zaterdag 7 januari 2012

Brief aan een dictator

   Oktober 2011, voormalig premier en huidig oppositieleider Julia Timosjenko wordt veroordeeld tot 7 jaar cel vanwege ambtsmisbruik en verkwisting van overheidsgeld. Haar aanhang spreekt schande van deze politiek gemotiveerde uitspraak, bedoeld om de oppositie monddood te maken.
   President Viktor Janoekovitsj wast zijn handen in onschuld, verschuilt zich achter de zogenaamde onafhankelijkheid van de rechterlijke macht, maar er zijn weinigen die hem willen geloven.
   Ook in het buitenland wordt verontwaardigd gereageerd. In december besluit de Europese Unie de ondertekening van een associatieverdrag met Oekraïne op te schorten. Met het voetbalfeest van Euro2012 voor de deur lijkt Europese integratie verder weg dan ooit.

   Op Tweede Kerstdag schrijft Julia Timosjenko vanuit de gevangenis de volgende open brief aan Viktor Janoekovitsj:

A letter to a dictator 

Hello, Viktor Fedorovych!

I decided on the eve of the New Year to write you a letter.

Don’t worry, I won’t write about myself and the trials. I heard how you swore at a press conference that you had nothing to do with it. I believe you :)

Soon you’ll be telling the democratic world that I was already in jail when you were born.

But I want to write about something else – about our country.

In the current situation I can rise above the events and speak not in my own interests, and not in yours – but in the interest of our country.

Why, you ask?

..The thing is that because of a fatal oversight by the Ukrainian Clio (that’s muse of history in Greek mythology), two years ago you became the head of our state. It’s difficult to say what she, Clio, was doing at such an important time. But in any case, "we have what we have" – as Leonid Makarovych [Kravchuk] likes to say.

In this case, we have you as president.

You became the head of a state in which millions of Ukrainians live. And they will after you. And so I would like to give you some advice, which I hope will allow you to avoid fatal mistakes and allow you to save face and preserve the country for future generations.

Firstly, don’t try to gain the people’s love and respect through violence and rape. Forced love doesn’t happen. You didn’t win this country in a card game, you got the votes of people who confused you with your billboards. And today you are blatantly belittling these people. And the worst thing [for you] is that people already understand this.

You have surrounded the country in fences. One gets the impression that the most successful business today is the production of barbed wire. But, sooner or later, you will understand that you are behind barbed wire, not the country.

Today, as sociologists claim, you have a stable 7% approval rating. At that rate of loss, you won’t even have enough for the next year of your presidency. You think that you’re strong and influential, and that many years of bright rule are ahead of you. But don’t trust your own predictions. A few more fatal mistakes and they will all leave you, including Chechetov.

And nobody will come to your rescue. You already had a chance to convince yourself that with money you can build a helicopter pad, but not oppose the Maidan.

And so my first piece of advice – starting living for the people. I know this is difficult for you. So, if it doesn’t work, at least pretend that the people live in the country that you are temporarily working as president. If you can do this, everything will end much quicker for you.

Secondly, I’m not sure how much you know about international and geopolitical issues, but I have bad news for you: Euro-2012 isn’t an agreement on European integration, you’ve been deceived. It’s football.

Your biggest mistake was ending the process of unification with Europe.

By not signing the agreement on December 19, you set the country back by decades. The work of thousands of intelligent and decent people went down the drain because of you. At least think about your own interests, if you won’t think of the interests of the state. You will never succeed playing Europe and Russia against each other, as you hoped. Because they know you and your natural abilities well on both sides.

Every step, every action you take in a direction away from Europe weakens you, as president, and Ukraine, as a state. It’s no secret that for some, a weak Ukrainian president is the best partner. And so far, unfortunately, you meet this quality perfectly. Even though I don’t understand why you need this.

Realize that Ukraine’s future, Ukraine’s security and its interests, and yours as well, lie in the European plane. If you want to save at least some political face, return Ukraine to a European strategy of development.

Thirdly, don’t consider giving up the gas transport system. This is our last strategic resources. They only accept you today because this system still belongs to Ukraine. After it’s lost, you won’t have any arguments in your favor, of the country’s favor.

