Ukraine: From Democracy to Chaos (2012) - full transcript


November December 2004,

across the planet, eyes
are riveted on Ukraine.

Tens of thousands of Ukrainians
camp out in the freezing cold

to protest against fraud
in the presidential elections.

Democratic candidate, Viktor
Yushchenko has been poisoned.

Viktor Yanukovych, the
pro Russian candidate

of the regime,

has been falsely
declared victorious

Vladimir Putin
congratulates him.

After years of repression,
the people stand firm,

in the name of justice and

freedom, in the
name of democracy.


Round table discussions
led by the EU

lead to a third round
in the elections.

On the 26th of December
2004, Viktor Yushchenko

is elected president.

He and his ally Yulia
Tymoshenko promise

to bring democracy
to Ukraine.

8 years on, what has
become of the heroes

of the revolution
and their promises?

What has become of the hopes and
dreams of the Ukrainian people?

What cloud has hung over
this nation for centuries?

Democracy emerges in Ukraine
during the 16th century.

Groups of Ukrainians flee
their harsh serfdom in Poland

to settle on the green steppes
along the river Dniepr.

Fervent Christians
and fierce warriors

they create a community
protected by a

military unit called
Sitch Zaparog.

Their leader is elected.

Free men, rebels,
they are the cossacks!

The way they chose their leaders
was democratic. They voted.

This is at a time when,
who voted in Europe?

It was the monarchies,
it was the divine ruler

which comes from God and his
descendent becomes the next one!


Every Cossack came,
take off his hat

and put to the feet
of his candidate,

and who had more hats, he won.

So democratic procedure, yes.

In 1654 Bohdan Kmelnytsky,

the father of the
Ukrainian nation,

leads a massive revolt
against the Poles.

Forced into retreat he signs an
agreement with the Russian Tsar.

Unknowingly he signs
away Ukrainian

freedom to Russia for
centuries to come.

In 1917 the October revolution

puts an end to the
Tsarist empire,

Ukraine takes advantage
of the chaos

and declares its independence.

9 months later, the Red
army crushes the rebels.

In 1922 Lenin creates the USSR.

For the Bolsheviks, Ukraine
still belongs to Russia.

But the Ukrainians will
never be Russians.


In 1927 Joseph Stalin becomes
the new master of the USSR.

The last thing Stalin wants in
Ukraine, is free thinking people

but he needs the wealth of its
land, its cereals, its coal

and human machines to
serve the soviet state.

In 1928 Stalin's five year
plan makes Ukraine the

industrial motor of the USSR,
but the peasants resist.

In the early 1930s Stalin
organises a state famine,


The Ukrainians are refused
the right

to search for food elsewhere.

Their land becomes their
prison and their grave.

7 million die of starvation.

In the meantime propaganda
films show well fed

children and loudspeakers
relay patriotic songs.

Stalin dies in 1953.

The population is
duly unconsolable.

The master seems to
have orchestrated

the national mourning...

Throughout Soviet times, the
so called 'province' of

Ukraine continues to be
economically vital to the USSR.

It is also the

of Soviet leaders,
intellectuals and writers.

The Ukrainian people
are some of the

highest educated in
the Soviet union

and the workforce for
the rising nuclear

and atomic industries
during the cold war.

When I think about
the Soviet times,

I remember a lot of humiliation.

It was really hard to
get very simple things like a

tooth brush, tooth
paste, soap, or shampoo,

you had to stand
in very long lines

to have these basic things.

It was very sick, very
ill, in its nature.

And also imagine
what it was like

to be Ukrainian
under the Soviet rule.

For many generations this
nation felt that the

very fact of its existence
was under huge question.

As a school boy, I
remember my school was

the only Ukrainian
school downtown Kiev

where kids could
study maths or

physics in their
native language.


On the 6th of April, 1986

the nuclear power station of
Chernobyl in Ukraine explodes.

At least 10,000 Ukrainians
and Beloussians will die.

Only the nomenclatura is
informed of the accident

and its gravity.

Chernobyl is 50 miles
from Kiev, the capital.

Ukrainian people are
informed 4 weeks later.

Chernobyl also causes the
Ukrainian political scene

to explode.

A party for
independence is created

by ecologists and intellectuals.

In 1989 in Germany

the Berlin wall is torn
down by the population.

A wind of change is
sweeping across the USSR.

In 1990, Lithuania
declares its independence.

And in Ukraine a human
chain crosses the country

the people sing,

Mother Moscow we want
to be made orphans.


The first tent city on
Maidan which I remember,

happened when young students,

2 or 3 hundred of them,

they went to the central square
of the communist capital

of the soviet Ukraine

and they protested against
the communist rule.

On the 24th of August 1991,

the conservative
faction of the KGB

attempts a putsch
against Gorbatchev

who wants to reform the USSR.

Boris Yeltsin intervenes and
emerges as the new leader.

