Ukraine: Not Iceland?

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

This article is part of our special report EU-Ukraine Relations.

Iceland and Ukraine, two countries that aim at joining the EU and that both had their former leaders prosecuted for abuse of authority, seem to be treated in a completely different way, writes Kost Bondarenko of the Institute of Ukrainian Politics.

Kost Bondarenko is a historian and political scientist. He is also the head of the Institute of Ukrainian Politics in Kyiv.

"In Iceland the former prime minister is facing trial, not for corruption, but for negligence in connection with the handling of the country's financial crisis in 2008. Geir Haarde risks being put behind bars for two years. Ironically, Iceland, like Ukraine, has set the goal to join the European Union.

I wonder whether Brussels protects Haarde as well as Ukraine's Yulia Tymoshenko, since the former was the leader of the opposition – the Independence party – and the charges against him are politically motivated?

However, the Independence party is not an observer in the European People's Party. Haarde does not wear braid, he is not a fan of expensive clothing brands, and he is not a woman. He did not deliver speeches at Maidan. He did not trade natural gas and was not involved in the process of primary accumulation of capital. This is where he is different from Tymoshenko, the former Ukrainian prime minister jailed for abusing her powers.

But there are certain principles, right?

I think if European politicians are not hypocrites, we now have to see the statements of Martens, Brok, Heller, Tannock, Roitova and others to protect Haarde. Several resolutions of the European Parliament should appear to express concerns regarding the level of democracy in Iceland.

Opposition tents should appear at the court building in Reykjavik with Haarde portraits and slogans: “He did not give up!”, "He works! He is Iceland!", "Justice is worth fighting for!". President Ólafur Ragnar Grimsson should be declared dictator and ignored in European countries (Of course! He has led the country for four terms!).

Ambassadors of European states should sit in the hall of some district court and listen as the judge presides over the court. Then there should be a statement that the European future of Iceland directly depends on charges being dropped against Haarde and his inclusion into the political process. There also should be an article in The New York Times signed by the five foreign ministers under the header "Iceland's Slide".

Similarly, Russia should express concern – President-elect Vladimir Putin should protest concerning the trial of former Prime Minister Haarde.

And Hillary Clinton should protest against political oppression. And Haarde will become a candidate for the Nobel Prize.

After all, if we were to be consistent, we should be consistent to the end.

But for some reason now I want to paraphrase well-known Ukrainian poet Pavlo Tychyna:

"To whom we talk?

Havel is in grave, Barroso is silent".

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