“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 2002, #01
More than one million jobless in Ukraine. Politics and human rights
Witch hunters are stopped, but not punished Sergey Golovaty against Leonid Kuchma. 2001 in the eyes of Ukrainian human rights protectors Human rights in the post-totalitarian society Freedom of expression
The freedom of speech? Do not touch! Bukovina journalists vs. the oblast information directorate Yulia Timoshenko blames the power for destroying Vecherni Visti Militia learned about the attack at a journalist from mass media Another journalist beaten A private TV company closed in Simferopol. Lugansk journalists stopped the hunger strike. Ukraine is blacklisted by Reporters without frontiers for the second time on end. Social and economic rights
Acetone disease in Cherkassy Women’s rights
Antoniks case may be falsified. How to defend from authorities slander This system, in the framework of the operating laws, enables officials to misuse their power Interethnic relations
Most convicts in Ukraine are not socially dangerous Court practices
Who will defend the rights of the parents of perished servicemen? NGO activities
The case of TV-6 and the crisis of the Russian court system. Point of view
Suffered for language? Offenders of authors rights are sought in Ukraine. Entre nous, activists Deported peoples
After 30 years.
More than one million jobless in Ukraine.
By 1 January 2001 the unemployment level in Ukraine has been 4.2%, by 1 December 2001 – 3.6%, Interfax-Ukraine informs. 11 persons pretended for one vacancy in the beginning of the year. At the same time the demand for labor in the beginning of the current year was 96.9 thousand people, it is 42% more than in January 2001.
Last December the average aid to jobless equaled 85.23 UAH. The highest unemployment level was registered in the Rivny (7% by 1 January 2002), Ternopil (6.5%) and Volyn oblasts (6%). The lowest level was in Kyiv (0.6 %), Sevastopol (0.9%), the Odessa oblast (1.4%) and in the Crimea (2.3%).
Politics and human rights
Witch hunters are stopped, but not punished
As it is known 7 November of this year was a workday. In order to participate in the meeting and to have the opportunity to deliver the speech to his party-mates – socialists – Mr. Zavrovskiy handed the corresponding application to the head of the Severodonetsk education directorate. He asked to release him from his duties during the meeting and to pass his duties to his deputy.
However, on 12 November O. Zarvovskiy got a reprimand. In the opinion of the education directorate, he violated labor discipline, when he wrote the application not on a clean sheet of paper, but on a deputys blank. Moreover, although the directorate received the application in time, it was not considered yet at the time, when the meeting began, so the education bosses did not permit the principal to participate in meeting.
The order on the discipline penalty of the principal was directed to the mandate deputies commission, which is headed by Raisa Kravchenko, the deputy head of the town education directorate. The commission agreed with the order.
According to the rules of Severodonetsk democracy opposition is not just punished, but destroyed. The ink did not dry in the signature under he order, when a commission attended the school in order to control financial and administrative questions. They knew what to look for: several last expenditures from the school fund were not yet processed properly. Although there were misuses, and all the money collected by parents were spent according to the decision of the school parent council, it sufficed to issue on 17 November the order of the principals dismissal.
The order on Zarvovskiys dismissal was approved by town mayor Volodymir Gritsyshin after the request of the head of the education directorate and after the consent of the permanent commission in charge of deputies activities according to Article 28 of the Ukrainian Law On the status of deputies of local radas. Democratic public in the town assessed this story as a typical witch hunt, that is persecution for political convictions. Some deputies of the local rada did not stay uninvolved. They protested against the mayors approval and managed to recall it in the second attempt.
The session proposed to vote the question about the consent of the town rada session with Zarvovskiys dismissal. The deputies voted against almost unanimously.
In my opinion, such decision means that the mayors approval of the dismissal was formally recalled and that the court must reestablish the principal according to Article 28 of the Ukrainian Law On the status of deputies of local radas.
Certainly, no one questioned the mayors responsibility for this approval of the illegal actions of his subordinates. Maybe in three months voters will recollect the mayors behavior. They are not so foolish as Mr. Gritsyshin thinks.
Sergey Golovaty against Leonid Kuchma.
In his interview to the UP S. Golovaty told that the international commission on Gongadzes case can work without any juridical norms.
The only thing which is needed is the consent of Kuchma and nothing more, since the General Prosecutor fully obeys Kuchma, Golovaty said. What is preached by Stanik (representative of Ukraine in the Council of Europe) and Chaliy (former representative of Ukraine), who tell that some juridical basis is absent, is rancid nonsense, the MP added.
All which is needed is available except the main – Kuchmas consent. He is just afraid that the international commission will prove his connection with the death of the journalist. In Golovatys opinion it is not essential whether the President is linked with the murder directly or obliquely. It does not matter, of he killed the man, or Kravchenko, or Kravchenkos henchmen. In any case it will be obvious that he is an accomplice.
Golovaty also said that the creation of the international commission is not a question for the PACE session. the PACE adopted the resolution-recommendation on creating the commission and the Cabinet of Ministers of the Council of Europe now is looking for a way to do this. Because the Ukrainian power deceives the Cabinet of Ministers saying that there no legal grounds for activities of the commission in Ukraine, he MP remarked.
2001 in the eyes of Ukrainian human rights protectors
Activists of human rights protection movement consider that 2001 has brought not a few advantages in the sphere of human rights protection. Roman Romanov, the head of the Sevastopol human rights protecting group, regards court reform as a substantial step forward in this sphere, although the changes lack the systematic character yet.
According to Romanov, the relations of Ukraine with the Council of Europe became less strenuous. Some of objective reasons for it are noticeable changes in the legislative reform in Ukraine. At the same time there exist also subjective factors: the work of the diplomatic representation of Ukraine in the Council of Europe was very successful. It managed to prove that Ukraine actually is moving in the direction of democratic changes and reforms.
Human rights protectors also mention public actions of political opposition among the positive events of the last year. Meanwhile, the situation with the freedom of speech still remains unfavorable. In Romanovs opinion the facts were observed of intimidating and persecuting journalists for their professional activities.
Vasyl Lisoviy, a member of the human rights protecting organization Helsinki-90, believes that 2001 was, on the one hand, optimistic as to progress in human rights protection, which is connected, in particular, with Gongadzes case and investigating the cassette scandal. On the other hand, this year may be assessed as a defeat of all the human rights protection movement in this affair. Besides, as V. Lisoviy reckons, modern political conditions are unfavorable for the success of the movement.