There was this
feeling of optimism.

At the same time nobody knew how
quickly things would fall apart,

so when the coup happened,
it was also extraordinary

in the Maidan,

which then was the
October Revolution square,

people were standing there

and the police barriers
were up, protecting...

and then on the day
that the coup ended,

I remember clearly
being in the square

and the police barricades just
melted and people surged hmmm.


We had this feeling,
this flavour of miracle

which we had the chance
to see with our own eyes.

I was 15 years old at that time

but I clearly
remember this feeling

of inspiration, enthusiasm

which the country was full
of, it was wonderful.

The very same day, on the
24th of September 1991,

Ukrainian parliament, RADA,

declares the
independence of Ukraine.



On the 1st of
December 1991,

Leonid Kravchuk, the
former president

of the Soviet Socialist
Republic of Ukraine,

is elected president.


But independence
is not for free

and although Russian gas
transits through Ukraine,

Ukraine has a gas debt towards
Russia of 80 million dollars.

Yeltsin declares,

either Ukraine enters
the CIS or it pays up.

The gas blackmail between
Russia and Ukraine has begun.

Pro Russian Crimea becomes

an autonomous republic
within Ukraine.

The Black Sea is shared.

20 percent for Ukraine and
80 percent for Russia.

Russian flags fly in the
port of Sebastopol.

Independence means the
creation of a constitution,

of laws, of an army,
of a police force.

But over the centuries,

religious faith has been the
only refuge for the population.

They create a independent
Ukrainian Orthodox church

with a Kiev Patriarchy.

Kravtchouk is a bad manager.

And in 1994, he is replaced
by Leonid Kuchma

ex director of the strategic
missile complex of the USSR.

His slogan,

With Kuchma your factory
will take to its wings.

He abolishes the parliamentary

constitution to give
himself more power.

Kuchma comes from
Dnipropetrovsk, near Donbass,

in the industrial heart of
the USSR created by Stalin.

The east of Ukraine is
predominantly Russian speaking

because that was the common
language of the miners

who were brought into that
area to mine the coal.

It was also one of the major
centres of communist influence.

It was the great
patriotic miners

fighting for the
future of the country.

They were
heavily rewarded.

They were
some of the highest

paid workers in
the Soviet Union.

They were given incredibly
special status.

So, over a period of time,
there has been a natural

arrogance, if you
like, developed.

We are the best of the
people of Ukraine.

Kuchma launches a massive
privatization programme,

which favours his
family and friends,

especially in the energy
and media sectors.

He has started to create a
select clan of oligarchs.

An enterprising young couple,

Yulia Tymoshenko
and her husband,

seize this opportunity

and successfully create
different businesses

before entering
the gas industry.

Their company quickly becomes
the biggest intermediary

for Russian gas in Ukraine.

From now on the young women
is called the gas princess.

At the time, her dubious deals
with Russian businessmen

even lead to an
investigation by Interpol.

In both Russia and
Ukraine, the richest

oligarchs make their
fortunes in energy.

I believe the Americans
created the oligarchs.

I was working in Russia in a
mass privatization program,

where we were handing
out certificates

in one room to the
workers in factories

and they were then
selling them to

the general director
of the factory

for a bottle of vodka and ten
dollars in the next room.

And I can remember
having a discussion

with one of the very
senior people from USAID

and I said "This is crazy, we're
just making this man very rich."

This person turned
to me and said,

Martin you don't understand.

I have a briefing from the
president of the United States

to kill communism.

The only way we're going
to kill communism

is by killing the
economic basis of it."

Exactly the same thing
happened in Ukraine.

The process of privatization
was different

but there was no control
over the privatization.

Therefore it was a carve up.

The law was so badly
worded you could

drive a brigade of
tanks through it.

Some of them grew rich
at the point of a gun,

some of them grew rich

because they were extremely
good businessmen.

Some of them just happened to be

the right person in the right
place at the right time.

Since independence the
Mafia and banditry

have thrived in Donietsk,

at the heart of the coal
industry in the DOMBASS.

Kuchma's privatisations

also legalised these new
businessmen bandits.

In return, they promise
him obedience.

One of the bright young men who
is making a name for himself

in this sinister world
is Rinat Akhmetov.

He is the protege of the
Godfather of Donietsk,

the sponsor of the
football team Shaktar.

Akhmetov's benefactor is
mysteriously assassinated

in the stadium built
for his club.

Akmetov inherits not only the
club, but his whole estate.

The president and the
security service

would collect intelligence

on the corruption undertaken
by the oligarchs

and those files would
be kept under wraps

just as long as the oligarchs

were politically loyal
to the president.

If they stepped out of line,
the files would come out

and they would go on trial.

So it was a blackmail state.

St Sophie's Cathedral

belongs to all orthodox
churches in Kiev.

