Well-known Ukrainian journalist Mykola Khriyenko refused entry into Russia


The newspaper Den reports that Mykola Khriyenko, distinguished journalist of Ukraine who took part in the liquidation of the Chernobyl Disaster has been refused entry into Russia. He was travelling to Moscow in order to prepare material for the newspaper on the remembrance gathering at the Memorial to the Victims of Chernobyl at Mytynskoye Cemetery. 27 liquidators of the Disaster are buried there. Six of them, graduates of the Cherkasy Fire-Fighting Colleague received the maximum dose of radiation and died immediately – Volodymyr Pravyk, Viktor Kibenyuk, Mykola Vashchuk, Vasyl Ihnatenko, Volodymyr Tyshchu and Mykola Tytenyuk. The oldest of them was only 26.

When the editorial office got in touch with Mykola Khriyenko to find out how the material was coming on, they learned that Mykola had not been admitted into the country.  He recounts:

“On 24 April I set off for Moscow on the No. 42 Kyiv – Moscow train. At 21.00 Kyiv time at the Russian railway station Suzemko, after border control, three men in uniform who identified themselves as Border Guard Service officers, told me that I must leave the train and come with them.  When I demanded an explanation, they said that I had been prohibited from entering the Russian Federation, that my passport details were on their list of those banned entry.  That list is an entire “Talmud”, three fingers in width. After carrying out a protocol questioning during which they ascertained the purpose of my trip, details of previous visits to Russia, I was deported.”

Ihor Lubchenko, Head of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, expressed outrage. “There were no grounds to not let Mykola Khriyenko into Russia. He’s a journalist and that is obstruction of his professional activities”.

Mykola Khriyenko had taken photos and prepared material regarding remembrance gatherings at the Mytynskoye Cemetery twice before – in 1996 and 2007. He knows many of the parents of the young men who died trying to liquidate the damage and who lie buried in Moscow.

Mykola Khriyenko is the author and implementer of a major project entitled “Ukrainians beyond the Urals” which lasted from 2004 to 2010. The project was aimed at researching the life of people of Ukrainian origin in the vast expanses of Russia and received wide coverage in the Ukrainian and Russian press.

It is extraordinary that this incident should have taken place at a time when Russia’s President Medvedev and the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kyril were in Ukraine attending remembrance ceremonies to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl Disaster.

Den approached Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs which responded fairly quickly. MFA Spokesperson Oleh Voloshin said that the Ministry took the incident very seriously and that a note had been passed to a high-ranking representative of the Russian Embassy in Ukraine asking for an explanation. “The Ukrainian foreign policy department work on the principle that freedom of movement of Ukrainian and Russian nationals across the Ukrainian – Russian border is an inalienable and important element of Ukrainian-Russian partner-like relations”.

From the report at

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