Leonid Kuchma   Letter 26   18-Jul-2001   Valentina Vasilchenko beaten with Kuchma's approval
"The janitor who sweeps the floor of your office is better qualified to be president of Ukraine than you are." Lubomyr Prytulak

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 is 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 Valentina Vasilchenko's Khristinovka Syndrome articles, they will be published on the Ukrainian Archive web site.  Please write to [email protected]

        18 Jul 2001

Leonid Kuchma, President
vul. Bankivska 11
Kyiv, 252005

Leonid Kuchma:

A question that is commonly asked of any leader is whether there exists anyone better qualified to fill his position.  In your case, the question has to be reversed is there anybody in all of Ukraine worse qualified to be president than you?

With all the crimes that can be laid at your feet, and all the blood that cannot be washed from your hands, then maybe only a few of Ukraine's most egregious criminals or serial killers carry stronger disqualifications for the office of president.  However, any average person a waitress, a truck driver, a coal miner, a farmer can make a stronger claim to the presidency than you can.  At least such an average person does not horde Ukraine's wealth in secret Swiss bank accounts, at least he has not killed anybody, at least he does not choose his friends from among the criminally insane, at least he does not owe his job to the machinations of George Soros.  The janitor who sweeps the floor of your office is better qualified to be president of Ukraine than you are.

You can expect that the assault on Valentina Vasilchenko will be added to the crimes that you will have to answer for.  If you did not yourself give the green light for her beating, then at least you condoned it, and encouraged more like it, by not bringing its perpetrators to justice.

Lubomyr Prytulak

External link to CPJ web site

14 AUGUST 2000
Valentina Vasilchenko, Antenna

Some four months after her investigative series on police corruption began appearing in the independent weekly Antenna, two men armed with blunt instruments attacked reporter Vasilchenko in the stairwell of her apartment building in the town of Cherkassy.

Vasilchenko refused to be hospitalized after the attack, but medical examination showed she had suffered a concussion, severe skull injuries, and several bruises on her arms during the attack, which took place at around 11:45 a.m. on August 14.

According to editors at Antenna, the attack may have been provoked by Vasilchenko's series on the "Khristinovka Syndrome," which appeared in Antenna over four weeks in April.  The articles chronicled police corruption in the town of Khristinovka, including a case of manslaughter allegedly committed by police but blamed on an innocent man.  (The defendant in that case was brutally beaten and had to be hospitalized on June 11, a day before he was supposed to testify in court.  On July 19, another defense witness in the case was also assaulted.  Vasilchenko covered both those attacks for Antenna.)

In an August 21 protest letter to President Leonid Kuchma, CPJ noted that police had made no progress investigating the attack.
Excerpted from the Committee to Protect Journalists report on Ukraine in the year 2000 at www.cpj.org/attacks00/europe00/Ukraine.html.