On the 18th of July 1995

the Ukrainian orthodox community
tries to bury its patriarch.

But the Russian orthodox
church bars the passage.

Kuchma sends in
the riot police.


In despair, the
congregation buries him

outside the walls
of the cathedral.


Repression is back

and Kuchma clearly shows
that his convictions

lie with the Russian
orthodox church,

the powerful tool of the KGB.


Fraud helps Kuchma win the
presidential elections in 1998.

His clan's control of resources,

corruption the muzzling of
the media, repression...

have all seriously
tarnished his image.

He needs a good
honest prime minister.

Victor Yushchenko, the head
of the national bank,

and creator of the new
currency, the Gryvna,

is considered by
Forbes magazine to be

one of the best
economists in the world.

A fervent patriot, he's
the man for the job.


On the 3rd of November 2000,

a mutilated and headless body

is found in a shallow grave
in a forest near Kiev.

The man is wearing the chain
and ring of Georgiy Gongadze,

a journalist from
Ukrainski Pravda.

Gongadze's caustic
articles and interviews

regularly incriminate
the president.

The media belongs
to Kuchma's clan

and few voices dare speak out.

For Gongadze's colleagues

this is a pre meditated

500 journalists demonstrate
against the regime

and demand freedom
of the press.


Melynchenko wants the
recordings to be made public.

The leader of the socialist
party, Oleksandr Moroz

has Kuchma's voice validated.


Gongadze, the lack of freedom of
the press, enough is enough.

The crowd takes to the floor.

The movement is called
Ukraine without Kuchma.


In parliament, Kuchma's clan
makes the most of the moment

to fire Yulia Tymoshenko

who has become the
minister for energy.

Yulia Tymoshenko is arrested
on the 13th of February, 2000.

On the 2nd of April,
thanks to the

anti Kuchma demonstrations,
she is liberated.

When she leaves
prison she has a new

traditional Ukrainian hairstyle.

The next on the list
is Victor Yushchenko.

He is fired from his
position of prime minister

Yulia Tymoshenko and
Victor Yushchenko's parties

join forces in opposition
to the regime.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.


On the 7th of May 2000.

Vladimir Putin is elected
president of Russia.

For Kuchma, Putin is a God send.

The Gongadze affair has
left deep scars,

the population is angry, his
clan is less manageable,

he needs help from outside,

and Putin couldn't ask for more.

His aim is to rebuild
an empire for Russia

like in the good old
days of the USSR.

Kuchma makes more trips to
Moscow than to his datcha.

Commercial deals are
made by the dozen

and the delicate problem of
gas is left in the cupboard,

for the time being...

For the 10th anniversary
of Independence

a massive parade is organised

in honour of Vladimir Putin.

But another matter
preoccupies the two men.

Kuchma cannot stand for
presidency a third time.

They need to prepare
a candidate

who is pro Russian and can
be easily manipulated.

Viktor Yanukovych is the leader
of the Party of Regions

created in 2001 in
the East of Ukraine

by the oligarch Rinat Akhmetov,

the political sponsor
of Viktor Yanukovych.


The files concerning the
criminal past of Yanukovych,

sentenced twice for
robbery, are carefully

kept under wraps by
the KGB in Moscow.

As planned, prime minister
Yanukovych becomes

the presidential candidate
for the regime.

Kuchma publicly
declares that these

elections will be the
most terrifying ever.


The candidate in the orange
camp is Viktor Yushchenko.

Supported by the West he
stands for democracy,

justice and Ukrainian values,

and he has the charisma
of a John F Kennedy.

On the 5th of September,
late in the evening,

Yushchenko leaves Kiev
for a dinner party

organised by a member of the
Ukrainian secret services

at his datcha.

Over the next few days

Yushchenko's body is
covered with an

infected blister like eruption.

His doctors immediately
dispatch him

to Vienna to consult

According to the tests
Yushchenko has been poisoned

by a form of Dioxine

which has belated effects on
body organs and leads to death.

The cruel irony is
that this poison

used by the Americans
in the Vietnam war

is called agent orange.

But it is also
fabricated by the KGB.

Just to show that the
attacks are not selective

a fortnight later,
Putin's PR team who

are running the
Yanukovych campaign

stage an attack on
their candidate

in a pro Yushchenko town.

The grenade is an egg

Kuchma and Putin are beginning
to have a few doubts

On the 21st November, the
second round of elections

confronts the two
main candidates.

Everyone is expecting
election fraud.

Ukrainian NGOs like PORA

are trained by American NGOS
to obtain democratic elections.

Lots of observers are
coming into our country

to check if our elections
were falsified or not.

But in our country we were able
to falsify the elections

and to falsify the freedom
of speech during 70 years.

Do you think it is very easy
to come and put an end to it?

Just because you
come from the West ?

It's not so easy because
we have lots of practice.

I was at home in my native
town in Tchernigiv

and I was an observer.