V. Lisoviy told that modern system is suitable for the so-called tolerant repressions, it is adapted to be insensitive to separate individual or group actions. That is why the general assessment of the situation with human rights in Ukraine is pessimistic.
Taking account of the above-mention factors, the prospect of human rights protection in the coming year will mainly depend upon the political conditions, in particular, upon the parliament election. Besides, as human rights protectors believe, the problems connected with the freedom of speech and suppressing the independent mass media will remain actual also in this year
Human rights in the post-totalitarian society
In words we are continuing to declare our love to the European values and to build an open society, where human rights must be observed and free market must exist. In the actual fact we see a semi-authoritarian regime, semi-freedom of the press and semi-market-semi-criminal economy.
This leads to the gloomy trampling of the society on the spot, while loosing that small degree of passionarity, which was appeared in the early 90s in the West Ukraine. The desperate economic crisis, partly connected with the political invalidity of the state structures, weakness of the civil society, absence of the middle class and, what is the most principal, absence of the will of the most of the society to live in the world built after the Western pattern, leads to the entire depression of the society, to the passivity and to the exclusion of the overwhelming majority of the Ukrainian population from any political processes. At the same time the Baltic republics (especially Estonia), where the Soviet power ruled 30 years less, are getting out of the crisis incomparably faster and effectively. It is surprising, but the Middle Asia countries: Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, where the regimes extremely distant from democracy came to power, also develop economically much fast and easily – the authoritarianism appeared to be more favorable for the economy than our semi- authoritarianism and semi-chaos. The traditional for the Asian republics social ties are must more steady conditions for business and foreign investments than games without rules of the corrupted state officers and businessmen unable to self-defense in Ukraine. Similar processes also occur in Russia, with the correction that Russia abounds in raw materials and other resources, so in many regions of Russia the economy develops much fasted and stable than in Ukraine. However, some other regions are hopelessly lagging behind. Besides, Russia remains an empire, continues to wage imperial wars inside the country and actively meddles to domestic affairs of neighboring countries forming influence zones. For this Russia naturally needs money and resources. Belarus represents a relict model of the Soviet society, where the autarchy is not supported by traditional and religious ties, like in the Middle Asia, but as if hangs in the air. The brittle and weak economic stability in this country is greatly provided for by its parasitizing on the Russian economy. Russia stands for it, although it is obviously unprofitable, because of the empire syndrome fast developed lately.
What happens with our countries, what happens with Ukraine, which is potentially richer than, say, the Baltic countries? The reason is that in Our countries – Russia, Ukraine and Belarus – totalitarianism existed one generation longer that in the Warsaw Pact countries, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Here it was established on the personal, so to say molecular level. Thus, here we have not just a reforming of the political, economic and social systems, but a complete change of the stereotypes of pour citizens, which, certainly, demands decades. Especially if there is no external assistance. We do not speak about the financial support from the USA, Council of Europe countries and International Money Fund. It is impossible to control the efficiency of using this financial aid in our country with semi-legal business and non-transparent power structures. Our Western partners disappoint and become impatient; investment flow, small as it is, decreases. That is the difference of the victory in the cold war and the victory in the WW2, when the defeated countries were proposed the famous Marshalls plan, which led to their fast and efficient development. Ukraine, Russia and Belarus also needed a similar plan, but it had to start with the exchange of power elite, which did not happened. Our state officers did not change and remained such as they had been 10, 15 and 20 years ago, only names of their positions changed. The former party and administrative nomenclature rules in Ukraine. This means that, beside the free market and attempts to construct the open society, we have in Ukraine distinct quasi-feudal relations, which were the base of the totalitarian regime.
In a totalitarian state relations of conditional vassal-senior relations develop, when personal ties and personal devotion to the boss are more important than professional qualities of a subordinate. There existed an informal rule among the communist elite: if a party bureaucrat was not liked by his bosses or they learned about some his sins, the sinner was transferred to the trade union or administrative work and thus changed the field of his ruling activities. Only after this he might be completely removed down. The exceptions were extremely rare. Let us call this phenomenon the law of preservation of party substance. We mean the after-Stalin period, since at the top of totalitarianism it was the bureaucratic apparatus which the first to be repressed, but observing the principle: together with a boss his faithful subordinates were repressed too. It is not needed to be very observable to notice the principle of vassality in our power structures: as a rule, every new governor changes all the team, even if his predecessor did not belong to opposition. If his predecessor belonged to opposition, then sometimes the followers of the former governor are persecuted in court. And their guilt becomes obvious for law-enforcing organs miraculously only after their dismissal. A system of political hostages is widely spread, when a member of the opposition has relatives or businessmen, who render the material support to the opposition. Very often criminal cases are opened against them, they are detained and their rights are rudely violated. All this happens rather massively, which permits us to draw a conclusion: we deal with a well-expressed totalitarian relict, when the conditions, under which business must work, forces businessmen to violate laws from the very start, and they become guilty or now dependently of their loyalty to power structures. All this happens on the background of the almost complete equanimity of the public, without any mass protests and sometimes even with the complete approval of citizens, as it was in the case of Lazarenko. The public continues to be suspicious to business and businessmen, being deceived during any election, especially in the majority electoral districts, by small tips and promises from the future, obviously not poor, deputies. So, the power, preserving semi-feudal ties inside the bureaucratic apparatus, acts usually freely and with impunity.
Another demonstration of the post-totalitarian syndrome is also despicable servility of the majority of Ukrainian citizens, who permit the authorities to widely use the so-called administrative resource. This is an euphemism for the blackmail and coercion on the side of the local authorities, mainly concerning the budget-paid voters: medical personnel, teachers and communal workers, as well as students and pupils (or rather their parents) during elections, referendums, organized meetings of home and foreign top state officials. Doctors made to influence their patients, teacher – the parents of their pupils, to make them vote as ordered. Similar methods were applied during the all-Ukrainian referendum of 2000, when employees of various establishments had to bring certificates from the voting stations that they voted before the term and, what the most essential, that, in spite of the obvious illegality of such demands, voting stations issued such certificates and citizens obediently brought these documents to the bosses. It is interesting that mostly no measures of punishment were applied to those, who refused to play these administrative games, so the disobedient citizens did not risk.
