Journalist Heorhy Gongadze vanishes in Kuchma's Ukraine
"Who is foolish enough to hope that such a regression to barbarism will go unpunished?" — Lubomyr Prytulak
Heorhy Gongadze, head of online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda (Ukrainian Truth) at www.pravda.com.ua, whose whereabouts are unaccounted for since 16-Sep-2000.
Leonid Kuchma, President
vul. Bankova, 7
The Ukrainian diaspora — and indeed the whole world — is appalled at the news that journalist Heorhy Gongadze, head of the online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda (Ukrainian Truth) at www.pravda.com.ua disappeared on his way home from work on Saturday 16-Sep-2000.
In the event that Mr. Gongadze is found dead, or is never found, what will the world think? Since Mr. Gongadze was a leading critic of corruption in your administration, the world may well imagine that you are increasingly reverting to Stalinist tactics in order to retain power.
Stalinist tactics within Europe in the year 2000! Who is ignorant enough to expect that in the information age, the rebirth of Stalinism a stone's throw from the heart of Europe can be kept from public view, or that it will quickly be forgotten? Who is foolish enough to hope that such a regression to barbarism will go unpunished?
Mr. Kuchma — you must either return Heorhy Gongadze safely to his family, or you must convincingly hunt down and punish those who not only carried out his abduction, but more importantly those who ordered it as well. In the event that you do neither of these, this latest crime will be added to the others that you will some day have to answer for.
I remind you that among the deaths of note that your administration has failed to provide a satisfactory account of are the following:
Mykhailo Boichyshyn, Member of Parliament and head of Rukh, the Popular Movement of Ukraine party, abducted from his office and never heard from again — 1994.
Igor Bondar, head of television channel AMT, shot dead in Crimea — 2000.
Vadim Boyko, Member of Parliament, founder and host of the popular investigative television show Hart, killed in the fire that followed the exposion of his television set — 1992.
Vyacheslav Chornovil, head of Rukh and presidential candidate, killed in a mysterious car accident — 1999.
Vassil Chudik, head of radio station Nezavisimost, found with his carotid artery severed by broken glass in a stairwell in Lviv — 2000.