We counted the votes all
night, like several hours

we were counting and
then I went home.

When I woke up
in the morning

my mum was shocked.

And then I realised
something happened.

And she said Iryna, you
know, you should go...



I was one of those
young people

who didn't care about
politics at all.

I would rather watch some
TV show than the news.

Why would I? I was like,
24, 25.

But, when this happened... in
2004, and they announced that

Yanukovych was our president.

We all knew it was
such a lie and

we could see it
with our own eyes.

So the president
was Yanukovych!

I started crying.

I went outside and that's where

everything started
for me personally.

I spent the whole night
on Kreshchiatic street

where people had already
started together.


In spite of the
barricades and nails

placed on the roads
by the regime,

hundreds and thousands of
Ukrainians flock to the capital

by bus, by car, by
train, on foot.

Kreshchiatic, the main
street in Kiev and Maidan,

Independence square,
fill up with tents.

A tent for each region.

Maidan becomes a
map of Ukraine.


People from Kiev brought
food to Maidan.

Old ladies with nothing to eat,
gave their last crust of bread,

but as the days went by we
became more and more organised.

We conquered the
Ukrainian House

where people who were freezing
cold could sleep a little

warm up, take
medicine, eat something.

You could see on Maidan
women bringing tea and

little sandwiches and they gave

and they didn't
asked to be paid.



It wasn't about
Washington or Moscow,

it was about those people who

went on the Maidan.

They were risking themselves,

they knew they could
lose their jobs.

At some point, they knew that
there was risk of fight.

There was a danger
of being killed.

The first 7 days
of the revolution

are the most dangerous.

The population knows
that Ukrainian troops

have been ordered to
encircle the capital.

These soldiers are their
brothers, their cousins.

They have been given
real bullets.

Russian troops, disguised in
Ukrainian uniforms,

are en route for Kiev.






The blue camp is
near the station,

where miners and
other supporters

arrive from the East.

There are few women.

But Viktor Yanukovych has
brought along a secret weapon,

Mrs. Yanukovych.


When we climbed the hill,
we saw blue tents,

Yanukovych's supporters.

They were a bit aggressive,
but I squeezed

the hand of my friend
and I said just

keep smiling
and be friendly,

and then a crowd form
Maidan started to arrive.

I was really scared, because

violence can break
out at any moment,

but they started to shout
East and West together.

It was very important,

because the West of
Ukraine was for Yushchenko

and the East of Ukraine
was for Yanukovych.



Election fraud has been
officially confirmed,

and the Europeans ask
Kuchma to call for a

round table discussion
to reach a solution.

Yulia Tymoshenko is not invited.

She is on the streets.

Her objective is
to avoid violence

between Ukrainians
at all costs.

Collin Powell calls Kuchma
from the United states.

If the troops move in,
the bank accounts of

Ukrainian oligarchs in the
US will be closed.

Kuchma makes a flying
visit to Moscow

to get Putin's endorsement.

On his return a deal is made.

Victor Yanukovych knows
that the show is over.

He feels betrayed.

Leonid Kuchma obtains
complete immunity.

The election commissions
will be replaced,

there will be another
round of elections

and a new constitution
will return Ukraine

to a parliamentary
republic by 2006.


One month later the Ukrainians
vote for the third time.

Victor Yushchenko becomes the
new president of Ukraine.


Freedom is when people
can speak freely,

but democracy is when
the government listens.

The Orange Revolution brought
a very high expectation,

for very quick change.

And that put the leaders,

the heroes of the Orange
Revolution at that time,

in a kind of virtual trap.



Putin had done everything to
prevent the Orange Revolution

but the very day
of his investiture,

president Yushchenko's first
official visit is for Moscow.


but strategic.

Show the bear you're its friend.

As expected, on his
return from Moscow,

President Yushchenko names
Yulia Tymoshenko,

the muse of the Orange
Revolution, Prime Minister.


Second in charge, Yulia quickly

takes control of
government affairs.

The aim of the Orange
team is to build

a solid partnership with
Europe and the West.

NATO offers Ukraine membership

but the population only wants
to join the European Union

which remains silent.

Within the country,
Yushchenko and Tymoshenko

major task is to
attack corruption.

They start by re privatizing the
Soviet steelworks Krivoristhal.

Acquired for a fraction of its
value by Kuchma's son in law

Leonid Pinchuk and Rinat
Akhmetov in 2004.



In an international auction,

the steelworks go to
Mital Steel for a profit

of 4 billion dollars
for the state.

There is general
chaos amongst the

other oligarchs
in Kuchma's clan.

They all expect the axe to fall.

They were fleeing to Moscow,
to Monaco, fleeing to America,

they were committing suicide.

Some of them believed there
would be a pogrom against them.

They used that word.

The people also want revenge

for the murder of journalist
Georgiy Gongadze in 2000.

