Air of criminality as a weapon against the opposition
The Prosecutor General’s Office has completed the pre-trial investigation into the case brought against former Minister of the Interior Yury Lutsenko. Observers believe that in this way the regime has achieved its aim, regardless of whether Lutsenko is imprisoned.
Yury Lutsenko is charged with having signed an order to pay out assistance to his driver and for him to receive a flat, with exceeding his official powers in the case over Yushchenko’s poisoning and with inflicting losses to the State through the extravagant celebration of Police Day.
Lutsenko’s lawyer Ihor Fomin does not exclude the possibility that other criminal charges will be brought against the leader of one of the opposition political parties. “The way they initiate these criminal cases, they can come up with another fifty. He signed more than one order. There are 200 thousand people there, and how many orders were signed. You can find all that you want”. It will take Ihor Fomin two months to work through the 48 volumes of material.
He is convinced that there are no grounds for the criminal proceedings against Lutsenko, after all the Prosecutor is not saying that the former Minister of the Interior received money or personal gain from his actions. He does not, therefore, believe that Yury Lutsenko should bear criminal liability and be imprisoned.
The regime’s aim is not to imprison, but to taint
Svitlana Kononchuk from the Ukrainian Independent Centre for Political Research believes that the regime is not interested in imprisoning opposition figures, since that undermines the West’s trust of Yanukovych’s policy. It is however convenient for them if there is an air of criminality around opposition politicians to prevent them taking part in the next elections. “This is being done to clear the political field of opposition politicians. If a person has even a suspended sentence, this automatically places their running for office in question. And if there’s simply a court trial, that adversely affects a politician’s career”. She says that Yanukovych is trying to be the “sword of justice” with criminal investigations being initiated against his supporters,