You gave away Sevastopol in exchange for cheap gas. But where is this cheap gas? Now you want to give away the gas transport system…what will you give up next year, Viktor Federovych?

Take the example of Belarus or Moldova. As soon as they gave up their networks, they lost all their appeal. Friendship ended in a second, along with the cheap gas.

Fourthly, stop the nepotism in politics. This always ends badly. Ask you friend – your predecessor – about this.

Only in fairy tales does a father divide his property among his sons. One gets the house, another the cow, another the horse. But you’re the president of a whole state, not a farm. It’s clear that you got married back in Soviet times when the sign hung in the marriage registrar saying "A strong family means a strong state." But you’re holding on to this principle too strongly. And your family is already so strong that soon there will be nothing left of the state.

People might still understand if you gave your son the best car in the world, in line with his profession. But not he National Bank, Ministry of Interior and tax service.

When a country’s law enforcement and finances are run by a dentist, the whole country’s teeth hurt.

Don’t try to build dynasties. Ukraine won’t accept it. The Ukrainian Kim Jong Il will be a miserable and vulnerable man. You don’t need it. Don’t humiliate and discredit your sons.

Fifthly, don’t steal state assets so brutally, insolently and openly. It’s useless. Sooner or later you will have to return them. Recall Kryvorizhstal. The state isn’t your personal pantry.

Power passes and ends. That’s its nature. You can be a president in exile, but you can’t be the owner of Ukrtelecom in exile.

Sixthly, politicians aren’t always completely honest. But don’t tell outright lies. Everyone laughs when you claim that you don’t influence judges, police or prosecutors, that you’re fighting corruption, reading Chekhov. It’s such an outright lie, that it evokes scorn. People can tell when something is false, and they don’t forgive it.

When you say such things, the people listening to you automatically break out in nervous laughter. A president can’t allow himself to be funny.

And seventhly. I, Viktor Federovych, have studied the anatomy of dictatorship quite well. Its main characteristic is that it always ends. And always disgracefully. A dictator, despite all his power and resources, is a weak, frightened and restricted person. Fear is the only sense that he never loses. I think you understand what I mean…

In 2009 I met one unusual politician. This was a person will full confidence. He had a confidence rating of nearly one hundred percent in his country. Every day his people bowed to him, believe that he was sent to them by a higher power. He planned to rule forever and nothing eclipsed his absolute autocratic power. He divided the whole country among his sons and felt like the master of his land.

But just two years later, his dead body was being dragged by yesterday’s loyalists through the dust of his hometown.

And one of his sons offered two million dollars to escape from the country.

Despite the "nature" of our relations, I would never wish you, Viktor Fedorovcyh, a similar fate. I honestly hope that you can go to Yenakievo not the way the politician I mentioned when to Sirte. Everything is in your hands. At least right now.

And so, when you’re raising your traditional "Harrogate" glass by the Christmas tree, think at least for a moment about the nature of your power, think about tragic mistakes, about the ones already made and the ones you still want to make.

Analyze your failures before, not after, they’re made. Because after is too late.

Do this, because otherwise - "I won’t envy you." In other words, think about all this…

Yulia Tymoshenko,
Cell № 260, where you assigned me,
Lukyanivka SIZO. Kyiv

Dec. 26, 2011

   Het antwoord van Viktor Janoekovitsj laat niet lang op zich wachten. Vlak voor Nieuwjaar wordt Julia Timosjenko plotseling overgeplaatst naar een gevangenis in Charkov. Het heeft er alle schijn van dit een doelbewuste poging is om haar te straffen, te vernederen en te demoraliseren en daarmee de oppositie tegen het regime te frustreren. Dit lijkt ook van meet af aan de strategie te zijn geweest in het proces tegen Timosjenko.
   Onzin menen de autoriteiten - het nieuwe verblijf van Julia in de Kachanivska strafkolonie Nr. 54 is een luxe, gerenoveerde cel waar het haar aan niets zal ontbreken.

   Toegegeven, als je de foto zo bekijkt, lijkt het inderdaad meer op een hotelkamer dan op een gevangeniscel. Maar - wat niet te zien is op deze officiële foto, maar waar haar advocaat wel over heeft geklaagd - waarom is er permanente verlichting en staan er overal videocamera’s op haar gericht?

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