Ukraine Diaries: Dispatches from Kiev by Andrey Kurkov:
Tuesday 26 November
I am increasingly convinced that the entire Ukrainian legal system has not only entered the shadowlands, like the country’s economy, but has sunk into a deeper darkness. There are more and more legal judgments made in the middle of the night, when the country is supposed to be asleep. If the judges who are working nights are sleeping during the day, we can be somewhat reassured as to their mental health. But if they are working twenty-four hours a day, it has to be doubted whether they can even remember the judgments they made one hour earlier. And anyway, as has been proved on several occasions by journalists, judges have been handed judgments written in advance without their agreement, already unsealed and signed. This is, in any case, how they deal with opposition representatives–and, indeed, with anyone who is unhappy with the authorities and does not conceal their feelings.
In Kharkiv today, almost two hundred people gathered in the central square. They were here the night before, with gauze strips on their mouths like gags. The local authorities immediately banned all mass protests and rallies, justifying this measure by claiming it was taken against the risk of an epidemic of flu or other contagious diseases. The city truly is sick: in 2004, at the time of the Orange Revolution, its inhabitants were much more active.