An enquiry confirms
Kuchma's implication.

and yet, the case
is put on hold.

Then comes the shock,


Only 6 months after
her nomination

Victor Yushchenko dismisses
Yulia Tymoshenko

and her government.

He didn't explain
why he did like that

and so it was the most
important question,

you know, because
people wanted to know.

They wanted to know and they
had the right to know because

if you are going to provide
all democracy in this country,

you have to be open.

I couldn't recognize the
person who I knew since '92.

He became very different,

it's like, all good
and nice things

which make him the most
popular politician

had been suddenly replaced by

irritation to criticism,

by irritation to journalists.

He refused to open up.

He refused to drop
all the privileges.

20 years is not a
long period of time

for an independent country
but at the same time,

you can say that many missed
opportunities happened

and those missed
opportunities are

things such as, of course,
the Orange Revolution,

and Viktor Yushchenko.

Every historian
and every writer,

Ukrainian and Western,
will always say

this was a missed opportunity
for Victor Yushchenko

to become Ukrainian's
George Washington.


Vladimir Putin hadn't
had long to wait.

Only a year after the

Orange power is already
on the way out,

and gas, the blood of
the new liberal Russian Empire,

becomes a real
political weapon.

In August 2004,

Russia had signed a long term,

five year, literally
unchangeable, agreement

with Ukraine, about gas prices

but a couple of
months afterwards,

Russian authorities
dramatically increased the

price of the gas
supply to Ukraine,

more than 3 times.

It was intended to show
the Ukraine and Europe

how powerful Russia is

in terms of gas supplies.

Price doesn't matter here.

They wanted to
switch off the gas.


Vladimir Putin
reopens the gas taps

when Ukraine accepts a
new gas intermediary


The idea is that cheaper gas

from all parts of
the former USSR

be stocked at the border
between Russia and Ukraine,

mixed with Russian gas, and then
sold abroad at the same price.

The vast profits go
straight into the pockets

of Russian and
Ukrainian oligarchs,

and even Putin himself.


I was on the BBC on January 3rd,

a day before they made
an agreement in Moscow

and Yushchenko could have
done anything he wanted

in terms of what he could have
demanded from Putin in Moscow.

He didn't have to go and
take in the RosUkrEnergo

because he had a very strong
position vis a vis Putin.

Putin was very scared
that on January 4th,

there would be an EU meeting
which would denounce him.

And instead, Yushchenko went
for the corrupt option,


That gas corruption

fed into the Party of Regions,

fed into the Our
Ukraine faction in

parliament, including
his brother.

It fed into the
presidential secretariat.

And the only political force
in the Ukrainian parliament

that fought against
that gas intermediary

was Tymoshenko.

The first parliamentary

since the Orange Revolution

are in March 2006.

In the new constitution,

the future Prime
Minister will have

more powers than the president.

Viktor Yanukovych, the loser
of the Orange Revolution,

is back in the race.

Yanukovych's party
wins the election,

and he becomes Prime Minister.

The game of musical
chairs has begun.


The explosive character
of the Ukrainians

and the existence
of nearly as many

individual parties
as seats in the RADA

make it ungovernable.

Which all leads to chaos.

And broken noses.


Europe, which so
far, has done little

to help the fledgling democracy

seems to wake up,
and demands that

Ukraine find
political stability.

Yanukovych and his
government are ousted

for repressive policies.

And after flash
parliamentary elections,

Yulia Tymoshenko can regain
her offices once more.


On the 8th of August 2008,
Georgia launches an

attack on Russian
infiltrated south Ossetia.

Russia immediately retaliates,

too happy to have an
excuse to invade Georgia.


Al Jazeera live
from Washington.

Russia confirms its
forces are advancing

from the other breakaway
region of Abkhazia.

The Georgian government
has released a statement

saying, it is going to
urgently be seeking

international intervention

to prevent the fall of Georgia.

Russia uses the Black sea port
of Abkhazia to send in troops.

With renewed Cossack

Yushchenko flies to the support
of president Saakachvili,

his comrade in arms.

Ukraine has not integrated NATO

and like Georgia, is
strategically vulnerable.

On the 13th of August,
Yushchenko signs a decree,

Russia is to inform Ukraine
72 hours in advance

of any Black Sea
fleet manoeuvres.

In the deal made with Putin,

Ukraine will gradually
pay Russian gas

the same price as Europe.

There will be no more
cause for gas blackmail

and RosUkrEnergo.
will cease to exist.

Yulia Tymoshenko's past as a
gas princess in the 1990's

makes her more competent than
many in the energy sector,

and the only Ukrainian
politician for

whom Putin says he has
any respect.

I don't think Yulia Tymoshenko
has ever been completely trusted

by Ukrainian people.

I believe that people think that
she made her fortune illegally

and less than honestly.

She's never been
charged for that.

