Ukrainian PEN Club speaks out on the harassment of writer Maria Matios


In her Open Letter to the Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka, the well-known Ukrainian writer Maria Matios drew open the curtain immediately exposing the defenceless position of Ukrainian writers. Despite the human rights guarantees enshrined in Section II of the Constitution, the present Ukrainian regime has again seen fit to encroach upon the very heart of the democratic system – freedom of speech and creative self-expression. This encroachment is incompatible with the principles which form the basis of a civilized order.

We share the conclusion of our colleague that in this situation “the actions of the law enforcement agencies bear all the hallmarks of blackmail and unwarranted psychological pressure”. We uphold the right of Maria Matios and every other writer to express any convictions and believes (obviously excluding those which propagate violate and incite enmity) in the symbolic manner natural to a master. This right is guaranteed, for example, by Article 15 § 2 of the Constitution.

We strongly protest against any attempts to remove from sale the fruits of a writer’s work. Attempts to do this in the case of Maria Matios arouse associations which bring shame to the regime and are a slap in the face to all who value the creative word and writers’ work.

We would warn the present Ukrainian regime that it is they who bear responsibility for the assault on the territory of freedom taking place in Ukraine. We would remind them that the regime’s victory over writers has always proven pyrrhic and ignominious.

The Ukrainian Centre of the International PEN Club

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