"Divisions over Tymoshenko tap into the profound fault lines that have threatened Ukraine's stability ever since it became an independent country in 1991," says former U.S. State Department Official

Apr 04, 2013, 18:15 ET from U.S.-Ukraine Observer

WASHINGTON, April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being released by the US-Ukraine Observer:

Former U.S. Department of State and Senate Foreign Relations Committee official Dr. Bruce Rickerson has noted that both supporters and detractors of jailed former Ukraine Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko have painted themselves into a corner over her conviction and has called on both sides to find a compromise solution in order to maintain Ukraine's stability.  Writing in the prestigious United Press International "Outside View" column, Rickerson writes:  "At this point, Ukraine can take two paths with respect to Tymoshenko. First, as things stand now, the relentless zero-sum-game continues, in which eventually either she or her critics (take your pick) stand forth as entirely innocent or entirely corrupt. Either way, the result is likely to pour gasoline on Ukraine's already smoldering embers, with negative consequences for the whole country.  Alternatively, both Tymoshenko's and the government's supporters can start to look for a way out of the corner they have painted themselves into. This would require something that has been almost entirely lacking in Ukraine's politics to date: a willingness to compromise and to admit that 'we' are not entirely right, and 'you' aren't entirely wrong."

Rickerson contends that despite remaining a key partner of the United States, including on nuclear non-proliferation and other national security issues, Ukraine's ongoing internal divisions bring into question Kiev's continued reliability as an international partner.   "Nowhere is this more evident than in the contention surrounding jailed opposition leader and former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko," writes Rickerson.  "Tymoshenko's supporters, in Ukraine and abroad, claim that the charges against her are unfounded and that the prosecutions are purely a political vendetta against her by Yanukovych and his unscrupulous supporters ... Conversely, Ukrainian prosecutors deny base political motives and insist that they have solid evidence against Tymoshenko for both the Shcherban killings and the bad gas deal with the Russians ... As with much else in Ukraine, where the truth lies is anyone's guess. But there's no avoiding the fact that the divisions over Tymoshenko tap into the profound fault lines that have threatened Ukraine's stability ever since it became an independent country in 1991," he continues.

In his commentary, Rickerson acknowledges that compromise is not easy even in a mature democracy such as the United States.  Rickerson writes: "It is even more difficult in a democracy as young as Ukraine's and where the relevant actors have invested so much political capital in demonizing their opponents. However difficult it might be for Ukrainians to achieve such a compromise and produce a 'win-win' solution based on mutual respect, doing so can only be of benefit to Ukraine's stability and international standing. By the same token, U.S. and other foreign observers would do well to look beyond today's contentious politicians to Ukraine's enduring potential as a valued and reliable partner."

Bruce M. Rickerson formerly served in a professional capacity with the Organization of American States, the U.S. Department of State, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and taught at the university level.

United Press International: "Resolving case of Ukraine's ex-premier would bolster U.S. ties" http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Analysis/Outside-View/2013/03/26/Outside-View-Resolving-case-of-Ukraines-ex-premier-would-bolster-US-ties/UPI-48831364272620/

SOURCE U.S.-Ukraine Observer