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Matteo Cazzulani

Tymoshenko: The Hot Topic in the Italian Political Debate During Summer Time

The MP of the conservative PDL party Daniela Santanché compared Former Italian PM Sivlio Berlusconi with the Leader of Ukrainian Democratic Opposition, whereas the member of center-left Democratic Party Carlo Borghetti invited not to compare a matter of justice with a clear HR violation. The debate, that was entirely filed with internal politics, is a missed opportunity for Italy to stand up for the respect of HR in Central Eastern Europe

Yulia Tymoshenko during her trial, author: Matteo Cazzulani, source: archives of the author;  © by Matteo Cazzulani

Yulia Tymoshenko during her trial, author: Matteo Cazzulani, source: archives of the author; © by Matteo Cazzulani

CESENATICO – Could Yulia Tymoshenko, the leader of Ukrainian democratic ‘orange’ opposition, be compared with Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian tycoon, who acted for several years as the Italian PM?

The matter irrupted in the Italian political debate on Tuesday, August 8th, when MP Daniela Santanché, a member of the conservative PDL party -which was founded and is led by Berlusconi- made a comparison between former Italian PM and the Leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Opposition.

MP Santanché argued that Berlusconi should accept to go to prison after the Italian Supreme Court sentenced him to four years of jail for tax evasion and frauds. MP Santanché also accused the Italian Judiciary of acting to eliminate former PM from Italian politics.

Carlo Borghetti, a member of center-left Democratic Party, invited MP Santanché not to confuse a matter of justice -Berlusconi’s condemnation- with a clear case of HR violation, as Tymoshenko imprisonment is. Borghetti also underlined that Mrs. Tymoshenko is actually jailed in a peripheral penal colony without the medical treatments she needs to nurse a critical health situation. She is also beaten and spied in his private room in the prison by the police.

The Democratic Party’s member also said that Mrs Tymoshenko, unlike Berlusconi, was condemned to seven years of jail due to political motivations, as the signature of gas contracts with Russia in 2009: a political decision that guaranteed Europe stable gas supplies from Russia through Ukraine.

The Italian debate about Tymoshenko deal

Despite of a traditional lack of interest towards Ukraine -and more in general towards Central Eastern Europe- Santanché and Borghetti are not the sole Italian politicians that raised the theme of Tymoshenko’s situation in the Italian political debate.

Former Speaker of the Lower House of the Italian Parliament Gianfranco Fini -the leader of conservative FLI party- during a discussion in the Parliament expressed solidarity and support to Tymoshenko and other Ukrainian dissidents repressed by the Ukrainian regime on behalf of all political forces.

Dario Franceschini, past Democratic Party’s Spokesman in the Lower House, expressed deep concern about the situation of Mrs Tymoshenko and, more in general, about the regress of democracy and HR in Ukraine.

MPs Gianni Vernetti and Enrico Farinone, therefore members of Lower House’s Foreign Affairs Committee -and also members of centrist UDC and center-left Democratic Party- worked for a resolution to require Tymoshenko’s liberation, then adopted by the Lower House in May 2012.

Also former Rome’s Mayor Gianni Alemanno, a member of  PDL party, stood up for Tymoshenko. He was the one Italian Mayor to expose in the Capitol of a billboard to support the liberation of the leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Opposition.

A comparison between a case of justice and a HR violation

The comparison of Tymoshenko with Berlusconi is quite inopportune, because of the substantial difference between the situation of the leader of Ukrainian Democratic Opposition and the case of former Italian PM.

On the one hand, Tymoshenko is a victim of a selective prosecution provided by the Ukrainian Judiciary, which is totally controlled by the Ukrainian Presidential Administration, in order to exclude the charismatic leader of the Democratic Opposition from Ukrainian political scenario.

On the other hand, Berlusconi, who while serving as the PM of Italy moved the Parliament to pass several bills to block the lawsuits on some felonies he committed before he became a politician, was processed by an independent Court of a democratic state that guaranteed him full right of defense.

Tymoshenko’s deal in Italy was raised by the PDL party -which never stood up to ask for Tymoshenko’s liberation, despite Berlusconi and Tymoshenko are both members of the EPP- just to fuel the internal political debate.

The debate on Tymoshenko will thus remain a polemical confrontation about the opportunity for PDL to stay in the ruling ‘Big Coalition’ with the Democratic Party after Berlusconi condemnation.

Unhappily, the matter won’t become an opportunity for Italy to stand up for the respect of Democracy and HR in Ukraine and CEE.

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