Four Years Without Oles Buzina: Why the Investigation Has Been Led Down a Blind Alley

April 16th 2019 marks four years since the writer Oles Buzina was murdered. He was shot in Kiev at the entrance of his own house.

It is possible to safely say that the murder was political. Buzina opposed the war in Donbass and criticised Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk. And long ago sparred with nationalists, calling into question their version of Ukrainian history.

He constantly participated in talk show where he said that it is necessary to have dialogue with the residents of Donbass, which caused waves of hatred to arrive from ruling circles.

Probably this also explains the fact that in four years, with the presence of defendants, no sentence has yet been handed down. And the prosecutor’s office does not even try to name the clients and organisers of the crime – they are simply absent in the case.

The reason may also related to the belonging of the performers to the far-right organisation C14, and the clients – to the authorities in power.

The facts speak about this group. Despite the weight of the crime, both defendants in the case remain at large, without any measure of restraint. “C14” is known for openly working for the SBU and serves the interests of Bankova Street.

The Ukrainian “Strana” news agency revisited the details of this crime, investigation, and trial.

How the murder happened

The writer, journalist, and former managing director of the “Segodnya” newspaper Oles Buzina was killed in April 2015. He was shot by a revolver on April 16th at around 13:20 in Kiev, outside the entrance of the high-rise building where he lived. The writer at the time was doing some jogging.

According to the initial data, two unknown persons in masks were the murderers. A car with an Italian numberplate was later found abandoned.

On the eve of the murder – two days prior – the personal data of Buzina appeared on the Mirotvorets website. It had been published by a certain user “404”. And after the murder of the writer and journalist the following appeared on the page: “Agent ‘404’ has caused a stir. For the successful performance of today’s combat task, they have been granted short-term leave”.

Later all the data of Buzina disappeared from the website. But then text appeared stating that the writer hasn’t committed any crimes that would warrant his inclusion on “Mirotvorets”.

However, screenshots still exist.

I.e., from this episode it was already clear that the case was not without the interference of the Ukrainian authorities – “Mirotvorets” never hid that it cooperates with the SBU and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Among its creators the people’s deputy from “People’s Front” party Anton Gerashchenko and the current deputy minister for the “occupied territories” Georgy Tuka are registered.

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Immediately after the murder, Vladimir Putin spoke about the tragedy. Supporters of the Ukrainian authorities used his statement as an excuse to speak about a “Russian trace”. However, by the summer the investigation pointed at radical Ukrainian nationalists.

The ordered nature of the murder and its connection with the professional activity of Buzina became the official narrative of the investigation. Also, the similarity to the murder (he was shot) of the former people’s deputy from the Party of Regions Oleg Kalashnikov, committed the day before was noted.

Both Kalashnikov and Buzina on the eve of their deaths had mentioned that they had received threats.

The writer was buried at the Berkovetsky cemetery of Kiev. Hundreds of people came to say goodbye to him.

On June 18th 2015 the Interior Minister Arsen Avakov reported about the disclosure of the murder and detention of three people.

One of them was later released due to a lack of proof. According to rumours, it was the head of “C14” Evgeny Karas, who did not confirm this fact, but in 2015 said that the desire exists to make him the third suspect in the case. But the possible role he played will be mentioned later.

The two other detainees were the nationalists from “C14” Denis Polishchuk and Andrey Medvedko, who are the only suspects even today.

The first stage of the investigation was carried on rather actively. DNA examinations were carried out, and they confirmed the belonging of Polishchuk and Medvedko to the biological traces on the things of the murderers. The defendants left the car that was used by the killers.

However, since the end of 2015 the investigation slowed down.

The suspects Medvedko and Polishchuk were liberated in general by the end of 2015. And the investigation was completed only in June 2017.

As a result, only in 2018 did the court start to consider the murder of Buzina in essence – three years after the crime.

The Buzina court case

Thus, two members of the nationalist organisation “C14” – Denis Polishchuk and Andrey Medvedko – were trialled on charges of murdering Oles Buzina.