She admits, you know, she
has admitted that she

played by the rules of the game

and the rules of the game
were pretty loose back then,

it was the Wild West.

But I do believe that
there was a time,

and I think the record shows

that she made an effort

to squeeze out these gas
trading intermediaries,

to squeeze out these
non transparent

transactions in the
electricity sector,

gas sector, coal sector

and she was met with fierce
resistance by people

who have vested interests
in these things.

5 years have passed since
the Orange Revolution

and the next presidential
elections are in January 2010.

Yulia Tymoshenko and
Victor Yanukovych

are the most popular candidates.

In December 2009,

an international symposium
is held in Kiev

to talk about Ukraine's future.

Prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko

is the only candidate to
accept the invitation.

Prime Minister
Tymoshenko is

very bright
and she is gutsy.

She is unafraid

and she is charismatic.

I think the politician
in many respects

that a lot of people
in this country

have been waiting for.

And she plays well on the
world stage as well.

That said, she's an incumbent

when the economy is in the tank,

and it doesn't matter
what country you're in

when you're the incumbent

and the economy is in the tank,

it is very, very
hard to get elected.

If you want to
cultivate popularity

in this part of the world,

put elites in jail...
make them accountable.

That's what the public wants.

They want to see some
justice after 20 years.

And I think of the candidates,

particularly of the 2 candidates
that go to the 2nd round

only she understands that.

I mean, if Yanukovych
comes to power

in the 2nd round
of the elections

and becomes Ukraine's

then the oligarchs
have taken over!

By February 2010,

Yulia Tymoshenko and
Viktor Yanukovych

are neck to neck in the polls.

Travelling across the country,

Yulia draws the crowds in
her galvanizing speeches,

playing to the heartstrings
of the population.

Victor Yanukovych
has bought himself

a diploma in economy,
and learnt Ukrainian.

His style is different,

few words,

slightly mature pop stars

a few Mafiosi pals from Donetsk

an accordion

and coach loads of young people

paid to attend the meetings.

Victor Yushchenko's fans
are few and far between.

Viktor Yanukovych is
elected president

with 3 and a half percent more
votes than Yulia Tymoshenko.

She contests the results.

In the RADA, the opposition
seats remain empty.


People didn't vote for him
because they thought he was

going to be the greatest
thing since sliced bread.

They voted against
Yushchenko and Tymoshenko.

So there was a very big
negative anti vote here.



In May 2010, a few months
after the elections,

Russia decides the time
has come to move in.

President Medvedev, Robin,
in the Robin Batman duo,

comes to Ukraine for a
long official visit.

Medvedev is definitely less
frightening than Putin

and Yanukovych hits it off
with him from day one.

The two of them sign various
commercial deals

and Yanukovych feels on equal
grounds with his new friend...


The Black sea Russian
naval base in the Crimea

has always been high on the
Kremlin's list of priorities.

It is only on lease to
Russia until 2017.

Yanukovych doesn't
take much persuading

to prolong the lease for
another 25 years.

But parliament
must have its say.

The fraud in RADA is grotesque.

Guerilla warfare breaks
out between the opposition

and the Party of the Regions.

But the vote in favour
of the proposition...

just passes,

and fraud is the
winner of the day.

The Kremlin can rub its hands.

By doing that,

he believed that
Russia would remain

very appreciative,

loyal, supportive and happy,

and we would get cheaper gas.

And therefore in April,
he signed that agreement

which is called

swapping national
security for cheap gas .

Relations with Russia
didn't become better.

Yanukovych is shown as
a clown on Russian TV,

and the economy is not
getting cheaper gas

and Russia is demanding a
total drop of independence.

The government is
trying to make the deal,

moves with the Kremlin, trading,

Russia's interests at the
expense of our sovereignty,

and some other political deals.

Probably they didn't understand

the nature of the
Kremlin leaders.

They would not accept half,
or a quarter of the price.

They would gain only the
whole of the Ukraine.

This is their objective.

One of the determined
supporters of Russia

is the minister of
Education, Dimitry Tabachnik.

Russian history and Ukrainian
history are one , he says,

and must be taught
through Russian eyes .

He renews school history books.


In October 2010,

Dominique Strauss Kahn,
director of the IMF,

promises a loan of
15 billions dollars

to the apparently
progressive new government

to consolidate public finances.

This money will not
go to the people,

it will be siphoned
off by the oligarchs

and the country's
debts will increase.

As with Vladimir Putin in 2000,

the West seems oblivious
of the real nature

of the new president of Ukraine

and his priorities.

Once the deal's signed,

the new regime starts
to show its real face.

In November 2010,

Yanukovych's government
introduces tax reforms,

penalizing small businesses,

the backbone of the
shadow economy .

A demonstration is organized
by civil society movements

and called Maidan 2.

No longer trusted, politicians
are not welcomed.

The new tax law

is so damaging to small and
medium size enterprises

that 800,000 companies have
disappeared in the last year.

