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'I wanted to show support to Yulia': Swedish host

13 Jun 2012, 08:00

Published: 13 Jun 2012 08:00 GMT+02:00

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Johanna Frändén, the foremost studio face for the duration of the tournament on Sveriges Television (SVT), raised eyebrows with the choice of hairstyle on Monday night.

Her plaited style tied around her head was one reminiscent of the distinctive hairstyle adopted by Tymoshenko, who became Ukraine’s first female prime-minister as leader of the Orange Revolution in 2005, and the similarity was no coincidence.

“I had decided to do this in advance of the broadcast,” Frändén told SVT.

“I wanted to show solidarity to Yulia Tymoshenko.”

Europe’s footballing board UEFA has received a great deal of criticism for handing the hosting of the tournament to the former Soviet republic.

Europe had hoped that expanding the tournament eastwards would showcase the progress made by independent Ukraine since the collapse of communism.

Instead it looks like the Tymoshenko debate, which has already been the subject of demonstrations in and around match venues, will overshadow much of the tournament’s proceedings.

At the final whistle of the game between England and France, supporters of Tymoshenko tried to stage a protest march in the direction of Kiev’s Olympic Stadium distributing “Free Yulia” t-shirts, only to be thwarted by police.

Rumours of racist chanting and abuse at matches and open training sessions have also continued to take media attention away from the action on the pitch.

“The European Championships is a festival of football but it is also being played in a nation that is not a full democracy,” Frändén told SVT.

Tymoshenko was jailed for seven years in October 2011 after what her supporters claim to be a politically motivated trial and showcase for her opposition. She was accused and convicted for exceeding her powers as Prime Minister, by ordering a Ukrainian company to sign a gas deal with Russia in 2009.

Ministers of several EU countries have decided to boycott their attendance of the opening matches of the tournament, including Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and UK ministers, because of the “selective justice” being meted on Tymoshenko.

Story continues below…

The former leader is now being held at a hospital in Kharkiv, where she was transported after a series of self-harm episodes in April, including going on hunger strike for nearly three weeks.

“It is no wonder that we as commentators cannot have opinions,” Frändén told SVT when quizzed on her motives.

“It is not a political position right or left. It is an act of solidarity for Yulia Tymoshenko, who had not received a fair trial.”

Joe Lynskey

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Your comments about this article

08:13 June 13, 2012 by Frank Arbach
"I wanted to show support to Yulia"...?

I wonder if it was more a very Swedish 'fit of pique' because Sweden were beaten, fair and square, by Ukraine, the previous night..?

Lets face it, Swedes couldn't give a stuff for anyone, or anything, other than themselves
08:22 June 13, 2012 by skogsbo
frank, please re-read, the hair style was during the first game with the Ukraine.

Besides, football is only a game and it's only a haircut. None of it really matters at all.
08:34 June 13, 2012 by robban70226
hairstyle??? who cares!!!
08:54 June 13, 2012 by axiom
she wants to show her support for Yulia, then why not . . .

isn't that her freedom?
09:02 June 13, 2012 by Greysuede
What kind of support do you want to render to Yulia, darling?

How to "seize" easy focus pocus 6 bln USD and make the rest women prostitutes out of hunger? Nearly more than 70% of women in Ukraine are prostitutes at the price ranging from one to ten dollar. Ukraine is no. 1 brothel and HIV carriers place in Europe. Would you like to be in those women shoes instead to know how it feels like?

Neither into you nor into Yulia, just independent
09:37 June 13, 2012 by NordicCrown
#frank arbach - LOL!! The irony is in the 'question marks', right?

Yulia looks like Yulia. I thought the Swede TV woman looked like an undercooked treacle pudding
09:59 June 13, 2012 by Cephalectomy
sure, she used to shave her p*** too, why dont you show support and shave it also ?
10:20 June 13, 2012 by towns
"Nearly more than 70% of women in Ukraine are prostitutes" - Greysuede (#5)

Source? You do realize there are about 23 million women in Ukraine so therefore you are suggesting there are over 16 million prostitutes in Ukraine. You did say IN Ukraine after all.
11:18 June 13, 2012 by Greysuede
Over 25 percent of sex trafficked victims are trafficked from Southern and Eastern Europe.


Human trafficking is the second largest global organized crime today, generating approximately 31.6 billion USD each year. Specifically, trafficking for sexual exploitation generates 27.8 billion USD per year2.

There are 1.39 million victims of commercial sexual servitude worldwide3.

Over 25 percent of sex trafficked victims are trafficked from Southern and Eastern Europe4.

90% of victims trafficked into the European Union member states will end up in the sex industry5.

Tragically, only 1-2 percent of victims are rescued, and only 1 in 100,000 Europeans involved in trafficking are convicted6.


Greece is known as 'the center of trafficking in Europe.7 A primary destination and transit country for human trafficking, Greece is the primary gateway for trafficked victims to enter the European Union, host to 90% of all EU illegal immigration8. Trafficked victims are moved frequently, both internally and across borders, to evade detection. Human trafficking is a hidden crime here, with most citizens unaware of the gross human rights abuses occurring in their own city. Approximately 20,000 women, including 1 000 girls between the ages of 13-15, remain in the Greek sex industry9. According to The Trafficking in Persons Report, these victims are primarily from Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Nigeria.


Ukraine is a source country for trafficked women, and is currently one of the largest exporters of women not just to the European Union, but also to the Middle East and South East Asia.10 The "exotic beauty" of Ukrainian and Russian women has made them the most valuable commodities in the current international sex trade11. Over 420,000 Ukrainian women between the ages of 15 and 27 have been trafficked in the past decade12, just less than the 440,000 people in Ukraine with HIV, considered one of the most severe HIV/AIDS epidemics in Europe13. One study reveals that one in every 10 Ukrainian persons knows someone in their community who has been trafficked abroad.14

Ukraine is also increasingly becoming a destination country for trafficked victims, as its popularity as a sex tourism destination grows. These victims originate from South East Asia, Africa, and other Eastern European states.
11:43 June 13, 2012 by towns
@ Greysuede

Thank you for the detailed response, terrible to hear so many young Ukrainian women (and others of course) are being used in the sex industry.

420,000 is just under 1% of the total population of Ukraine, not really "70%" though, is it?
15:41 June 13, 2012 by Greysuede

420,000 sex victims have been filtrated from one destination only - Greece !

There are other popular gateways of filtration such as Turkey, Malta, Cyprus, Italy, Egypt, Israel, Spain that weren't being taken into account.
17:53 June 13, 2012 by towns
I'm not saying it's not a problem, I'm just saying claiming the majority of women in a nation is quite the reductio ad absurdum. Especially insolent to those Ukrainian women who have nothing to do with this sort of thing, quite frankly.
21:36 June 13, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
Johanna Frändén is a Super-Fine Mega Babe and I love her hair braided!
22:27 June 13, 2012 by jamesblish
It was a nice, subtle thing to do and I applaud her for it. Ukraine is a piece of cr*p dictatorship that should be thoroughly changed from within.
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