Former president Viktor Yanukovych has not shown up for interrogation at the office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine. On the other hand, I do not think he really was expected there.
Yanukovych had not fled to his Russian masters from Ukraine in order to have discussions with investigators and tell them about crimes that, upon review, may turn out to be crimes of Vladimir Putin. And Yanukovych’s agreement to provide some evidence by videoconferencing cannot be taken seriously either. Yanukovych simply cannot tell the truth as long as he is in Russia. What kind of evidence is conceivable under the barrel of Putin’s gun? Even before Maidan there were discussions about Russian threats to remove or even murder Yanukovych if he refused to carry out Putin’s wishes. Putin’s intense pressure on his colleagues — Yanukovych and the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan — led to their rejection of the policy of European integration.
Moreover, observers in Moscow claimed that in both cases it was precisely a question of intimidation. Sergzyan developed Armenia’s disastrous foreign policy without even consulting his own circle. Armenia’s leaders learned that their country would not sign the association agreement with the European Union from a news release. That fact alone demonstrates the level of Putin’s pressure and the kinds of arguments this former employee of Soviet intelligence services must have used.
Putin was even tougher with Yanukovych. In addition, at the time that Yanukovych rejected the association agreement with Europe, he was surrounded by Russian agents, and his intelligence services and army were controlled by Moscow. He had ceased to be president of Ukraine and had become a governor of Malorossia (“Little Russia”) long before his departure.
And now this former governor is supposed to give evidence at the General Prosecutor’s Office of a foreign country. And at his back is his master — ready to kill for any careless word.
The real questioning of Yanukovych can take place only after the collapse of the Russian political regime and the extradition of the terrified crook to Ukraine. But it is best to interrogate Yanukovych together with Putin and other Russian war criminals at a special tribunal on the crimes of the Kremlin and its agents.
This tribunal could be formed by Ukraine and the new Russian government that appears after the dismantling of Putin’s regime. It would be the best inoculation against the return of Putinism and Russian chauvinism in any form.