Timoshenko wants OSCE help to protect democratic values in Ukraine

RIA Novosti / Grigory Vasilenko
Opposition leader Yulia Timoshenko has discussed the current level of democracy in Ukraine with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis.

­The Ukrainian authorities’ recent moves to hamper the opposition’s activities are “unacceptable,” Azubalis said during his visit to Kiev. The government should not obstruct other parties’ activities, he added. Lithuania currently holds the chairmanship in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

He personally and the OSCE and “could not stay indifferent” to the situation in Ukraine, the minister said. The Lithuanian minister, a journalist by profession, expressed hope that Ukraine will remain leader in the area of press freedom in the region.

Many opposition figures have recently complained that the situation with political freedoms in Ukraine has recently deteriorated. Former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko has repeatedly said many criminal cases against her and ministers of the previous government were “politically motivated.”

The country’s top officials, however, deny any intentions of curbing opposition. They also said criminal investigations had been initiated against the current government’s officials as well.

Meanwhile, Timoshenko discussed the current situation with Azubalis, telling him that the Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party she heads “protects democratic values in Ukraine.”

The best way to defend achievements of a democratic revolution is building a genuine civil society, Timoshenko said in an article published this week by international media. Commenting on the events in Egypt and Tunisia, she stressed that “elections alone do not make a democracy.” She advised people in both countries not to be beguiled by “formal trappings.”