EN|RU|UK
 Ukrainian Politics
  2474

 There is no Moscow Hand in Ukrainian Events. Yanukovych is Responsible for Everything, Freedom House. VIDEO

President of the international human rights organization Freedom House, David Kramer claims that corruption remains a major cause of Ukraine’s rating deterioration.

He said this in an interview with Voice of America​ commenting on the organization's report regarding the state of freedom in the world, in which Ukraine is deemed as a country with the greatest deterioration over the past five years.

Kramer noted that Ukraine's rating has been dropping for several reasons.

"First, the parliamentary elections, which have been critically evaluated by OSCE observers. Continuing problems with corruption, selective prosecution of political opponents. Yulia Tymoshenko and Yurii Lutsenko are still in prison, and there is no indication that they may be released. But, in general, we believe that corruption is the biggest problem in Ukraine," said Kramer.

In turn, the vice-president of Freedom House, Research Arch Puddington noted that there is also pressure on journalists and civil society: "Although I do not want to exaggerate - Ukrainian media is freer than in neighboring countries, and civil society is able to resist some of Yanukovych's initiatives. But we are concerned about how the rule of law is no longer in effect in Yanukovych's time."

He noted that while the influence of Russia is cited as a factor in the deterioration of freedom in the Eurasian region as a whole, Freedom House does not see "the hand of Moscow" in the Ukrainian events.

"I do not think that Russia's influence causes these changes. This is what Yanukovych wants and he takes full responsibility," said Paddington.

According to Kramer the events taking place in Ukraine make for a unique internal trend.

"Yanukovych and his inner circle are trying to do everything possible to stay in power. Freedom House is concerned about possible further decline of the state of freedom in Ukraine," said Kramer.

"I'm worried about the presidential elections of 2015. The level of corruption in the state leadership is growing, which means that they will be even less inclined to give up power, regardless of whether they win the election or not," he said.

However, as noted by the authors of the report, Ukraine differs from its neighbors in Eurasia by the fact that Ukrainian leaders still care what people abroad think about them.

"When in April of last year, Freedom House went to Ukraine to make an assessment, we received a lot of attention at the highest level, including an hour and a half meeting I had with President Yanukovych," said Kramer.

Paddington added that the Ukrainian government officials are interested in the results of studies Freedom House.

"They talked quite frankly to us. Some of them privately express disagreement with Yanukovych, particularly concerning the imprisonment of Tymoshenko. High level officials say they say that it was not their idea, that they did not support it, but President Yanukovych personally insisted on this," said Paddington.

 
 
 
 up