Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
About the last day of the existence of a democratic Ukraine on the fourth anniversary of its death…
February 23rd, 2014, was a Sunday. In Odessa there was a funeral silence since the morning, but in Kiev the holiday was in full swing. But it wasn’t Defender of the Motherland Day. The Maidan scum who staged the “revolution of dignity” was celebrating its victory over Ukraine. In the morning I was called by the founders of the Odessa TV company where I was editor-in-chief, and “convincingly asked” to interrupt the current broadcast and to remove the sharply anti-nazi release of the analytical “Background” program from it, which became the last one prepared in a still relatively free country where people weren’t immediately thrown into prison or killed for having a different opinion. Here is what was said in this program, in particular:
“In February, 2014, the Middle Ages returned to Ukraine. Yes, yes — this same long ago forgotten ancient social order, during which all, somehow important issues were resolved in the most plain way — by means of a cudgel, a sword, or an axe.
And although today we are beautifully told that supposedly nothing especially terrible happened in Ukraine, and that the country allegedly returned to the Constitution of 2004 – tell me please what Constitution can be spoken about when the parliament of the country is actually taken hostage, its deputies are intimidated and terrorised, law enforcement bodies are paralysed, the duly elected President [Yanukovych – ed] is in hiding, and all decisions are made by so-called ‘field commanders of Maidan’ who came from nowhere. When for any against-the-grain word said to these self-appointed ‘saviors’ of the nation, for disagreeing with the so-called ‘will of the people’ you can be answered with a kick to the stomach or head. And this is in the best case scenario! What, in particular, freedom of speech and journalistic creativity can we speak of when at any time at the doorstep of the studio an armed thug can appear and put an end to any discussion and, at the same time, the lives of the attendees via a couple of bursts of an automatic weapon? And moreover, he will be released already the following day via amnesty, if he will be detained at all… The arson of the house of a political opponent or the issuing of death threats towards his family is today considered to be a normal argument in a ‘political debate’. In general, the price of human life in Ukraine promptly falls, and newer and newer corpses don’t even become a reason for any investigations”.
(The analytical program ‘Background’, No. 339, Odessa, 23.02.2014)
It is precisely this that everything was heading towards not for the first year. Ukrainian democracy and freedom of speech already long ago aspired to zero, like a notorious shagreen. We saw long before this day how around us were obtuse-headed backwoodsmen, who started to frantically rage more and more, becoming impudent from full impunity, and who suddenly understood that now they are the main ones and can do everything they want. The attacks on different-thinking journalists who didn’t want to dance to the tune of the scum Maidanists became more and more frequent.
There was no freedom of speech in Ukraine already long before the coup. We especially sharply felt it after the new attack with bloodshed on our colleagues from Odessa and also the anti-fascist ATV television channel. When they organised in Kiev a press conference on this topic, in the hope of obtaining the professional solidarity of colleagues in the capital, practically none of them came from the media in Kiev media. And there was only one television camera – the operator of Russian television Leonid Zamchinsky.
After this it became extremely clear to us that here to beat and even kill journalists who don’t agree with Banderists is considered quite normal. And on this occasion nobody will especially protest about it.
On the evening of this same day — the first day of the victory of Banderist scum, near the windows of my own apartment I observed a scene that had been seemingly deliberately sent to me in order to connect the dots. A certain drunk-as-a-skunk type aged 25 who was on his last legs and, in addition… sorry… pissed on himself, with foul language and insults “educated” two policemen who were stood next to him who obviously were on duty, but in the same way obviously didn’t know what to do. And the former shouted that he is a revolutionary and that he now he is authority, while they in general are nobodies and he can whatever he wants with them. And the armed, robust guys in uniforms indeed didn’t do anything and simply silently left.
After this it became clear to me that this is the cliff edge, that there can’t be any talk about any normal journalistic work in this wild field occupied by stupefied-by-omnipotence bandits and frightened policemen.
Besides this, I had the responsibility not only for the safety of my own family, but for dozens of employees of the TV company, who, should our work continue in the previous freedom of speech regime, were exposed to real danger. In the morning on February 24th I was told that the storming of the building in which our broadcasting company “Akademiya” was located shouldn’t be excluded.