Servility is a residual feature of totalitarianism, a syndrome of civil inability, when a person does not feel oneself as a free member of society, reckoning that the state has the right to make him execute any stupid actions, actions contradicting his convictions, etc.
Although, in contrast to the Soviet times, many people are not afraid to criticize loudly the authorities, from the President down to the petty local administrators, but only few of them may go against the will of their direct chiefs. Thus, the quasi-feudal relations not disappear, but become more shaped and structured. This situation shows that it is not sufficient just to change the power system at this stage. Such people should come to power, who understand that they deal with a still unripe society, which they must build on the principles contradictory to the current social relations. Otherwise any minute the power may encounter the problems even more serious than the cassette scandal, which in a way showed how chaotic and boneless is a post-totalitarian state. The victory of the power and the seeming defeat of the opposition are explained by the post-totalitarian syndromes of estrangement and passivity. But these syndromes, if a charismatic leader, especially if he is offended by power, appears, easily become aggressive. However, the opposition could not find such a leader in 2000 and the beginning of 2001.
All these are not just insignificant details. On the post-totalitarian space of the former USSR, especially in the Slavonic countries, the society is formed with such difficulties that it may be compared with a building mass, where a substance retarding congelation. The declarations of some rights and freedoms and mechanisms of realizing these rights, even legally confirmed (the Ukrainian legislation lags behind the obligations of Ukrainian before international organizations) are related closely to the inverse ratio: the more fundamental the right is, the fewer mechanism of its realization exist. Let us consider as an example one of the fundamental human rights – the right for life. Ukraine abolished the death penalty, thus fulfilling her obligations before the Council of Europe. However, many people were tortured to death during interrogations and preliminary investigations, died because they were not rendered elementary medical aid, perished of the dedovshchina in the army. That is the post-totalitarian society does not demonstrate the Orwells double-thinking, when, for example, a citizens theoretically understands that he must not a spy, but the blind force of the state makes him do the opposite. The double-thinking smoothly changed into the social infantilism, when both the power and citizens know what must be pretended (or said, or written) before uncle Sam or some other uncle. Unfortunately, we do not se today any force capable of creating our own Marshalls plan, that would be a plan of structural rebuilding of the entire society, and without such a plan no jumps and lip-service will bring any positive results.
Freedom of expression
The freedom of speech? Do not touch!
We must confirm that the nearer is the election, the dirtier are the methods used by the power to get rid of those independent mass media, which do not say the white seeing the black. This is the problem of the freedom of speech in the Poltava oblast that was debated at the consecutive press conference of the Poltava media club.
Ungrounded refusal to print opposition newspaper, persecutions of disobedient journalists, destroying computer databases in editorial boards and stealing already printer runs of newspapers make only a part of the tricks applied by the power.
Complaints to prosecutors offices and courts do not guarantee the protection, even if the law is on the side of mass media. Thus, one of the Poltava oblast courts without any reasons, in the opinion of our advocate, rejected the claim handed by the media club against the publishing house Poltava that last summer one-sidedly broke the contract about printing our newspaper Novy den. Nonetheless, as Tamara Prosianik, the editor-in-chief of the Kremenchug weekly Informative bulletin asserted, the local Themis found groundless eight claims against the weekly. Yet, the Mirgorod inter-district prosecutors office refused to start the criminal case about impeding the professional activities of a journalist, namely Viktor Kozoriz, the editor of the newspaper Mirgiridska Pravda. V. Kozoriz was, by the order of P. Kandyba, the head of the district state administration, was bodily thrown out (having thorn his jacket in the process) from the conference, where any witnesses from the information press were undesirable. On the contrary, the journalist was practically blamed that he invented the fact of the beating. These conclusions were made by the prosecutors office from the evidence provided by the participants of the conference (closed for the press, as it was written in the prosecutors resolution). Among the witnesses was A. Korsunskiy, a colleague-journalist from the official district newspaper. What can one say about journalists and common human ethics?!
The authorities now are trying to destroy the Poltava TV and radio company ЮТА. The head of company, after 8 years of faithful service to town mayor A. Kukoba, at last found vigor to stand up from his knees. The authorities are acting after the standard script. Customers are insistently recommended not to place their advertisements in this company, the rental was increased by 15 times, the broadcasting of the company programs in the Poltava cable network was suspended. Two specialized institutes estimated that the radiation of the TV company transmitter is by an order of magnitude less than the boundary admissible doze. In spite of this E. Tomin, the head of the Poltava oblast state administration, at one of the weekly apparatus conferences, ordered to two corresponding services to solve the question about placing the transmitting antenna to other sites. V. Shapoval, the chief state sanitary doctor of the Poltava oblast, who personally signed and stamped the sanitary permissions of the Tv company in 2001, suddenly issued the official letter, in which he urges the administration of the House of technology to break the contract with the TV company for the rent of the roof, where the antenna is placed.
Georgiy Chechik, the general manager of the TV and radio company ЮТА, considers that the actions of the Poltava rulers directed at the closure of the company are caused by the fact that he has more than 30 hours of video records, where the local authorities of all levels look, mildly speaking, not very well. So, they are afraid that this compromising materials would be transmitted during the election campaign. It is obvious that when the voters see the moral level of their rulers, it will be no sense to continue their election campaigns. Although the permissive documents of the TV company for the transmitting antenna are in order, the Poltava officials demonstrate their firm attitude: Poltava town sanitary doctor Sukhonos has already issued the order to dismount the antenna.
That is the way how the Law is obeyed in this country!
Comment of the counselor of IREX ProMedia.
In my opinion, the freedom of speech, like any other value, is not something given forever. Always there is somebody, who will try to encroach upon it. This is the problem, but it must case not desperation and passivity, but the wish to struggle for ones rights. Each of us is free to choose if he will fight and how.
However, some ways are efficient, and others are not. It depends upon us: either we want to inform the public about a problem or to solve it.
The mentioned incidents are the conflicts, which must be solved in the legal sphere.
The refusal to start the criminal case concerning V. Kozoriz may be protested at court or at the oblast prosecutors office. One should remember that the success of this case for the journalist depends upon the fact if he was accredited or not. If not, it would mean that he violated the legal rules and cannot pretend to be protected by law.
