Anniversary without burial or punishment


It is eight years today, 16 September, since Georgy Gongadze disappeared. Those who ordered the killing have not been brought to justice, and the victim has not been buried.

This evening, as has become traditional (however terrible that sounds) concerned individuals will light candles on Maidan [Nezalezhnosti – Independence Square] and honour the memory of Georgy Gongadze and all Ukrainian journalists who have died.  It is also tradition now that many will ask the authorities “Where is Gongadze?” and will receive no reply. This year there will be eight moments silence, one for each year since the journalist’s disappearance and brutal murder.

It has become standard for various politicians, etc to gain publicity on this day.  The author mentions some of the likely events. The organizing committee for the meeting on Maidan has consistently asked people to come as individuals and leave any politicizing for other issues.

As already reported here, one difference from last year is that three of the four men accused of carrying out the killing, former police officers, are now serving sentences of 12-13 years.

Whether those who ordered the killing remember Gongadze on this day nobody knows, and they remain unnamed. Among those remembered on this day in a most unfavourable light is at least one ex-Prosecutor General Mykhailo Potebenko. Head of the Institute for Mass Information Victoria Sumar is not alone in expressing bemusement at the authorities’ lack of response to public outcries when Potebenko was awarded the Order of Yaroslav Mudry [the Wise].  Not to speak of the promotion to judge of the Kyiv Court of Appeal of Maria Pryndyuk who was responsible for revoking a resolution of the Prosecutor General’s Office regarding General Pukach and releasing him from custody. Pukach is the fourth man accused of carrying out the crime and is now on the international wanted list.  His evidence, as head of the department the other three worked in would be vital.

Georgy Gongadze’s body has not yet been laid to rest. His mother Lesya Gongadze does not believe that the body held in a Kyiv morgue is that of her son.  His widow believes it is.

For those in Kyiv:  on Tuesday evening at 19.00 on Maidan Nezalezhnosti, a meeting will be held in memory of Georgy Gongadze and all Ukrainian journalists killed.

It is a meeting of remembrance.  Please bring candles to honour the memory of Georgy Gongadze who has become a symbol of the struggle for freedom of speech and human dignity.

A much abridged version of an article at

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