Head of President’s Administration becomes co-owner of major TV channel
Serhiy Lyovochkin, Head of President Yanukovych’s Administration and Dmytro Firtash, known for his very close links to the present regime, have become joint owners of the TV Channel Inter Firtash’s Group DF reports that the new shareholders of the Inter Media Group Limited which also owns around 10 other channels are the companies owned by Firtash and Lyovochkin. Firtash’s group is apparently the major shareholder.
This effectively stops speculation rife since former owner of Inter, Valery Khoroshkovsky left the government in protest at the reappointment of Azarov as Prime Minister. Khoroshkovsky’s rise to prominence as Head of the SBU [Security Service] after Yanukovych came to power coincided with activities reminiscent of Soviet times (including the visit to the Dean of the Ukrainian Catholic University, Father Gudzyak and attempt to refuse entry to Nico Lange after the latter wrote an article critical of Yanukovych. It also coincided with mounting fears of an assault on freedom of speech and increasing distortion and propaganda on television channels. Inter competed with the State-owned UTV-1 Channel for first or second place in terms of infringements of journalist standards and muffled information. Khoroshkovsky later became Finance Minister.
There was talk that the regime’s influence on Inter might be loosening, however this now seems highly unlikely.