Putin’s independence is simply not comparable to the independence of Yanukovich.
Just a few weeks ago, few could imagine that Putin would have mercy on Mikhail Khodorkovsky [Russian oil tycoon, once Russia’s richest man and Putin’s arch rival]. The Russian president, unlike his Ukrainian counterpart, is not very concerned about pressure from the West – he does not need to sign an association agreement, or rely on loans, in a word – Putin’s independence is simply not comparable with the independence of Yanukovich. Nevertheless, do not discount the fact that Moscow is in the grips of a confrontation with the West, which is beginning to objectively harm its image. On the eve of the Sochi Olympics, in which several world leaders have refused to participate, Putin doesn’t need any further deterioration in the reputation of his own country. And his officials are not interested in the further expansion of the “Magnitsky list.” [http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_12_20/US-not-to-include-new-personalities-in-the-Magnitsky-list-0010/]
It remains for us to conclude that Yanukovich is not interested in neither one nor the other. The Ukrainian president had far more reason to pardon Tymoshenko than the Russian – Mikhail Khodorkovsky. On her pardon depended the association agreement with the EU, and stability in the country, and the general political consensus. Yes, it is in the name of this pardon, and not from some sort of mythical figures of loss, that the voices for it continue to amplify to Yanukovich himself, and other officials. But after this, when neither the pardon, nor the signing came through, the most serious crisis in the modern history of Ukraine erupted – the actual sliding of boundaries toward economic collapse, Maidan, the gap in the political elites. And by the way, the result of all this may be sanctions, against which a Magnitsky list will seem like blossoms.
Why does all this not interest Viktor Yanukovich? For reasons that I have already named more than once – because the state does not interest him as such. Vladimir Putin has created a mini-empire, albeit largely virtual, but he is interested in the fact that this empire look at least relatively attractive to the outside world and that officials of this empire be able to consume and receive benefits from it in the West. For an authoritarian regime this logic is quite understandable. And in this country, not the authoritarian regime and now not even the family clan – this country run by a group of people entrenched in Mezhgorye, watch Ukraine with horror, and the world around it. And if suddenly one beautiful day, as a result of their actions, Ukraine were to just disappear – they wouldn’t even notice.