These reforms benefit big
business. The oligarchs.

These people want it all.

They're not prepared to
accept a little bit of it.

They don't just
want to be big fish

or medium sized fish

in a very big pond.

They want to be massive
fish in a very tiny pond.

There is this idea that we can
have it all, we can take it all.

We can just simply take over.

I mean, an example is
the Kiev gold factory,

when the director was visited by
police a couple of weeks ago

and told you re going
to sell your factory"

"and here is who you re
going to sell it to.

And he said I don't want
to sell my factory ,

and they said we ll
come back next week

and you'll sell it.

And they came back
next week, 75 of them,

they beat him up, they
wrecked his offices

and they said now, we
will be back on Friday

with the papers for you
to sell the factory.

He's left. Gone.

Now, when you've got the police

organized in such banditry,

and then you couple that with

what's going on with
the road police

and the tax police,

this is organized
state banditry.


Violence and state
banditry in business,

exploitation and slavery

in the darker parts
of the coal industry.

Every year hundreds
die anonymously,

while the elite of the country
gets richer and richer.



For some like Yuri Lutsenko,
former minister of the Interior,

it is the first night in prison.

He is accused of
having embezzled 5000

dollars from the State
to pay his driver.

The real reason behind
Lutsenko's imprisonment

is his leading role in
the Orange Revolution and

his battle against the Mafiosi
oligarch groups in Donietsk.

He is detained under
no legal grounds

until his trial and he
is not the only one.

20 members of the opposition
suffer the same fate.

In November 2011,

Yanukovych names an old
friend, Victor Pshonka,

as general Prosecutor.

His job is to take charge
of the opposition.

Yulia Tymoshenko
is summoned to the

General Prosecutor's office

every day for 6 months.

There are three main criminal
charges against her,

for having spent
the money from the

Kyoto summit to buy ambulances,

proved false,

for spending IMF money to
pay retirement pensions,

also dropped,

and, thirdly, for
having indebted Ukraine

in the 2009 gas deal

with Putin.

On the 11th of May 2011,

Yulia is detained by the
General Prosecutor.


I hope to use this
opportunity to convey

to President Yanukovych
our concern regarding

recent cases, of what is
perceived as selective justice

in Ukraine, against members
of previous administrations,

notably Mrs Tymoshenko.

Two possibilities lie
open for Ukraine

to increase its
business abroad,

the deep free trade agreement
with the European Union

or the customs agreement with

Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

The agreement with
Europe would open far more

doors to Ukrainian oligarchs,

but the Europeans are hesitant.

The Europeans, from the get go,

have been disingenuous

about how much they value
Ukraine's independence.

When governments have
had to make choices,

they've gone with a much
broader opinion which says,

at the end of the day,

it's more important to
have good relations with Russia

then with Ukraine.

And if having good
relations with Russia

means pushing Ukraine back
into the Russian orbit,

that's a decision we're
willing to make.

For Putin, his demand was,

you have to chose between
joining the CIS custom's union

of Russia, Belarus
and Kazakhstan

or signing the deep free trade

agreement with the
European Union.

You can't join both
because you only can

be in one custom's union
at the same time.

The recent visit of Putin
was sort of hysterical.

He was not simply pressing
but actually demanding

that Ukraine drops
the idea of signing

the free trade
agreement with Europe

and signs not only
the custom's union

but the single
economic space

becomes part of one
big market, Russia.

Putin openly despises Yanukovych
for his criminal past

and he is irritated by the fact

that this stubborn criminal

is trying to play
some kind of game

with the Europeans

Russia can then come along
and control Ukraine,

not politically but financially.

Russians don't play
chess for nothing,

they're always five
or six steps ahead.

Looking at where
Russia goes from here,

it has to control
the energy supply.

Once it controls that,

it controls the energy
supply to Europe.

Russia has always had
its eyes on Ukrainian

gas pipelines to Europe.

On the 24th of September
2011, Independence Day,

Yanukovych's good friend,
Medvedev, delivers an ultimatum,

either Ukraine pays off the
gas debts, which it can't,

or it sells its gas pipelines
to Russia to cover its debts.

For Ukraine, Russian gas
prices are higher than ever.

We don't need
Russian gas at all.

Let them establish the
price at ten million

or billion, per
thousand cubic metres,

it doesn't matter.

Because Ukraine, unlike
many European nations,

has abundant energy resources,

natural gas, oil,

hydro regeneration,
nuclear power stations,

some of the biggest in Europe.

We have coal for 400 plus years,

we have strategic
pipelines to transport

Asian and Russian gas to Europe,

we can balance our energy needs
without Russian gas at all.

Ukraine may have
abundant resources,

but it is like an
underdeveloped country

with no concept of state.

Resources are of no
use to the nation,

without political will
and long term development

by the state for the state.

