Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Czech-Ukrainian connection

The website of the Czech newspaper Lidové noviny (The people’s news) has an arresting headline: Another Ukrainian politician has fled to the Czech Republic seeking asylum.
Ukrainian former opposition legislator with an ultranationalist past Andrij Shkil, facing criminal prosecution, has fled from Ukraine to the Czech Republic, where he may apply for political asylum.

Because he didn’t get enough votes for a legislative seat in this year’s elections, he has lost his immunity and, for the first time in ten years, Ukrainian authorities may prosecute him.
It’s a sticky issue for the Czech government. They’re no fans of the way the Ukrainian government handles itself, and the country has staked out a role as a clear voice for human rights. On the other hand (there’s always an other hand, isn’t there), the country is also heavily dependent on supplies of Russian natural gas, which transit Ukraine, so they don’t want to be cavalier about pissing them off.

Shkil is “another” refugee because of the following:
In January of this year the Czech Republic granted political asylum to Oleksandr Tymoshenko, the husband of the former premier [Julie Tymoshenko], who is in jail for alleged abuse of the premier’s authority in signing treaties concerning supplies of raw materials from Russia. Additionally, in February of last year, Bohdan Danylyshin received political asylum in the Czech Republic; the former economics minister is accused in Ukraine with misuse of ministerial authority in negotiating government purchases.
There's yet another Ukrainian asylum case garnering purient interest, that of Anastasia Hagen, a former porn star. She was facing jail for filming porn and would be separated from her three children. So she fled with them to the Czech Republic and has requested asylum there. So far, the Czech government is refusing, saying she doesn't meet the conditions for refugee status. So she stripped and stood outside the Czech parliament building holding one of her kids.

Never a dull moment.

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