Support The Moscow Times!

Tymoshenko Starts Online Prison Diary

Jailed former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has started an online diary, titled "Truth From Behind the Bars," published on the website of the Ukrainska Pravda newspaper.

Tymoshenko, who is currently serving a seven year sentence for exceeding her authority in signing a gas contract with Russia in 2009, now faces charges of murdering a local politician in 1996. She has been undergoing treatment in hospital for over a year while in custody.

In her diary, the first entries of which were published on May 15 and 16, Tymoshenko claims that the prison administration did not allow her to attend a Kiev court on Wednesday, where a witness in the murder investigation against her was to be questioned.

"The authorities were simply afraid that my presence in court during the questioning of witnesses would completely prove the unlawfulness of the case against me over the deputy's tragic death," she wrote.

In late January, prosecutor general Viktor Pshonka accused Tymoshenko and another former premier, Pavlo Lazarenko, of ordering the killing of Ukrainian businessman and lawmaker Yevhen Shcherban in November 1996. A Ukrainian parliamentary lawmaker who also headed Ukraine's Aton financial corporation, Shcherban was shot dead with his wife at Donetsk airport in eastern Ukraine.

The Prosecutor General's Office suspects Tymoshenko and Lazarenko of paying $2.8 million for his murder. Tymoshenko has denied involvement in the Shcherban murder. If found guilty, she faces life imprisonment.

Tymoshenko and her supporters claim the investigations into her are part of a political witch-hunt by her rival, President Viktor Yanukovich, which he denies.

The European Union has said that closer ties between Kiev and the EU are conditional on fair treatment for Tymoshenko.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

The Moscow Times’ team of journalists has been first with the big stories on the coronavirus crisis in Russia since day one. Our exclusives and on-the-ground reporting are being read and shared by many high-profile journalists.

We wouldn’t be able to produce this crucial journalism without the support of our loyal readers. Please consider making a donation to The Moscow Times to help us continue covering this historic time in the world’s largest country.