- Ukraine could easily produce

over a hundred million
tons of grain a year.

That would bankrupt
European farmers completely

and make Europe
totally dependent

for food supply from Ukraine.

Now Russia knows that

and by controlling that,
they then control Europe.





The problem with
Yanukovych's regime

is greed has just
gone out of control.

Ukraine's football stadiums
for the Europe 2012 games

are the most
expensive in Europe!

And yet the workers
are paid some

of the lowest
salaries in Europe.

So this is all theft from the
government on dodgy contracts,

of course most of
those building

construction companies
are from Donetsk.


Rinat Akhmetov started of
in banditry in the 90s.

Today, the richest
oligarch in Ukraine,

a coal and steel billionaire

he is the living proof of how
to get rich in a poor country .

The Colosseum in
Roman times was the way

to distract the masses from
problems in the Roman Empire,

it's the same kind of thing...

give them lots of shows,

give them lots of
spectacles on TV

and hopefully they'll
forget about politics.




Money buys everything,

ownership is power.

With the Euro 2012
football finals coming up,

president Yanukovych declares
that Ukraine's beautiful women

are the greatest asset for the
country's tourist industry.

Ukraine's greatest tourist asset
does not necessarily agree.

The female movement FEMEN

has its own message
for Euro 2012 tourists.


Yulia Tymoshenko's trial starts
on the 24th of June 2011.

The 31 year old judge has
hardly any experience.

The resignation in
his face and his eyes

says much for the
repression in the country.

The judge now is completely
dependent on the prosecution

and on the president's men.

He cannot be independent,

and this young man who
has been put there

is also under pressure

and the whole process when I
was sitting next to my mum

he looks like some kind
of surreal show.


In order to remove
the intermediary company

RosUkrEnergo from the market,

Mrs Tymoshenko
decided to accept

unprofitable conditions
for Ukraine.

This is pure personal revenge

against somebody who
became a threat

to their personal,
financial interests,

especially because the
gas lobby are very much

in power and in influence
around Yanukovych

and because they
are now in power,

for them, its time for revenge
against Tymoshenko

who, in 2009, removed the gas
intermediary RosUkrEnergo

and that meant the loss of up
to 7 billion dollars a year

for that group of people.

Accused of contempt of court,

Yulia Tymoshenko is arrested

and held in prison for the
rest of the proceedings.

The trial takes place
in the summer,

in a small cramped courtroom.

The heat is unbearable.

When one of Yulia
Tymoshenko's lawyers

complains about the conditions,

they are evicted.

The judge orders the militia to
empty the room of journalists,

members of the
opposition and family.


For the rest of the trial,

Yulia Tymoshenko is left
to defend herself alone.

There are 30 witnesses
for the defence,

only three are heard.

There are 33 for
the prosecution,

28 are heard.

On the 11th of October of 2011,

Yulia Tymoshenko is found guilty

of having made an
illegal gas deal

with Vladimir Putin in 2009.





Yulia Tymoshenko is sentenced
to seven years in prison,

a fine of 186 million dollars,

the sum lost for the State,

and a ban from any political
function or elections.

Across the Western world,

this trial is condemned
as being a show trial

and the sentence a
political persecution.

In prison, strange
bruises appear

all over Yulia
Tymoshenko's body.

The pain in her back is so bad
that she can no longer walk.

She is refused the right
to see her own doctors.

When the torture
commission comes to see

the conditions of
her imprisonment,

she is quickly
transferred to a new,

freshly painted,
comfortable room

and filmed, against her
will, by the State TV.

Of course, they can orchestrate
any kind of accident,

you know, there are so
many ways now to kill a person

without any signs of
disease or substances.

She is very strong and
I really hope that

she'll continue to be strong for
us and, you know, for Ukraine.


In fact, what they've done
is reunite the country

because the concerns
that the people have

in the East and the West
of Ukraine are identical.

There is no difference anymore
between East and West,

the political divide
which was invented, the country
is united by its

disillusionment of the system.




Myroslava Leschenko
lived through the

history of Ukraine from
Stalin to Yanukovych

fighting against the repression
of the Ukrainian nation.




Maidance is an inter city
dance competition.

It occupies Maidan, Independence
Square, for 3 months.

No tent can be planted.

Thousands and thousands
of young people take part.

Enthusiasm, innocence.

They dance for the
pride of their city,

for their country,
for the pleasure.


Do these young people
know that the state TV

organising this contest

belongs to former head
of the secret services

and powerful oligarch.


Yulia Tymoshenko is tried
on further charges

which could add another
10 years to her sentence.

She has become a martyr,

continuing her battle
from behind bars.

Victor Yanukovych has
opened a Pandora's box,

if he is to stay in power,
she and others must stay

or die in prison.

The oligarch's greed has
become cannibalistic,

more, and more, and more.


For Ukraine to
become a democracy,

for freedom to exist,