At 9.00am the last general planning meeting of the TV company under my management started. Everybody was dispirited by the events, And, of course, there couldn’t be any talk about normal work anymore. During this planning meeting I read “The statement of the editor-in-chief of the ‘Akademiya’ broadcasting company” written the day before at night. Everyone who was there and heard it can, if necessary, vouch that such a document indeed was sounded. Here is the full text:
“STATEMENT OF THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF THE BROADCASTING COMPANY ‘AKADEMIYA’ (Odessa):
In the conditions of the ramping up in the country of an atmosphere of fear and psychological terror, the full paralysis of law enforcement bodies and the lack of any legal guarantees, the implementation of normal professional activity of journalists on the basis of the fundamental principles of democracy – freedom of speech and freedom of information – becomes impossible and unsafe.
In particular, journalists of our TV channel were already repeatedly threatened with physical violence, the participants of our programs refuse to express on air their point of view on the events happening in the country, being afraid of the consequences, and those who already took part in the recording of programs ask us not to release them on the air.
Journalists are actually deprived of the possibility to say what they think on the air, because they know that an inadequate street crowd can become their judge and, potentially, executioner.
The bill introduced the day prior in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on restricting the activity on the territory of the country of so-called ‘biased media’ covering events in a way that doesn’t suit some deputies became more confirmation of the purposeful infringement of freedom of speech and information.
In protest against the current situation, which is actually the equivalent of a ban on professional journalistic activity, and in order to ensure the physical safety of our employees who are under continuous threat, I, as the head of the broadcasting company ‘Akademiya’, made the decision to suspend the broadcast of a number of public-political programs due to high-quality preparation becoming impossible in the present conditions. Including the analytical ‘Background’ program, the live program ‘Operative center’, and the ‘Antidote’ programs.
I believe that the authorities operating on the territory of Ukraine are obliged clearly, unambiguously, and thus urgently to guarantee and protect the rights of journalists to have a point of view even if it contradicts that of the authorities.
If this isn’t done, an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear will actually paralyse journalistic activity in our country and will return it to the time of totalitarianism, lawless prosecutions, and suppression of any dissent. Considering that the world community has to be aware of the threats to the fundamental basic principles of democracy existing in Ukraine, I will send this document to the Embassies of the Russian Federation, People’s Republic of China, the United States of America, and the representation of the European Union in Ukraine.
Editor-in-chief of the broadcasting company ‘Akademiya’ (Odessa),
This statement according to my instruction was brought to the attention of the relevant diplomatic missions. I, naturally, didn’t expect any practical reaction to it. Although, of course, at that moment I still didn’t completely imagine just how deaf and dumb the so-called “world community” and, especially, the West will be concerning the horrible things that were going on in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the measures taken by me to voluntary restrict the airwaves of our TV company already by lunchtime the same day seemed to be absolutely insufficient for someone, which I was informed about by one of the founders of the TV company, who asked me to completely clear the airwaves of any political broadcasts with an anti-Maidan orientation. And as our TV company didn’t and couldn’t have any other orientation, nothing was left for me to do except to give to my subordinates the instruction to leave only music and the most harmless movies on the airwaves, and to go home until the situation becomes safer.
On this I considered my professional mission on the territory of Ukraine to be completely exhausted, I boarded a plane and was in Moscow in the evening.
Everything else that happened to Ukraine and continues to happen to this very day was absolutely precisely described in that, in fact, prophetical Statement. Universal punishment for dissidents, the murders of the most known journalists and politicians who refused to swear an oath to the dictatorship, the prisons overflowed with so-called “helpers of the Russian aggressor” (and this is in a country where before this even the most insignificant Russian spy was noticed!), posters calling to hunt “household separatists”, a population completely intimidated by the lawlessness of Maidanist gangs, the total suppression of the last remains of the independent press, and, lastly, a bloody war against the part of their own people who didn’t want to recognise the bandits as the lawful governors of the country.
Exactly four years ago the night descended on Ukraine, which continues to this day. The country of the victorious “dignity” writhes in spasms from the undead that captured it. And I will honestly say that I don’t know how to help it. But I know something else for sure – this nightmare mustn’t be allowed to slither any further. But it can do it, because there are enough idiots and villains everywhere. And God forbid them from feeling unpunished.
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