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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

A “flock of canards” for spin masters

On alleged Andrii Kliuiev-Yulia Tymoshenko meeting at Kachanivska Penal Colony…
13 February, 2014 - 11:43
Photo from the Day’s archives

Imagine that the Ya+Yu alliance, which failed to materialize in 2009, has been finally formed. In any case, versions of this were in the highlight of the Ukrainian media the other day. It is Kommersant Ukraina that leaked this news. The newspaper says that the newly-appointed Presidential Administration Chief Andrii Kliuiev went last week to the Kachanivska penal colony “to visit” ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko. Kommersant Ukraina quotes some sources in “the leadership of an opposition faction” as saying that the goal of their meeting was to join the efforts of the Party of Regions and Fatherland in the Verkhovna Rada and thus find a way out of the current situation. Presumably, if the Fatherland leader agrees to this, she will be freed, the Fatherland parliamentary faction chief will become the prime minister, and this country will regain the 2004 Constitution. The publication does say what benefit the government will derive from this.

Many Ukrainian media almost immediately reprinted this news. And, also almost in a flash, both sides denied this information.

“I read this in Kommrsant and have no other information. I cannot even comment on this without having any information,” Serhii Soboliev, deputy leader of the Fatherland parliamentary faction, told the Espresso TV channel. He did not rule out that this information might be a canard and stressed again that there was no information about the possibility of these talks.

“Kliuiev did not meet Tymoshenko,” Artem Petrenko, a spokesman of the Presidential Administration, told The Day. “I can assure you of this.”

Nor is it known about this “high-level meeting” to Ihor Kolpashchikov, superintendent of the Kachanivska penal colony in which the ex-premier serves her sentence.

“It is ruled out,” the ex-premier’s lawyer Oleksandr Plakhotniuk said curtly.

But, at the same time, none of the sides mentioned in the “disinformation report” wish to comment: if it is a hoax, who asked for it and for what purpose? Who do they want to discredit with this “story”: Tymoshenko or Kliuiev? And who stands to gain from slinging mud at them?

Meanwhile, the prompt denials have puzzled some political scientists. “It would be wrong to say that there are no talks at all between representatives of Yanukovych and Tymoshenko,” political scientist Maksym Rozumny comment to The Day. “Obviously, there are daily consultations. Such are the rules of the game and the style of relationships inside the national political-oligarchic class.”

If we still assume that these talks were held, what could be their “catalyst”?

The Fatherland parliamentary faction comments off-record: Yanukovych could interpret Tymoshenko’s demand that the faction should discontinue the talks with the leadership and not agree to the changing of the Constitution as a possibility to use the ex-premier as an “ally.” If this is true, the impression is that the current conflict and its escalation are under control of Tymoshenko’s men. And it is the threat of sanctions that prompted Yanukovych to seek an agreement with the person whom he mistrusts perhaps the most and from whom he received by far the largest number of blows. Another opinion that these talks may be really underway is that neither Klitschko, nor Tiahnybok, nor, of course, Yatseniuk, nor even all the three combined, have as much political clout as Tymoshenko has – even behind bars. This version is of benefit for the ex-premier herself. She is thus accumulating assets.

“The opposition [Yatseniuk, Tiahnybok, Klitschko. – Author] does not know how to negotiate with the Regionnaires,” comments a Party of Regions MP who preferred not to disclose his identity. “The flop of the ‘constitutional conspiracy’ and failure to muster votes for their own draft laws is the latest proof of this.”

At the same time, there are a lot of factors that make this “alliance” impossible. Take, for example, the story of the previous rapprochement between Yanukovych and Tymoshenko. The former pushed off his unforeseen partner when the “alliance” was just a step away. So Kliuiev, who was then the negotiator, knows very well the details, Tymoshenko herself, and her character.

“The combination is too complicated, and disclosing just some fragments of information is in all probability an element of certain backstage schemes and deals now in the making,” Rozumny says. “In reality, the goal of these ‘leaks’ may be a wish to hide the true intentions and deals between the main political players well before they might be exposed and neutralized.”

By Yulia LUCHYK, The Day