In the case of the TV and radio company ЮТА it is important to know, what are the objections formally and from whom they emerge. If the documents of the company are in order, then the actions of those, who impede the broadcasting, must be brought in court with computing the total financial losses. It is also hard to understand, how might one to increase the rent by 15 times. This must be complaint against in the special court.
If your colleagues intend to protection their rights, they must turn to lawyers, and not only inform the public about al these violations.
Nataliya Petrova, advokat
Bukovina journalists vs. the oblast information directorate
Recently the editors of the leading Bukovina mass media, the total run of which is up to 100 thousand copies, turned to the Ukrainian President, the General Prosecutors office, the State Committee of information and the committee of the Supreme Rada in charge of the freedom of speech and information. The editors made public some documents, which testify of the direct meddling of the oblast executive power to the subscription campaign in Bukovina.
In response to this appeal I. Vergun publicly blamed (on the pages of the newspaper Bukovina) the editions Chas, Molodiy Bukovinets, Doba and Chernovtsy for libel, misinformation of the population, prdered materials and destabilizing the public and political situation in the oblast.
As UNIAN informed, referring to Petr Kobelko, the editor-in-chief of Chas, the heads of the involved newspapers sent to Vergun the demand to give the needed explanations and to publish the refutation of the information distributed by his directorate. According to Kobelko, after the 10-day expectation of the response the editors intend to turn to court against the directorate and to demand money compensation for the moral damage.
Yulia Timoshenko blames the power for destroying Vecherni Visti
The text of the declaration was passed today to ForUm. In its declaration Batkivshchina appeals political parties to protest against the suppression of the freedom of speech and turns to international organizations with the request to consider the situation with the freedom of speech in Ukraine and to assess the anti-democratic activities of the power.
The party Batkivshchina energetically protests against the attack at the freedom of speech started by the criminal-oligarchic regime before the parliamentary election. The goal of this attack, they assert, is to deprive the opposition of the opportunity to communicate with the mass media and people, and to conceal the truth about falsifying the results of voting.
Militia learned about the attack at a journalist from mass media
The victim herself had not information militia about the accident. Ms. Milchevska was almost throttled to death in the doorway of her house, when she was returning from her office.
As Lidia Milchevska told, two young strangers waited for her in the doorway. One of them started to throttle her at once, while another was standing on guard. The attackers demanded nothing and were completely silent. All this could finish fatally, but some of neighbors opened the door on hearing the womans cries. The criminals had to flee. They did not take either the handbag or purse. Lidia does not negate that the attack could be connected with her professional activities. In the last issue of the newspaper that was printed on the previous day, contained the article The freedom of speech under muzzles of tommy-guns. The article described the preliminary consideration of the case of the bank Slovyanskiy in the Artemivskiy district court of Lugansk.
L. Milchevska did not turn to militia on principle, since she had already dealt with militia before, when in 1998 she was attacked for the first time. Then she was beaten on the head. After this she spent almost two months in a hospital with a cerebral brain concussion. Militia could not help her, so the victim just fidgeted in vain. The case was started and closed after some time. As Ms. Milchevska told to a correspondent of Politichna Ukraina, this time she asked the militiamen to install some illumination in the neighborhood and to patrol it now and then.
Another journalist beaten
As it became known, the territory of the collector belongs namely to the mentioned chemical enterprise, which, possibly, is responsible for the ecological accident. As the result of this accident industrial waste and faeces flowed directly to the Dnieper, and the town was left without drinking water during the New Year festivities for several days.
The persons, who violated the rights of the journalist, appeared to be guards from AZOT and not state security officers, as they told. Their presence at the accident site testifies that the administration of the chemical enterprise wanted to conceal the reasons of the breakthrough, which endangered not only the inhabitants of Cherkassy, but also the dwellers of the entire middle of the Dnieper region. The journalist violated neither the boundaries of the guarded territory nor ignored the demands of any prohibiting signs, which, by the way, were absent. He fulfilled his usual professional duties on the territory belonging to the town.
Valeriy Vorotnik turned to the prosecutors office with the demand to start the criminal case immediately according to Article 171 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine Impeding permitted activities of journalist.
A private TV company closed in Simferopol.
The National Council regarded as anti-state propaganda and subversion of public morals several remarks within the program, in particular, the speech of Volodymir Klichnikov, the head of the executive committee of the party Soyuz, and the plot with the blitz-poll of Simferopol inhabitants. Besides, according to Sivachenko, the company violated a number of license conditions, for one, it broadcasts only 25% of national tele-product instead of 50%, and the programs in Ukrainian make only 5% instead of 30%.
As it became known, the decision about the suspension of the license of the TV company was taken by the National Council as early as on 15 November, but the administration of the company was informed about this only on 25 December. So one may suspect that ITB was plainly ousted from the air just before the election campaign.
In fact, the TV channel belongs to Lev Mirimskiy, a solid Crimean businessman and peoples deputy, who is a member of the deputies group Trudova Ukraina. Answering journalists question if the decision of the National Council is connected with the election campaign of Mirimskiy, head of ITB Pavel Sukhoruchenkov said: All is possible. At the same time he declared that the company would fight, defend its rights and would persecute the National Council in court, since the journalists of company think that the accusations of the anti-state propaganda are absurd.
Lugansk journalists stopped the hunger strike.
UNIAN informs that on 4 January the journalists involved stated that even such extremal from of protest as a hunger strike did not make the power put the law above egotistical interests of various individuals and groups, as it must be in a law-abiding country.
The collective of the TV-company will continue to protect their professional positions. However, they believe that the hunger strike was successful: the TV-company was supported by the inhabitants of Lugansk, public, political organizations, Ukrainian and foreign journalists, MPs, international human rights protecting organizations Reporters without frontiers and IREX Pro Media.
We remind that on 1 November another TV-company started to broadcast on the frequency of Efir-1, and on 14 November the attempt was made of capturing the building of Efir-1 by force. On the same day a number of employees of Efir-1 started the hunger strike on their work places, protesting against the violation of the rights for just court consideration and against the passivity of law-enforcing organs. To protect their rights the journalists turned to ombudsperson Nina Karpacheva.
Efir-1 contests in court the legality of the decision of the Lugansk town council on the liquidation of the TV-company since 16 July. According to the decision, after Efir-1 another company with the same name shall broadcast on the same frequency.
The journalists demand from the town council to return them their seal, stamp and documents before the court issues its decision about the legality of the liquidation of the company. Without these attributes the juridical enterprise cannot conduct normal activities.
