Two days ago, as my twitter and Facebook followers will have seen, I highlighted this from the presidential website.
It is official recognition from the President that a formal plea from numerous female RADA MPs have petitioned for Tymoshenko’s pardon and the petition has been formally recorded and recognised.
It is not the first petition for her pardon the president has received – there have been many – but it is the first I have seen acknowledged in such a way.
The following day, it was followed by a similar appeal by historical members of the Ukrainian diplomatic corps.
Previously I forecast that Yuri Lutsenko would be released on the occasion of the Orthodox Easter, but he was released 3 weeks earlier than my crystal ball declared. That said, I made that prediction at the beginning of February, so perhaps it was a little smudged when I gazed in it.
Could it have been so smudged that I mistook the release of Lutsenko for Tymoshenko and yet the timing between 28th April and 5 May will still prove to be accurate?
It certainly wouldn’t be a bad time to do it for numerous reasons, if that is the decision.
Obviously the symbolism of releasing a woman due to an all female petition, together with if not the resurrection of an omnipresent – the rehabilitation (in part or in full) of a foe by a president many consider likes to think of himself as omnipresent, could sit very well with the Orthodox faithful during the Orthodox Easter.
Symbolism aside, the United Opposition are in something of a mess when it comes to leadership and discipline, Kyrylenko resigning as Deputy Leader of the United Opposition yesterday and MPs leaving, and yet another enormous ego in the shape of Tymoshenko’s entering the daily fray would probably prove more divisive than unifying for them in the medium term – possibly immediately.
Particularly so as there will be those dreading her release amongst the United Opposition just as there were Lutsenko’s release – and for good reason when it comes to personal ambitions. For them the question is whether Tymoshenko is indeed a spent force amongst opposition parliamentary politics or not.
It would also allow 18 months for any warm (be it very warm or lukewarm) reception from the public she may receive upon release to have cooled greatly prior to presidential elections in 2015, as well as defining her reception amongst an opposition that has moved on somewhat, without her.
Naturally it would all-but guarantee the signing of the EU Association Agreement and DCFTA in Vilnius in November, despite many other demands Ukraine may fail to fulfill in their entirety to the EU time line.
It is though, an agreement document that will forever go down in Ukrainian history with the signature of President Yanukovych thereon. Something history will never be able to deny him. History will equally record his failure to engineer its success. Let us not underestimate ego.
Perhaps most importantly, and therefore the most unlikely to be mentioned immediately by many, for Yanukovych’s reelection ambitions, should the agreements get signed, it may very well help prevent the further courting of a fairly disgruntled traditionally Party of Regions biased oligarchy with potential new lovers in both Klitschko and Yatseniuk – something that has recently been happening albeit tentatively.
None will back Tymoshenko if released and able to stand for election – “anybody but her” is still very much the current thinking amongst the vast majority of that particular clique.
It maybe that her release, in true Ukrainian style, is done at the very last minute prior to the Vilnius Summit in November – but I doubt that. If not at Easter, then possibly during the summer RADA recess. If not by then, then probably not prior to the Vilnius Summit at all.
Whatever the case, the announcement on the presidential website does raise speculation – if not necessarily the odds – of it happening soon.
I will certainly not need to sit down due to shock, should her release come far sooner than most have anticipated – not that on-going investigations would stop.
It also has to be said, I will also not be surprised if her reception amongst the opposition parties and many of their supporters is far cooler than she may expect either.