FOR MUCH of the last decade, Georgia and Ukraine stood out among post-Soviet nations for their pursuit of liberal democracy and integration with the West following popular uprisings against authoritarian governments. The United States and the European Union devoted considerable resources and diplomacy to encouraging their sometimes-halting progress and to fending off attempts by Russia to undermine it. Sadly, all that work is close to being undone. Since winning power in a democratic election in 2010, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has overseen the prosecution and imprisonment of his chief opponent, prompting the European Union to put an association agreement on hold.
Now Georgia’s new prime minister, who defeated the leaders of the 2003 Rose revolution in a democratic election last October, has taken a similar step. Last week, the longtime interior minister and prime minister of the post-revolutionary government, Vano Merabishvili, was jailed without bail pending trial on charges of misusing government funds. A serving provincial governor who was labor minister in the former government also was charged. Like Mr. Yanukovych before him, Bidzina Ivanishvili, the new prime minister, assured his countrymen that these political prosecutions would not harm relations with the West. Unfortunately, neither the Obama administration nor Brussels has clearly contradicted him.