Among journalists participating in the hunger strike were: manager of the TV-company Tatyana Kozhenovskaya, editor of the main TV office Olga Kuznetsova, head of the advertisement department Elena Popova and car driver Viktor Ganziy.
As korrespondent.net informed, on 8 December 2001 Olga Kuznetsova got to an intense care ward with the diagnosis dystrophy.
Ukraine is blacklisted by Reporters without frontiers for the second time on end.
This time Igor Aleksandrov is meant, whose brutal murder secured Ukraine a place side by side with such countries as North Ireland, Kossovo and the country of Basques.
The total sum up of the report is that the freedom of the press is deteriorating throughout the world. In most statistical indicators 2001 appeared to be much worse than the previous year. The only exception among the indicators is the number of murdered journalists, which is one less.
The freedom of the press in figures:
Murdered journalists: 31 (2001), 32 (2000); arrested journalists: 489 (2001), 329 (2000); threats and violence: 716 (2001), 510 (2000); acts of censorship: 378 (2001), 295 (2000); condemned journalists: 110 (by 2 January 2002), 77 (by 4 January 2001).
The dry statistics of the report testifies that the number of the arrested journalists grew by 50% during the year; the number of journalists, who became victims of threats and violence, grew by 40%.
For the first time during recent years in 2001 the cases of violating the freedom of the press were observed in the countries of stable democracy. This was a consequence of the terrorist act of 11 September and the consecutive anti-terrorist operation for the most mass media of the USA, Canada and Great Britain.
The tendency of the enhanced control over foreign journalists appeared in some countries. This tendency is observed in China, Saudi Arabia, Burma, North Korea and Vietnam.
The other dangerous tendency observed in many countries is the impunity of the crimes committed against journalists. The criminal investigations of the cases on murdered journalists are completed, as a rule, without any results, the organizers of these crimes remain unfound and unpunished. Ukraine also got into the list of such countries. The helplessness of the General Prosecutors office and the Ministry of Interior in Gongadzes case forced the Council of Europe to approve the recommendations for carrying out the independent investigation with the participation of foreign experts.
Social and economic rights
Acetone disease in Cherkassy
The newspaper Kyiv Post informs that Cherkassy look gloomy because of the enterprise Azot (Nitrogen) and other chemical enterprises. Maybe, this pollution is the basic reason of cancer and other fatal diseases, from which permanent residents of the town suffer during several last decades. Frequently the wind in the town is polluted and stinking, so the inhabitants have to keep windows tightly shut.
Irina Ionova, a doctor of the town children polyclinic, told that most pediatric diseases in the town are connected with the emissions of local chemical enterprises. During 1980 the doctors of the polyclinic examined many children, who suffer from internal diseases. The examination showed that children suffer from acetone, sickness, weakness and diarrhea. Acetone is very solvable, it spreads over the entire body and is excreted with urine. G. Dubrovska, the head of the working of the IOHR, referring to L. Mayboroda, the sanitary town doctor, informs that up to 1995 such disease as acetone had not existed. Since this disease became typical of Cherkassy, the special commission from Kyiv worked here in 1997 to find out the reasons of appearing this disease. The commission explained the disease by the pollution of the local atmosphere.
The pollution of the air occurred during the last decade, the pollution in Cherkassy was 1.3 times more than the official data stated, informed A. Fruzenkova, who works in the organization of environment protection. In 1999 her group registered 165 cases of pollution of local air.
The great number of children, who suffer from asthma, bronchitis, allergy and other respiratory diseases, is connected with the pollution. In 1997 approximately 8.8% of children had bronchitis. Last year this number grew to 9.6%. As doctor V. Kutsiuruba, the head of the recovery center, pointed out, that the acetone disease continues to spread today, and only 20% of children are born healthy.
In 1990 the gross product of the enterprises Chemical fiber and Nitrogen diminished by 25%. Yet, in spite of this, the chemical pollution of the Cherkassy region remains immense. So, Nitrogen works polluting the environment with 27 harmful substances, which are spread throughout the town by wind. Specialists assert that the pollution of the town is due to two factors: meteorological and topographical. Meteorological reason is the local wind rose. The topological factor is the incorrect allocation of chemical enterprises (1960).
In 1997 the emissions of poisonous substances exceeded the norms. So specialists are now developing the method of the monitoring of the environment pollution and the level of diseases caused by the chemical enterprises.
Most enterprises of the Cherkassy region are oriented at the export of their product and producing raw materials for future processing at American plants. This must stimulate the work of cleaning the environment, believes V. Khomenko, the head of the ecological security of the Cherkassy oblast.
The results of the work by the members of the IOHR on the determination of the number of children, who suffer from the acetone disease, and the unofficial data, obtained from children polyclinics, showed that now almost all children younger than six are sick with the acetone disease. We are sure that these data must be known to a broad public. The existing fine sanctions against enterprises must be revised and increased, for who will pay for each sick child?
Antoniks case may be falsified.
As a UNIAN correspondent informs, during the press conference held in the National union of Ukrainian journalists, journalist Natalya Okolitenko told about a number of facts that, in her opinion, directly testify about Antoniks innocence.
First, she told, the time of the murder, which, as experts determined, occurred two hours before the body was found, does not coincide with the time, when R. Antonik came to the Maryinsky park. In particular, the body was found about 20:00, and Antonik, as it is shown by a check exhibited in court, at 19:30 ordered coffee, 50 grams of vodka and mineral water in the cafe Tarasik on the corner of Institutska St. and Kripostny lane. Ms. Okolitenko is sure that R. Antonik was not in the park at the time of the murder.
N. Okolitenko also pointed out that the testimony of the only eyewitness of the crime, being logically analyzed, also serves as Antoniks alibi. By the way the witness, Volkovsky, according to medical expertise, is oligophrenic with traits of debility.
Okolitenko said that she does not assert that Antonik is not the murderer, but this case is so fuzzy that the decision of the Pecherskiy district court, which found Antonik guilty, cannot be well-proven. Besides, she considers strange that the court decided to destroy all the exhibits concerning this case. By the way, among these exhibits there was not a single one, which directly pointed at Antonik as guilty, in particular the knife, which served as a tool of the murder was absent.
