Regime’s efforts to intimidate counter-productive
Yevhen Zakharov, Co-Chair of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group, considers that Ukraine’s drop in Freedom House rating from Free to Partly Free reflects Ukrainian reality. He was commenting on TVi on the change in rating reported here in the Freedom House Report for 2010 published on Thursday 13 January.
“We were free before and none of us expected that they could arrive to search or detain us. We are unfortunately seeing political persecution, persecution on political grounds. There were already a number of these in 2010 and this is continuing.”
Yevhen Zakharov also commented that President Yanukovych is not communicating with human rights activists. “President Yanukovych said back at the beginning of April that he planned to meet with human rights activists, yet such a meeting never eventuated. All our appeals to him have had no effect. He was called on, for example, to veto the law on personal data protection which came into force on 1 January since this law is of course needed, but contains such bleeps as to render it useless. Yet he still signed it”.
He also believes that the behaviour of the present regime towards the public is aimed at intimidation. “There is presently an expansion of the State into society with certain stereotypes of behaviour, actions being imposed which are aimed at having a dampening effect, so that people don’t protest, don’t assert their rights, so that they’re submissive. This is intimidation. It is a flawed position to take. With such intimidation the regime only generates greater hatred. Unfortunately they don’t understand this.”