11:01 10.04.2013

Lutsenko says he received injection of optimism in prison

3 min read

Ukraine's former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko, who was released from prison on April 7, has said that during his imprisonment he was analyzing his past and dreaming about the future, read hundreds of books and received a dose of optimism, which the Ukrainian politics desperately needs.

While speaking on Channel 5 on Monday night, the ex-minister said that in prison he suffered most from lack of communication. According to Lutsenko, conditions and lack of comfort didn't mean much for him.

"After around two weeks, I realized that I had no right to be sitting idly in prison, I have to work in prison, work on myself first and foremost. And then I have formulated a rule that the most important thing for a political prisoner in jail is to understand not what one has been put in prison for, but what is the purpose of one's sitting behind bars. And then I realized that I was imprisoned in order to hold a debate with myself. Perhaps, I criticized myself most harshly in order to find more accurate answers [to the question], which Ukraine I love, in order to put myself a very poor score for my previous activities, in order not to break down," Lutsenko said.

According to the ex-minister, he knew that in prison his main task was "to show that not everybody in this country is afraid, that not everything in this country can be bought."

He said that he had not spent a single day in prison idly. "I was reading, writing, speaking, fighting, dreaming, planning... I think I now have the right to say that I have an injection of optimism, which the Ukrainian politics needs so badly."

The ex-minister has expressed regret that the Ukrainian politics is lacking a "huge injection of optimism" - "the belief that there are people in this country, who can organize themselves and put the country on the European path of normal development."

When asked how many books he read for nearly two years and a half of imprisonment, Lutsenko said: "I finished reading my 303rd book yesterday (on Sunday), when I was told I was free."

As reported, on April 5, Verkhovna Rada Human Rights Commissioner Valeria Lutkovska asked Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to pardon Lutsenko because of his state of health.

On April 7, Yanukovych signed a decree pardoning several convicts, including Lutsenko. The ex-minister was released on the same day.

Pechersky District Court in Kyiv found Lutsenko guilty of committing official crimes and sentenced him to four years in prison. The minister was supposed to serve his term until December 2014.