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Ukrainian writer Maria Matios alleges political harassment


Maria Matios has addressed an open letter to the Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka in which she complains of having been the object of political harassment following the publication of her last books.

She writes that in December the police searched for her at the Lviv publishing house Pyramida. When asked for the reason for their search, the officers refused to show the documents they had with them however from a distance these appeared to be an instruction together with a photocopy of papers from her book. 

At the beginning of January the police looked for the writer at a Kyiv address where she and her family had once rented accommodation.

Maria Matios says that such actions “bear all the hallmarks of blackmail and unwarranted psychological pressure”.

Approached by the BBC Ukrainian Service, the Kyiv police denied any pressure and said that they have no intention of detaining her. They say they were acting on instructions from the Prosecutor General’s Office.

The police assert that at the end of November 2010 the Head of the Council of Veterans’ Organizations, Deputy from the Communist Party Petro Tsybenko sent a Deputy Information request to the Prosecutor General’s Office, asking for a “legal assessment of the remarks made by the author in her book “Pages taken from an autobiography” about memorials to Soviet soldiers.

Veterans had previously demanded that the book be removed from sale because of the “comparison by the author of the Victory memorial in the capital to a phallus”.

In 2008 the Lviv Prosecutor’s Office briefly took an interest in another book of Maria Matios – “Moskalytsa”, with the same publishing agency having its activities temporarily suspended.

Are the authorities now going for writers?

Serhiy Pantyuk has asserted on the Internet publication Ukrainska Pravda that the writers, Maryna Bratsylo and Yury V. Nohy had their flat searched on 10 January 2011.  They were, he writes, told that they could be accused of involvement in organizing the destruction of the bust to Stalin in Zaporizhya.  He says that the reason for the search is “very interesting” – the couple had been visiting Ms Bratsylo’s family in Zaporizhya over New Year.

From a copy of Maria Matios’ own letter and report at the BBC Ukrainian Service

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