war crimes in Ukraine

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Appeal for the press in the connection with beating of three journalists on Donetsk

Oleksandr Mishchenko

Taking into account the fact that, in any civilized country, the activities of mass media representatives are considered to be one of the most important principles of democracy, every attack on journalists in these countries is regarded by everybody, including the power structures, as a threat to the entire society. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian power, in particular the law-enforcing organs, does not trouble oneself with the thorough investigation of such cases. On the contrary, they do their best for the concealment of the actual reasons of the attacks on journalists.

The events in Donetsk, when three my friends and colleagues were beaten during three nights, wholly confirm this statement.

Maybe law-enforcers are right, and the attacks on Malinovskiy, Kuzin and Vasiutin are not connected with their professional activities. Yet, then I want to ask out brave militiamen: why robbers and hooligans rage in the downtown? If three attacks on journalists during three nights is a quite normal phenomena, then one can calculate how many people (if to take into account the number of the professions in Donetsk) suffer daily in Donetsk. Now I am not surprised with the fact that the representatives of state power and large-scale business walk along Donetsk streets only with their bodyguards. Alas, common citizens, including journalists, are unable to protect themselves, and those, who must protect them, are passive.

I do not insist that the attacks on the Donetsk journalists were committed by somebody’s order, but the number of the victims seems to be too large for such a short term.

I regard these crimes as the consequences of another repartition of power and business in the region. The journalists merely became the scapegoats in this conflict. I do not believe that the power can protect them and stop the terror against the representatives of mass media.

(“Politichna Ukraina”, 15 August 2003)


The conflict in Donetsk between Rinat Akhmetov’s group and Viktor Yanukovich’s group is obvious now.

The story with the billboards became the first evidence of the repartition of influence spheres. At night all billboards advertising “Zolotoy Skif”, a project of V. Yanukovich, were dismounted without proper documents and permissions. The events in other spheres also confirm the development of the conflict between the financial-industrial groups at the advertising market. Now the people, who are connected with “Zolotoy Skif”, suffer various troubles.

Three local journalists were beaten in the Donetsk downtown. All of them got the cerebral brain concussion or bone fractures. And all of them were working in the magazine “Zolotoy Skif”: deputy editor Vasil Vasiutin, journalists Eduard Malinovskiy and Sergiy Kuzin. Militia does not connect these crimes with the professional activities of the victims. However, Sergiy Guz, the head of the independent media trade union, is sure that these attacks are connected with the conflict that is raging in the region after the transfer of several top city authorities to Kyiv. Leonid Zverev, the executive manager of the Institute of mass information, reckons that these crimes are connected with the repartition of the media-space on the eve of presidential election.

Oleksandr Mishchenko, the editor-in-chief of the magazine “Zolotoy Skif”, also thinks that the attacks on his colleagues were connected with “another repartition of power and business in the region”. In his statement for the press he said: “I am surprised with the brutal revenge on journalists. I do not insist that the attacks on the Donetsk journalists were committed by somebody’s order, but the number of the victims seems to be too large for such a short term”.

(«Ukrainske slovo», No. 34, 21-27 August 2003)

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