I have not written about Ukraine in a long while, precisely because any semblance of democracy is being systematically dismantled by Victor Yanukovich and his mafia thugs. But perhaps it is time for people in Ukraine to start thinking about an alternative to getting rid of the current government which is making sure it effectively rigs the next election.
This week, Yuriy Lutsenko, the Interior Minister under Yulia Tymoshenko, was sentenced to four years in jail and a three year ban from public office. Since Yulia Tymoshenko is already there for seven years, Yanukovich and his oligarchs are effectively destroying any attempt by the opposition to contest the next election in 2015. This latest outrage has brought the usual "serious concern" response from the diplomats in the EU and the US.
This is not enough. A little of the pictured spirit would do fine.
Let's get something straight. Yanukovich is destroying the political freedom of Ukraine and doing so by blatantly charging opponents with his version of crimes. Tymoshenko was condemned for negotiating a bad deal on gas with the Russians - something even Putin could not understand. Lutsenko was convicted of giving an apartment to his attorney and other financial atrocities - like increasing his driver's pension.
So - when push comes to shove and Yanukovich (with a popularity of 15%) is hopefully dragged out into the street by an angry mob - what should his punishment be (if he survives)? For betraying the nascent democracy. For handing Ukraine to the Kremlin. For putting table lamps in his new office that each cost $10,000 and fittings in his bathroom for 300,000 Euro while Ukraine's economy shrinks. For jailing his opposition.
It is possible to kill a country in other ways than the methods now being undertaken by Assad of Syria. The punishment , however, should be the same. And it should not wait until 2015. Sometimes, talking is not enough.