By Tanya Mazur, Director of Amnesty International Ukraine.
The fall of the Berlin Wall signalled the start of seismic changes that continue to shake Ukraine. Two years later, the Soviet Union, of which Ukraine was a part, collapsed. At the time I was 10 years old and my growing up coincided with my country’s steps towards independence and the rule of law.
The 90s were a difficult time for independent Ukraine. Coming out from the totalitarian embrace of the Soviet Union, the country was plunged into economic and social chaos. I remember the empty shelves in the shops, the coupons which we had to cut out – a substitute for real money – with which we could buy sugar, washing powder and vodka. Several generations brought up in Communist times were trying to find their way in the new market economy. In Ukraine’s case, instead of the rule of law, the country woke up to the rule of racketeering and lawlessness.