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PACE turns away from sweeping criticism of Russia to sober view of Ukrainian crisis

Western politicians have for the first time publicly criticized Ukraine’s current authorities

MOSCOW, April 23. /TASS/. Western politicians have for the first time publicly criticized Ukraine’s current authorities, because turning a blind eye on political killings, persecution, heroization of Nazism, corruption and crackdown on democracy in that country would be tantamount to outspoken cynicism, polled experts have told TASS.

On Wednesday, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe held special debates on Ukraine in which many of its members harshly criticized the authorities in Kiev. The leader of the political group Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, Jordi Xukla, accused Kiev of the lack of intention to make progress on the issue of regional elections in compliance with the Minsk Accords. The head of the group United Left, Tiny Kox, said that the corrupt political class and oligarchs were ruining the country from within and that the Ukrainian authorities were obliged to stop taking irresponsible laws and put an end to political killings. British socialist John Tomlinson told the PACE assembly the Ukrainian authorities’ actions were anything but inspiring and the situation by and large caused a feeling of despair. Ukraine’s delegate Yulia Lyovochkina was critical of the Ukrainian leadership, too. She complained about "killings of members of the former ruling party, corruption and the lack of the freedom of speech."

"We had cherished democracy, but we haven’t come a step closer to it," she said.

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowsky publicly criticized the Ukrainian parliament’s law on the legal status of veterans of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, which collaborated with the Nazis. And Poland’s Democratic Left Alliance at a special conference condemned the Ukrainian parliament’s decision to declare the Ukrainian Insurgent Army as independence fighters as a slam on Poland’s face.

"Whereas in the first months after the events in Kiev’s Independence Square the West remained under the spell of emotions and media reports of what was presented as a ‘revolution of dignity’ in Ukraine, with the passage of time the PACE delegates had to recognize the abuse of democratic norms and Kiev’s lack of responsibility and its guilt of human rights violations. PACE members developed a more objective vision of the situation in Ukraine and drew the world community’s attention to it, although without adopting a corresponding resolution," the head of the European political studies at the RAS Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Nadezhda Arbatova, told TASS.

"PACE delegates begin to open their eyes to what the Ukrainian leadership has been doing in reality. The Kiev authorities position themselves as European values-oriented liberals. But at the same time the president, the government and the Verkhovna Rada have taken a very tolerant attitude to ultra-right nationalist groups. These groups, such as the Right Sector, have become legal participants in Ukraine’s political affairs. The country’s authorities look like hostages of extremist forces nobody in Ukraine can call to order," Arbatova said.

"The methods of struggling with the opposition the authorities in Kiev employ are anything but democratic, which is well seen in the persecution of members of the former ruling Party of Regions and the Communist Party of Ukraine. Political assassinations are ever more frequent. Ukrainian parliament members indulge in a revision of history and the whitewashing of Nazi henchmen. All this proved a solid reason for the PACE members to ask questions about the responsibility of the Ukrainian leadership," Arbatova said.

"The psychopathy reigning in Kiev breeds many fears in the West, which is always wary of unpredictable partners. A democratic attitude to the opposition, the press, and the human rights have always been regarded as paramount values. In the meantime, Kiev has been rather arbitrary in interpreting these values, so the West is getting disillusioned with Ukraine," the chief of the Military and Political Studies Centre at the Moscow state institute of international relations MGIMO (University), Aleksey Podberyozkin has told TASS.

"That the PACE has developed a political turn away from indiscriminate condemnation of Russia towards criticizing the Ukrainian authorities means that West European politicians are getting back to realism. Europe is not interested in a further worsening of relations with Russia. Strassbourg, the PACE citadel, seems to be aware anti-Russian sanctions are futile and dangerous. It would be very good if the headquarters of the European Union in Brussels developed the same awareness, too. In a word, the US strategy of fanning tensions over Russia is in a dead end and has no future," Podberyozkin said.

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TASS may not share the opinions of its contributors