As Tatyana Yablonska, a member of the Ukrainian-American bureau of human rights protection, the case against R. Antonik was falsified in order to close it as soon as possible. She is sure that Antonik was framed in order to report about the successful investigation of the murder. T. Yablonska said that the main reason of so fast reaction of law-enforcers is the fact that P. Tychynsky was a relative of a top official. Ms. Yablonska refused to name this official, but said that she knew that Tychynskiy, on the day of being murdered, had a business appointment in the park with a man in dark trousers. This is known to the witnesses, whom the court refused to interrogate. Meanwhile, she said, Antonik wore white trousers this day.
T. Yablonska also informed that Antoniks case will be considered by all means by the European Court of human rights. Yet, for Ukraine it will cost too much.
All journalists, who investigated this case, stressed that Antoniks confession was made after he was cruelly beaten by his cellmate in the preliminary prison. Later Antonik denied his confession.
On 3 January 2002 the Supreme Court of Ukraine will have to consider the cassation appeal of Antoniks advocates.
UNIAN reminds the reader the circumstances of the case.
On 28 December 2000 the Pecherskiy district court of Kyiv City found Ruslan Antonik, the manager-editor of the Peoples TV company of Ukraine, guilty in the murder of P. Tychinsky and condemned him to 13 years of incarceration in a colony of strengthened regime.
Antoniks advocate Sergiy Kryzhanivski stated that, taking the decisions, judge Yulia Ivanenko did not take into account the arguments of the defense that proved the innocence of the accused.
R. Antonik was blamed for stabbing seven times businessman P. Tychynsky, who died in the result. Antonik categorically rejected these accusations and assessed the criminal case against him as a provocation on the side of law-enforcing organs caused by his work with the series of TV features Affair of the al-Ukrainian scale. The feature was broadcast on his channel and criticized the activities of the Federation of trade unions of Ukraine. Immediately after the first feature went into air, one of the heads of the Federation phoned to the editorial board with threats to mince Antonik. Advocate Kryzhanivski tells that Antonik has the well-proven alibi. The main proof of the defense is the check from the cafe, where R. Antonik stayed during the murder of Tychynsky. Yet, the court disregarded this exhibit. The advocate said his client was psychologically pressed by militiamen with the aim to force him to confess.
How to defend from authorities slander
On 12 September 2001 a citizen K. was detained by militiamen of a Kherson district precinct being suspected of a crime – theft of personal property (Articles 140 part 2 and 208 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). The reason of the detainment was the evidence of minor B., who asserted that he together with K. burgled into a countryside house last summer. It must be mentioned that the minor would get a substantially weaker punishment if the theft was committed with a grownup accomplice. How the was theft committed and what was the role of K. (a businessmen and a respectful father of a family) the witness could not tell.
On 15 September the district court chose as a preventive measure for K. a signed promise not to leave the town. Yet, somebody found the court decision too liberal. So, the decision was somewhat corrected.
When K. returned home after the court session, some uniformed guests visited him. They took him to another district precinct under the pretext of signing the promise. There, by the order of an investigating officer, he was detained again for the same crime.
For three days the relatives of the detained did not know where he was. For three days his advocate scanned the town in search of his client.
Meanwhile K. underwent some adventures resembling a detective thriller. I will disappoint lovers of bloody details: K. was not beaten. Yet, there was enough of moral pressure. To begin with, he was placed to the same cell with a murderer, then the interrogations began. Well-tried methods were applied: threats; persuasions; promises to release him, if he denounces his advocate; lies that his advocate took the money and disappeared leaving his client to the mercy of fate; propositions to take another advocate and so on, and so forth.
Within K.s cell they pressed upon him as well. From the adjoining cell he heard the cries: Do not beat me! Ill sign all! These cries, in the opinion of militiamen, had to stimulate K. for correct actions. Yet, K. remained adamant! He did not give evidence either against himself or his advocate. K. was released after three days; his case will, most probable, be closed.
At this point one could sigh with relief and say: Thank God, all passed! and to forget all this horror as soon as possible. However, our hero and his advocate decided to restore justice. The sent complaints to prosecutors of the both districts, to the oblast prosecutor and to the oblast militia head about the violation of Articles 371 and 374 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (illegal detention and deprivation of legal defense). And they manage to gain some success!
The investigating officer, who illegally detained K., was disciplinarily punished, although his boss, the initiator of this lawless action, remained in the shadow.
Possibly, if our state officers could sacrifice the honor of some uniforms for the Law, we, rank-and-file, people, would not feel ourselves the children, who lost their way in the jungle lawlessness.
This system, in the framework of the operating laws, enables officials to misuse their power
Now the appeal of Sergey Potamanov is being considered in the appellation court and the European Court of human rights. The journalist told that he would do his best not only for his rehabilitation, but also to achieve some changes in the Ukrainian penitentiary system, which does not satisfy the norms of a civilized democratic country. I see two actual problems. The first is to cancel the verdict because of the procedural violations made in the court. The second problem is to start active fighting against violations in the work of the existing penitentiary system, since my consciousness and journalists dignity will not permit me to stand aside, Sergey Potamanov said.
According to his words, the state of the Ukrainian penitentiary system is abhorring: This system, in the framework of the operating laws, enables officials to misuse their power. Being at large I never could fancy that such situation can exist, and if someone told me about this, I would not believe. But after I experienced all this on my own skin, I can prove that. I want to do my best to change the entire system – both as a journalist and as a human rights protector. I intend to do this until I succeed.
Most convicts in Ukraine are not socially dangerous
Who will defend the rights of the parents of perished servicemen?
Ukraine does not have a law, which would stipulate social protection of the parents, whose children perished in the army in the peaceful time. The operating laws are so vague in this respect that the parents are divided into two categories: those, whose children perished during the execution of their service duties – they have some privileges, and those, whose children perished or died of diseases or committed suicides in the army -- they have no privileges at all. So the parents live, having lost their dearest sons, unneeded and unassisted by the state.
That is why so many people gathered at the mentioned conference. The conference hall was given by the Kharkov oblast branch of Rukh of Ukraine.
83 persons took part in the conference, who undersigned a letter to the President and the Supreme Rada. This letter contains demands to initiate the legislation aimed at the development and adoption of the special law concerning the parents of servicemen perished in the peaceful time (by the way, there is such a law in Russia).
The participants also turned to the city council and the oblast state administration with the demand to regulate the reception of the privileges by the parents, since the state officials in different districts of the city and oblast interpret the operating laws differently.
