Bad news for Bondarenko – and the Party of the Regions



Serhiy Leshchenko, journalist from Ukrainska Pravda has made public recordings which confirm the shocking accusations he made in an article earlier this week. – see: Regions Party again using highly specific methods in preparation for future elections  His article concerns a letter from the central office of the Party of the Regions addressed to the heads of its regional branches.  Enclosed is a questionnaire – a media card - which the central office wants filled in. 

“On the instruction of the party’s leadership.. in order to achieve high-quality preparation for the media campaign covering the 2012 parliamentary elections, the regional branch of the Party of the Regions must provide by 11 July 2011 to the central office of the Party of the Regions a completed media card for the region. The form for the media card is enclosed”.  The name at the bottom is that of (the MP Olena Bondarenko who, it transpired, is also the Head of the Party of the Regions Department of Communications.  The media card should give information, for example, about the party affiliation of the owner, manager and chief editor.

Serhiy Leshchenko first turned to Olena Bondarenko who admitted that the letter was hers, but claimed that the form posted in the Ukrainska Pravda article was a fake.

The journalist then took his phone and rang some regional branches.  It is these conversations which he has now made public.  Without directly lying (he was ringing from Kyiv), he cleverly gave the impression that the Party’s central office was ringing to hurry local branches up.  The conversations make it entirely clear that the information in clear breach of at very least one Ukrainian law was indeed asked for.

Serhiy Leshchenko says that he edited the tapes in only one place – at the very beginning when he asks for confirmation that he has reached a specific branch of the Party of the Regions.  His reason is simple: he does not want the people to lose their jobs because of him.  They are simply the implementers, by no means the ideologues behind the unlawful actions.

“However, should the Prosecutor initiate criminal proceedings over illegal gathering of personal data about journalists by the Party of the Regions, I would be willing to provide this information to the investigators.”

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