Everything under control...


In the Luhansk city executive committee there is a department for cultural affairs. However our journalists were interested in information about the moving of the Monument to Taras Shevchenko, and therefore we needed to approach the section on protection of cultural heritage which is where we were directed. We were only able to find the head of the section, Natalya Konstantinovna Bareeva at her desk at the end of the working day. She immediately understood why we were ringing. Over the telephone she quite nicely explained that she could not say anything without the permission of her immediate superior, the deputy Mayor Manolis Vasylyevych Ligachov, still less over the telephone. Either we had to appear in person, or write an official request and receive a response within the legally stipulated period.

In gratitude for such a detailed and kind refusal we decided to combine both routes. The next day, around journalist V. Dorofeev headed off to the city executive committee with a letter from the editorial office addressed to N.K. Bareeva in which the Editor asked the latter to assist the journalist in receiving the information needed to write editorial material. The letter was entirely official, on headed paper and with a signature and stamp.

Thus, around two o’clock in the afternoon, V. Doroffev, armed with the letter from the Editor of “Vecherny Luhansk” [“Evening Luhansk”] appeared at his destination.   Natalya Konstantinovna was elsewhere on business. She returned half an hour later and said over the telephone that a personal meeting was possible over with the agreement of Ligachov. Dorofeev recounts: “I went to the reception office of the Deputy Mayor. Here they already knew who was coming since they asked me immediately to wait. I didn’t have to wait more than 10 minutes which is amazing since it was the height of the working day. Manolis Vasylyevych was obviously having a meeting since people kept coming out of his office. Finally, via the secretary, the answer came, that it was possible to speak with Bareeva only having first approached the head of the press service Aleksandr Savenko and received his “go ahead”. Mr Savenko was busy at that moment and would only be available in about forty minutes. Such supposedly are their rules in the executive committee.

The way to the press service was past Bareeva’s office. I’d got sick of playing Blindman’s Bluff and decided to simply drop in.  At the end of the day, was all the palaver going to be justified? After all, as yet we weren’t even talking about a major interview or even commentary. We were just trying to find out whether the information about the monument to Shevchenko being moved was true. If not, then that was the end of it. Was it worth going through all nine circles of Hell, excuse me, of the executive committee in order to finally get a clear negative to the question?

It wasn’t to be. Natalya Konstantinovna, having said hello politely, phoned Ligachov’s reception office “The main thing is that he’s informed”, she said into the receiver. Having heard the response, she told me that indeed, without the consent of the head of the press service, she would say nothing. “You understand that I don’t make the rules of the game”, she said hurriedly, “This is how it’s done here, and that’s right. Otherwise you could write anything, and later my hair will stand on end. After all I don’t know who writes what. Now the head of the press service Savenko – he understands the press, knows who to work with. That’s right, that’s being responsible. For example if the matter is under criminal proceedings. Then the information can’t be divulged until the investigation is completed. The management demands it, beating it out, and I ring the prosecutor’s office and they tell me that the information can’t be disclosed”.  A strange analogy, you have to admit.

So as to somehow pull this conversation out of an abyss of abstractions and overt absurdity, I asked: “Does this mean that the case of the Monument to Shevchenko is under criminal investigation?” This outraged Natalya Konstantinovna and I had to go, leaving officialdom the Editor’s letter for further review”.

Based on material from “Becherny Luhansk”

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