Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Former Ukraine prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko on trial and in jail

Yevgenia Carr is the beautiful daughter of former Ukraine prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. 
Tymoshenko, part of the countries 2004 Orange Revolution, now forms the opposition to current leader Viktor Yanukovych.

Former prime minister Tymoshenko, who amassed a personal fortune from the oil business during the 1990s, was jailed last month for contempt of court – a move which has caused major controversy in Ukraine.

She had been arrested on charges of "abuse of power", referring to a gas deal she signed in 2009 with Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin.

The prosecutor does not accuse Tymoshenko – famous for her hair style – of corruption or embezzlement of funds.

The European Union and the United States have called her arrest “political persecution of opposition leader.”

Now, apart from Ukraine holding the European Football Championships (with Poland) in 2012, events in Ukraine have little interest to my own country, Britain.

However, by a strange twist of fate there is a link between us Brits and the former prime minister of Ukraine. It comes in the shape of Sean Carr a Leeds-born market trader who married Tymoshenko’s daughter in 2005.

Carr is also the lead singer in a traditional rock band called Death Valley Screamers which has enjoyed some success in Ukraine.

It’s a bizarre tale, ultimately thrusting Carr and his wife Yevgenia to a level of celebrity something akin to the Posh and Becks of Ukraine (though he is neither posh or Becks).

It’s almost a modern social statement how facts like these lead to our awareness of political issues. My admiration for the city of Kiev is huge but corruption and injustice is still a major problem in Ukraine.

It’s only through these spurious links that people in Britain or the Western world are aware of issues of corruption and social injustice. Tymoshenko’s imprisonment is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems in Ukraine.

Hopefully Tymoshenko will be released soon. Thanks to her family connections, many people in Britain are on her side.

I went to Kiev in 2008 to photograph Carr and his band. I also photographed Yevgenia Carr.


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