Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Electoral observers helped inspire Ukrainians to take to the streets

The Daily Telegraph - December 14th 2004

Sir

Last year Viktor Yushchenko came to my office in Brussels as an impressive charismatic leader in his prime and I have met him again in Kiev recently, with his shockingly disfigured face (report, Dec 13). I am convinced that the role of those MEPs charged with observing the presidential election, which we slammed as fraudulent, played a significant part in stiffening the resolve of the opposition to take to the streets in protest. Several of us were among the first foreign politicians to address the crowd in Independence Square immediately after the first, tainted results were announced.

We observers are now due to return on December 26 in the expectation that the rerun will be free, fair and transparent. We have all witnessed a genuine case of people power in the struggle for freedom and democracy and the establishment of a modern European state, against a corrupt post-Soviet old guard financed by crony capitalists with overt Russian support.

The poison used on Mr Yushchenko was a major contaminant in the notorious defoliant used in Vietnam to expose the Vietcong camps: Agent Orange. It is a twist of fate that the Yushchenko revolution used the same colour.

Dr Charles Tannock MEP
Conservative Foreign Affairs Spokesman
Vice-Chairman of the Ukraine delegation in the European Parliament
Brussels