Andrey Medvedko was the head of the Pechersky regional branch of Svoboda in Kiev and also an activist and one of the creators of “C14”. At the end of 2014 he served in the ATO zone for a short time as a part of the battalion of the Ministry of Internal Affairs named “Kiev-2”. Denis Polishchuk was also involved in the war in Donbass.

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Both suspects deny their guilt. Medvedko and Polishchuk risk from 10 to 15 years of imprisonment or life imprisonment. The actions of the suspects are qualified as “premeditated murder committed with a previous agreement by a group of persons” and the “illegal possession of weapons”.

At the same time, only the alleged performers of the murder have been specified in the case. Neither the clients nor the organisers of the crime are known to the investigation even theoretically. They are not mentioned in the materials at all.

As it appears from the indictment, the prosecutors specify Polishchuk and Medvedko’s ideological hostility to Oles as a motive of the murder. It’s like saying that they committed the criminal act at their own initiative.

According to sources in the investigation team, they actually do not believe in such an interpretation and believe that it’s unlikely that Medvedko and Polishchuk committed the crime at their own initiative.

I.e., there was someone who directly tasked both of them with murdering the writer. According to one of the narratives, only the leader of “C14” Evgeny Karas was involved (he, of course, denies his participation, although as was written above, he also confirms that attempts are being made to drag him into the case). And, if it was really Karas, then he also took orders from certain persons.

What are these persons? The investigation should answer this question. But, taking into account the fact that the head of “C14” said that he closely cooperates with the SBU, and recently his presence has been constantly noted in various actions for the benefit of Poroshenko, it is not surprising that the investigation doesn’t strongly dig for the potential clients.

One more important point – just before Buzina’s murder Medvedko was being surveyed, which established their preparation for a certain action with the participation of former law enforcement officers.

However, reports about Medvedko being surveyed unexpectedly stopped on April 8th 2015 – the day when the future killers for the first time appeared for observation near the house of Buzina on Degtyarevskaya Street in Kiev.

“There are two options,” said a source in the prosecutor’s office. “Either someone gave the order to stop observation, or materials were then withdrawn from the case. In both cases it is an extremely suspicious situation that can indicate that someone from law enforcement bodies was aware of the fact that a crime was being prepared”.

The source also indicated that, according to his informaiton, an acting employee of the SBU came into the field of view of surveyors. Medvedko also met him on the eve of the death of Buzina, but records about this rendezvous also oddly don’t remain.

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In any case, it is extremely surprising that one of the suspects in the murder was being shadowed on the eve of the crime, but no one officially stated this during the investigation of the murder.

An article with this information, which largely changes the understanding about the preparation of Buzina’s murder, was published by the “Strana” news agency in the afternoon of June 22nd 2017. But in the evening of the same day the police rushed into the office of the agency and detained the editor-in-chief of Igor Guzhva on a fake case of extortion…

The case is considered slowly, the mother of Buzina writes a letter to Trump

The Shevchenkovsky court of Kiev is engaged in considering the case on Oles Buzina’s murder. The collegium of judges is headed by Evgeny Sidorov, and one of the “side” judges – Oleg Linnik, who in the past liberated Yuliya Krysina, the murderer of the journalist Vyacheslav Veremiy.

There are excesses in court on a constant basis. “C14” came to hearings with flares, and the support group of Medvedko and Polishchuk started arguments with Oles Buzina’s mother.

In the summer of 2018 the mother of Buzina wrote a letter to the US President Donald Trump about the murder of her son and about the fact that his alleged murderers haven’t even been arrested.

She asked for help with the investigation into the murder. Also, in court she said that she intends to fight for the good name of her son up to the end. On August 7th 2018 she submitted a claim to the European Court of Human Rights.

On April 8th the prosecutor started to announce the indictment, which consists of 30 pages. After having heard more than a half of the indictment, the court announced an adjournment. The prosecutor’s office promised that hearings will take place nearly every week, which will accelerate process of consideration of the case.

However, it is obvious that the prospects of this case and also the search for the clients are rather connected to the change of government in the country, which will probably happen already very soon.

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