FT: Tymoshenko’s arrest, bad for Ukraine
Ukraine, a vast emerging market economy on the European Union’s eastern border, has been hit in recent days with a double whammy.
The nation’s small and relatively illiquid stock market plunged by more than 8 per cent on Monday, bringing the decline in the past week to a whopping 16 per cent. The trend, largely driven by global market factors such as S&P’s US downgrade and European debt fears, has been sharp and downwards in recent months.
Ukraine is also being shaken up politically.
Friday’s arrest of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko on contempt of court charges is fueling additional fears that the nation is sliding away from democracy just over a year into the presidency of her rival, Viktor Yanukovich. Concerns and criticism is building in the European Union and US that Yanukovich is trying to sideline political opponents through “selective” prosecutions.
On Monday, a judge rejected several pleas to release Tymoshenko, ignoring mounting international pressure to let set the 50-year old former Orange Revolution leader free. Judge Rodion Kireyev ordered for Tymoshenko to remain behind bars during a criminal trial that commenced in late June. Tymoshenko stands accused of exceeding authority while prime minister in 2009.
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