The case of TV-6 and the crisis of the Russian court system.
We shall remind the reader that the demand to liquidate the TV company was put out the last summer by one of the shareholders, the pension fund Lukoyl-Garant, because the enterprise was unprofitable during 1999-2000. The Moscow arbitral court satisfied the claim, but the superior instance, the Moscow regional arbitral court cancelled this decision on 29 December 2001 and returned the case for reconsidering. Meanwhile, the norm of the Civil Code, basing on which the first instance court satisfied the claim, was abolished since 1 January 2002. Now the negative active as such in the past may not be a formal reason for the liquidation. This, certainly, deprived the claimant of any hope to win the process.
However, the common court procedure was hastily interrupted by Eduard Renov, the chairman of the Supreme arbitral court. He protested against the decision of the regional court, and this protest was satisfied as hastily (on 11 January) by the Presidium of the Supreme arbitral court. Thus, the case of TV-6 has been resolved not only contrary to the common sense (the company became profitable in 2001), but, in fact, according to already cancelled legal norm. The obvious dependence of this decision on considerations that are external with respect to the right returns us to the old good legal practices of the Soviet times.
The absurd behavior of the claimant can be easily explained. Lukoyl is notorious by its will and wish to be a media-killer: let us recollect the events of 1997, when the editorial board of the newspaper Izvestiya, whose publications angered the then prime minister, was replaced. The genuine reason of persecuting the TV company is, rather, in the idee fixe of some top Kremlin authorities: to oust from the informational space Boris Berezovskiy, who is a businessman and politician disagreeable to them. Some of them even do not try to conceal that the debacle of TV-6 is caused by the wish to wipe out any trace of the opposition oligarch on the Russian political scene.
This intention itself witnesses that the freedom of speech for any political forces, which act in the framework of the Constitution, has not become an absolute norm for the state power. Yet, the court decision of 11 January will enter history not only as a consecutive attempt to order the freedom of speech and to line up Russian mass media. The main sense of this decision is different.
The open servility of the Presidium of the Supreme arbitral court demonstrated the acute shortage of the independent justice at the top of the Russian court system. Some weeks before the similar shortage of independence in the military justice was demonstrated by the verdict in Grigoriy Paskos case.
It is not principal, if there was an open pressure on the judges or, what is even more dangerous, they took their decisions obeying the anticipating servility. One thing is important: the state, which announced itself European and is hurrying to the tests of the new age, has problems with legal brakes.
The main lesson, which the previous century taught Russia, was that inviolability and indivisibility of the right is the only guarantee of our freedom and safety. So we may not consider the TV company TV-6 as the only prey of the mentioned court decision. The court arbitrariness in its any form threatens the rights of all Russian citizens, their safety, freedom and life.
Exactly ten years ago we were pleased, when the newly created Constitutional court cancelled the decree of the Russian President on blending several ministries, and the President obeyed this decision. We had an illusion that the independent court power appeared in Russia at last. Now it is clear that the reason was not the force of the law, but just the temporary weakness of the executive power. Now the latter has somewhat grew stronger and finds without difficulty tamed judges, who are ready to demonstrate their loyalty not to law, but to their bosses.
What has happened proves again that it is necessary to reform the Russian court system as soon as possible. The society must mobilize all its efforts to create after all in our country the independent and strong court power.
Memorial expresses its solidarity to journalist collective of TV-6, which suffered from the arbitrariness of the court. The inviolability of the right and the freedom of expression are the stronghold of a civil society. We believe that no public organization, independently of the type its activities, may not observe aloofly how the power, following their petty political interests, tries to destroy this stronghold.
16 January 2002
Point of view
Suffered for language?
The decision must be take by the Ukrainian President. In his explanatory note Porovskiy stated that Dubina, as a top state official, had to obey the operating laws and the Constitution.
Offenders of authors rights are sought in Ukraine.
Entre nous, activists
In the beginning of January the Kharkov Group for human rights protection received a letter from the Center of innovations and development, which informed about the restoration of the informational program for NGOs. The program envisages the publication of the weekly informational digest, magazine Perekhrestia, magazine Bukhgalter NPO (NGO accountant) and the Internet-portal Tretiy sektor (The third sector), which would contain electronic versions of all publications, legislative base and have various additional functions: discussions, voting, etc. It seemed that we, their colleagues, must be happy. Yet, all this appeared to be not free of charge. All organizations, who would like to receive the information, had to contribute the entrance fee not less than 50 UAH (the approximate costs were published). Using the site costs 20 UAH per three months, magazines – 10 UAH for every issue (5 UAH by e-mail), digest – 50 kopecks for an issue (19 kopecks by e-mail). Distribution of texts of laws, description of grant programs, application forms, publications, blanks of financial reports costs 50 kopecks for one page (30 kopecks by e-mail). The price of one fax page is 60 kopecks (30 kopecks in the Kyiv oblast and 10 kopecks in the city of Kyiv). The first issue of the digest The third sector appended to the letter contained the rubrics Law and NGOs, Grants, Events: What? Where? When?, Accountancy, Questions and answers and Jobs. The same information also was twice received by e-mail.
So, we have a precedent, when one NGO tries to get money from other NGOs for the consultations, editions, information about grants, etc. Are these actions correct? It would be normal in the countries, where NGOs have the right to earn money, although from the moral point of view the trade with information concerning grants looks, mildly speaking, queer. What6 concerns our country, where NGOs have no right to sell anything, this is rancid nonsense. One may understand their wish to get remuneration for some work, for example, publishing, the more so that sponsors donations frequently do not cover all the expenses. But I cannot understand the wish to get money for the information placed gratis on sites. I am sure that charity founds that hand out grants will also be not enthusiastic about this. Who are possible consumers? I think that the intended consumers are those NGOs, which have no access to the Internet and cannot get the information by themselves. I believe that these practices only bring shame upon the Center of innovations and development and the Ukrainian third sector as a whole. I think that the Center must stop such activities. Or change their registration and become an informational agency.
