Release of Yulia Tymoshenko is key to restoring Ukraine’s reputation in Europe

14:11, 12 April 2013
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German political analyst and professor of political science at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy Andreas Umland believes the release of Yulia Tymoshenko from prison is a condition for the restoration of Ukraine’s pro-European reputation and signing of the Association Agreement with the EU, according to official web site of Yulia Tymoshenko.

"What does Ukraine need right now – a photo of a smiling Tymoshenko walking out of prison. If this happens, the reputation of Ukraine’s political system will be corrected and the political community of Western states will be in favor of signing the agreement. Everything else is technical and organizational issues - amendments and laws are all minor issues. Ukraine needs to restore its reputation and then everything else will be solved – the agreement will be signed and quickly ratified," Andreas Umalnd said at a round table today entitled "Association Agreement. Terra Incognita?".

According to him, the reputation of Ukraine’s political system was ruined after 2010. "The main problem is reputation, because in 2008 Ukraine’s reputation in the West was pretty good," he said.

"The first positive signal in the past few months was the release of Yuriy Lutsenko and other political prisoners. In one day this fixed two problems: it changed the atmosphere in society in the West and opened a path to the signing of the association agreement," believes Andreas Umland.

The expert also cautioned the Ukrainian government against spreading the idea that EU countries are split into "friends" and "enemies" that are for or against the signing of the agreement under current circumstances. "I’m seeing the media paint the picture that there are countries like Lithuania, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland that support the signing of the agreement, and supposedly there are countries like Germany, France and Italy that aren’t friends of Ukraine. This is all being presented as either the German or French governments are friends of Putin or hostages of Putin, which is why they don’t want to sign this agreement. I ask that the government not spread such nonsense, because this will lead to added tension in relations with Germany or France. There is not need to fuel this story because it distracts from the main issue – the reputation of the Ukrainian political system," he added.

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