Leonid Kuchma   Letter 13   17-Jan-2001   Censorship-killing of Igor Grouchetsky
The way to defeat Leonid Kuchma's war on the press is to guarantee that when any journalist or publisher is persecuted, disappears, dies in a suspicious accident or suicide, or is assaulted or murdered, that the result will be that his or her work receives wide dissemination.  Ukraine's ruling gangsters must learn that attempts to suppress information have the opposite effect of distributing it more widely.  For this reason, if anybody is able to supply copies of Igor Grouchetsky's investigative reporting or of his courtroom testimony concerning the son of a high-ranking police official, these will be published on the Ukrainian Archive web site.  Please write to [email protected]

      January 17, 2001

Leonid Kuchma, President
vul. Bankova, 7
Kyiv, 252005

Leonid Kuchma:

To the list of ten unsolved killings or abductions, or inadequately-investigated mysterious deaths — with that of Heorhy Gongadze making eleven — that I brought to your attention in my letter to you of 19-Sep-2000 must be added the murder of journalist Igor Grouchetsky in 1996, two years into your first term as President of Ukraine:

Bei Hu

Censorship by Killing



Of far greater concern to us is the murder of journalists in peacetime in retaliation for their professional work.  In all three years, journalists working on crime stories or investigating official corruption were most vulnerable to this kind of murder.  The former Soviet Union states have seen many of these cases.  Even though the governments may not be directly responsible for a majority of them, they nevertheless underline the weakness of law enforcement — a situation that these governments are in the best position to improve.

Igor Grouchetsky, a Ukrainian freelance journalist known for his coverage of crime and corruption, was found dead from a severe headwound near his home in Tcherkassy, southwest of Kiev on May 10, 1996.  He had been the Tcherkassy correspondent for the Kiev newspaper Ukraine-Centre.  Shortly before his death, he had reportedly testified in a criminal case involving, among others, the son of a high-ranking police official.  Police found two files in the journalist’s home containing criminal information belonging to the police.  (IFJ)

Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe, Freedom of the Media, www.osce.org/fom/publications/yearbook9899/II/157.html.

I write to you today to remind you that those murders that you are not suspected of having ordered yourself, you are suspected of having encouraged through your attitude of permissiveness toward journalist assassinations.  Whether your participation in Igor Grouchetsky's death was by your direct command, or only by the tacit permission that you extended to others, you will discover "Igor Grouchetsky" written on the list which you will someday find yourself trying to explain from the prisoner's dock.

I write to remind you also of my warning in my letter to you of 15-Jan-2001 that good men have infiltrated all your evil institutions, and are secretly working to bring about the triumph of good.  We see this in the Grouchetsky case, as he would not have had police files unless a member of the police force had given him the files.  Some other, as yet unsung, hero of Ukraine gave Grouchetsky those police files, and for his trouble is himself perhaps murdered now, but with ten others having sprung up to take his place.

Lubomyr Prytulak