Never ever since the PACE is observing elections in Ukraine the elections were also free and fair as this time but the violence excluded 5 millions of inhabitants to participate

What’s your opinion - recent elections in Ukraine served as a stabilizing factor for the country or they just deepened the division between Kiev and eastern Ukraine?

No, I am convinced that they provided a first very important step to integrate the country after the revolution of winter 2013/14. It was important that after the former president flied his office in the night to the 22nd of February the parliament in post-revolutionary transition period took the decision to held presidential elections on 25 of May. In spite of the aggressions against the country and the violence spread in too many districts of the southeast the election process was of an extraordinary quality which provided the new president with legitimacy he needs to overcome the violence and to integrate the country. Never ever since the PACE is observing elections in Ukraine since 1994 the elections were also free and fair as this time and although the violence excluded 5 millions of inhabitants to participate. There fellow citizens did it in a way and a mass as they want to give to the revolution and electoral legitimacy and to the aggressions in the Crimea and the southeast a massive civic answer.

If everybody is saying that there were number of territories where elections in fact didn’t happen, what can, by your opinion, make people on these territories recognize elected president as legitimate leader for them?

Most of them know, that many of them would have voted for Mr Poroschenko too, when they would not have been prevented to take part in the elections. They are not principally different to those in the other regions of the country, they only have a different history and a different culture. Most of them want to have a better income, real jobs, authorities who listen to them and hear their needs and they do not want to change the nationality. Today most of them know and are aware that the new president also speaks and acts on their behalf.

What was the role of the Council of Europe in changing the election law in Ukraine, what exactly has been changed with recommendation of the PACE?

Many if not most of the changes have been done based on the propositions of former election observers and the Venice Commission which is the constitutional and the legal conscious of the Council of Europe. This does not mean, that all of the suggestions of the CoE/VC have been taken on board. We criticized the fact there is still no law which limits the impact of money in the electoral process as well as the media. We have no transparency who finance whom with how much money – but this is also a weakness we criticize in Switzerland. Both do not live up to the standards of modern democracies in this field. All the details you find in the report you can access by the Internet in the pages of CoE: www.coe.int.

Did you see any signs of Russian propaganda related to these elections - for the elections, against the elections, and what was in general the influence of Russia on these elections?

The influence of official Russian media, especially the big TV channels in the southeast is enormous and really frightening. They discredited the revolution and the parliament and the new government as being only ‘fascist’ and representing the Nazis. They undermine all the efforts who have been done to have a real open and serious electoral debate. This is sad and did also not serve the interest of the Russian people to have a good respectful neighbours in Ukraine. With such hate speech you can kill a lot, but you cannot construct a new strong democracy.

In your previous interview to Voice of America you’ve mentioned that some forces in Ukraine who lost the elections might undermine the position of elected president by very harsh steps against separatists on the eastern Ukraine. Did it happen, in your opinion?

Immediately after the election I heard some very bad worse of Ms. Timoshenko that she might go on with revolutionary forces to challenge the new president. But after some time even she changed her discourse. I think the result is so clear and the problems Ukraine is facing so obvious that she and other losers do try to come to terms also with the new president and do not question his legitimacy anymore. What Swoboda and the Right Sector is arguing and doing in the moment I do not know. But I do hope that they do not put into question the legitimacy and the respect the new president has and needs to overcome the violence and to realise the big necessary reforms Ukraine needs so much – also to be able to stay together.

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