Bizarre attempt to cower Crimean journalists


The Deputy Prime Minister of the Crimea, Pavlo Burlakov may have mellowed his demands after getting a criminal investigation initiated against the Chief Editor and a journalist from the Internet publication Argumenty Nedeli – Krym [The Week’s Arguments – Crimea].  He now says that he doesn’t want criminal charges, just an apology over what he asserts was divulgence of “confidential information”. 

The journalist, Anna Andriyevska revealed the name of the hostel where Burlakov is officially registered in an article last November entitled “Hostel as a retreat from Crimean VIPs”.  The article drew attention to the practice of officially occupying hostels which are not in fact lived in, but cannot therefore be allocated to people really in need of accommodation.

Burlakov decided that this was “confidential information” and lodged a complaint.  Anna Andriyevska, together with the Chief Editor Zair Akadirov, wasted a number of hours on Friday at the police station after receiving summonses in the case.  The interrogations did not eventuate and now Burlakov is saying he wants an apology.

In fact, this he will not get Zair Akadirov says since the journalist did not break the law through her article. “We indicated the place where Mr Burlakov lives and the place where he’s registered. In view of the fact that he’s a public figure and registration in a hostel has enabled him to take part in votes, this information is of public importance and we had to publish it. Residents of the hostel confirmed that Burlakov does not live there, so the publication did not divulge his actual address.

He also sees no ill intention in publishing the information about the First Deputy Prime Minister’s place of registration.  He points out that before it was published, they received a call from the lawyer working for the State-owned Radio Crimea who tried to dissuade them from publishing the information. Mr Akadirov says that he finds it baffling why a public official who maintains that he has not infringed any law should turn to a lawyer employed by the State-owned radio company. 

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