The mentioned information is rather senseless. For example, let us consider the advertisement about the competition of the British organization Allavida, which was published in the first issue of the digest. Having visited the site of the organization www.allavida.org, one can learn that it administers the grants of Charity Know How Fund, that the second round of the competition will be held, that the deadline for handing claims is 27 August, and it is impossible to compile the claim without the attentive studying of Guideline and Application Form. Moreover, these lengthy documents, 17 and 8 pages, respectively, contain a lot of details, to understand which one must turn to Allavida or to the fund. Nothing of the sort is said in the advertisement of the Center of innovations and development, as well as about the priorities of the competitions. Yet, the Center promises to send 10 pages in English (the information about the competition and the application form, although it is needed, I repeat, 25 pages) for a separate pay. This means that one will pay money and get nothing.
I recommend to those, who want to take part in the competition, to visit the site and to get the information by themselves. Those, who have no access to the Internet, must turn to Allavida by the e-mail address [email protected] and to request the information about the competition, guide and the application form. I am sure that all this will be obtained gratis. By the way the advertisement about this competition published in the 86th issue of the electronic bulletin of the Resource center of the development of public organizations Gurt is complete and free of charge.
The Resource center of the development of public organizations Gurt is placed at the address:
вул. Бiлоруська, 8, офiс 10, Киiв, 04050, Украiна
Tel./fax: (38 044) 213 98 04
e-mail: [email protected]
After 30 years.
These people were not connected in some secret organization, their groups and hobby circles were connected by personal contacts. Samizdat – the system of preparation and distribution of the alternative literature – has already formed, especially since the appearance in 1970 of the type-written magazine Ukrainskiy Visnyk (The Ukrainian Herald) edited by V. Chornovil. Samizdat publications usually did not raise the question of the change of power. Yet, acting within the framework of the existing political system, the 60-niks reconstructed social and psychological properties of the almost fully exterminated Ukrainian intelligentsia: natural self-esteem, individualism, orientation to the common human values, intolerance of the injustice, respect of ethical norms, of the right and law. Lofty cultural and moral standards, sensitive attention to new ideas reigned in this community. It opposed both the official totalitarian ideology and primitivism. It united people of different nationalities and outlooks, which, at the same time never considered each other as enemies: at that time everybody desperately needed freedom, and the sovereignty of Ukraine seemed to be a guarantor of such freedom. The epoch of cultivated faceless mass and total fear was slowly retreating, Personalities that were the base of the Christian European culture revived. Do you know that you are a Man?, asked Vasyl Simonenko in the early 60s. Cultural demands of individuals necessarily turned into the political, anti-empire movement, since the colonial state was the main reason of the destruction of the Ukrainian cultural originality. V. Simonenkos poetry was, maybe, the first expression of this process of growing to political demands: My people exists. My people will ever live. And nobody will make my people die. There were moral, ethical protests of the brilliant cohort of outstanding personalities, who were already prepared to develop a broad national liberating movement. The colonial power understood this danger: in this relation the blow upon the 60-niks was committed, perhaps, too late.
The Ukrainian samizdat slipped easily through the frontiers and the iron curtain. The samizdat sounded on radio Liberty and was published in other languages. It shattered the Russian Empire, which already could not stand the ideological, economic and military competition with the democratic West and had to retreat step by step. That is why the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, the rulers of the Empire, ordered to begin the all-Union campaign against samizdat on 30 December 1971.
This time almost all the active 60-niks got the maximum punishment: 7 years of incarceration and 5 years of exile, and were transported outside Ukraine to Mordovia, the Perm oblast in Russia, Siberia and Kazakhstan. Most obstinate were thrown into psychiatric hospitals (L. Pliushch, M. Plakhotniuk and others).
Having squashed the Ukrainian 60-niks, Moscow had other tricks up the sleeve. Moscow started the unprecedented attack against Ukraine, wishing to liquidate her language, cultural, historical and national identity. It was done through ruining the education system, newspapers and magazines in the Ukrainian language. As a result, a great number of Ukrainians dropped their national and religious consciousness to the level below zero; they became ashamed of their nationality.
The social atmosphere after 1972, in contrast to that of 1965, was depressive. Separate attempts to protest against the arrests were trampled down most cruelly. Everybody, who refused to give evidence against the arrested or showed infinitesimal signs of compassion to them were sacked from their jobs, from the queues to get living accommodation, they or their children were not admitted to higher education or were expelled from institutes, they were blacklisted and thus devoid of any chance to make a service or creative career. Who wanted to survive had to confess alleged sins, to write insincere pasquinades about their recent friends or foreign Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists – servile agents of capitalist security services, to vomit out false odes praising oppressors of their motherland. Some could not stand this poisonous atmosphere, they went crazy or alcoholic, committed suicides. The firmest went to the long internal emigration or really emigrated to Russia.
Upon the whole, the national resistance was stoical. Cases of moral degradation and other attempts by privileges, in spite of the tremendous risk, were very infrequent. We must pay a compliment to the KGB: they handpicked their personnel very carefully. The 60-niks continued their struggle even behind the bars: they wrote samizdat, fought for the status of political prisoners, defended their honor and the dignity of the whole nation. Among other actions they, after the initiative of Viacheslav Chornovil, marked the Day of Ukrainian political prisoner (12 January) with hunger strikes and protests. They were supported by the older generation – rebels, who were ending their 25-year-long terms and had the authority of the most inflexible fighters in concentration camps. The 60-niks deserved the moral endorsement of the democratic world. Thanks to them the world learned about the fighting Ukraine and began to assist her. The world respects the countries that showed themselves spiritually. The independent did not fall to us from the sky. These were the 60-niks and, 5 years after their arrest, their successors -- Ukrainian Helsinki Group, who put the Ukrainian problem into the context of the opposition of the totalitarian USSR and the democratic West, and, after all they defeated the Empire of Evil and gained freedom and independence. As early as in 1981 Ivan Lisiak-Rudnitskiy, a well-known investigator of political thought, pointed out:
… The importance of the dissident movement in Ukraine did not leave any doubts. Self-sacrificing of these brave men and women testify about the unbreakable spirit of the Ukrainian nation.
Their struggle for human and national rights complies with the tendency of the world common advance in the spirit of freedom. The Ukrainian dissidents believe that the truth of freedom will triumph. Those, who are lucky to live in free countries, should believe not less.
These concluding words concern also you, our young contemporary! Will you properly use this freedom, are you ready to take the relay-race baton passed to you by freedom-loving fathers? The alternative proposed by the current power, you must understand, is to live in the post-Soviet country, which is, in fact, undistinguishable from a colony.