand to overtake the Ukrainian pipeline, which still has a strategical significance for Ukrainian independence. Putin's agenda behind this contract was merely political despite his attempts to present this deal as purely economic and totally legal. 

Man-made Force Majeure Condition

Signing the contract Tymoshenko, first of all, was rescuing half of Europe and the Europeans.  In such force majeure situation  (even if it was not natural, but a man-made disaster), Tymoshenko didn't have much space for a maneuver in negotiations. Putin's intransigence and malignity during negotiations were obvious for everybody and deliberately emphasized.  This force majeure condition justifies the fact that Tymoshenko has cut some necessary and important in normal situation bureaucratic procedures which is the main charge against her. Tymoshenko was put in the situation of the radical choice: to unblock the situation or to keep people in the EU freezing. 

The fact that Ukraine was loosing to Russia the information war put additional psychological pressure on Tymoshenko. Russia is well prepared for the attack in advance has caught Ukraine totally unprepared for such developments. 

Besides the immense political pressure, the negotiations had an exhausting character lasting for 10 hours without any break, which put enormous physical pressure on Tymoshenko. It seems that she had overestimated her personal power resources. She is not a super-human as she often tends to think. But did she had a choice?

Psychological  pressure as negotiations tool

The negotiations process looks like a torturing for Merkel to the greatest satisfaction of Putin
It is impossible to exclude and another kind of psychological pressure.  Putin is known for the intentional application of psychological pressure during negotiations. There is a high probability that Tymoshenko also became an object of unaware of her psychological pressure. The most well-known case is Angela Merkel's, with Putin abusing her fear of dogs - the  case  described by Foreign Policy Magazine:

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a master of psychological diplomacy, has repeatedly attempted to take advantage of Merkel's fear. In 2006, the then-president perplexed German diplomats by presenting the chancellor with a small dog as a gift and made a habit of having his black Labrador, Koni, sit in on their meetings. Putin's successor, Dmitry Medvedev, has put a stop to the practice.

This case just proves Putin's readiness for applying psychological pressure during negotiations. The habit can be explained by his professional training of the KGB agent including torturing and psychological influencing techniques. Thus it would be total neglect from Putin's side not to use his expertise in these matters during the 2009 gas negotiations when the stakes were extremely high.  

The means: from vodka to psychotronic weapons

During Azarov's stay in Brussels Yanukovych  in an apparently altered state of mind was
getting a reprogramming in Moscow
The means of pressure can differ from a banal vodka in combination with NLP techniques to more sophisticated approaches meant to induce a victim in trance making it vulnerable to imposed will. Recently Putin made public his plans for the creation of the psychotronic weapons, however, the Russian scientists insist that Moscow already for a long time possesses such kind of weapons, applicable on both an individual basis and mass scale, but Moscow does everything to keep them a secret. 

The psychological technologies produced by Putin's laboratories allow to induce in trance and to impose his will not only to targeted individuals but to entire nations. Greece is one of the examples. Induced in deep trance by the chaos of devastating and well-organized protests at the end of 2008 (Putin's vendetta for the Lisbon Treaty voted by the Greek parliament despite the previous promise of the prime-minister to organise a referendum on this matter in exchange for the generous sweat-heart deals with Gazprom) that triggered the Greece crisis, the country was exposed to massive tailor-made for Greeks anti-establishment and anti-European propaganda, what led to the rise of the ultra-left and ultra-right parties in the country and threatens with collapse not only Greece but the entire EU.  

The day of signing the contract: the fine-print of the deal between Kyiv
and Moscow has not been made public (BBC)
Whatever the 'magic means' were applied to Tymoshenko's super-task in that situation was to save Europe from the cold and she didn't have another choice than to agree for the devastating contract. The gas price stipulated in the contract is twice higher than for European countries.  At the same time, Russia pays to Ukraine only half of the gas transit price which costs Ukraine 3,5 billion per year. 

The 'pay or use' clause in the contract, binding to draw contracted volumes from Gazprom, makes Ukraine pay for unused volumes of gas 300 % of penalty charges, which made for 2009-2010 4,2 billion dollars.  In general ex-president, Victor Yuschenko claims loss of 11-12 billion dollars per year due to the Tymoshenko-Putin deal, which is incompatible with the independence of Ukraine. Since the Nord Stream pipeline was launched Ukraine has lost 15% of its revenues for the gas transit to the EU.

Having a stake in this matter the EU could not only help to resolve the Tymoshenko's case but without much effort to play a role of a mediator between Ukraine and Russia in the revision of the gas deal. Helping Ukraine the EU is helping itself. If Ukraine is left in the cold of Russia's embrace, the EU will get an authoritarian 'great power' neighbor imposing old-fashion domination on Europe by 'futuristic means'.

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