Leonid Kuchma   Letter 27   19-Jul-2001   Teetotaler drinks himself to death in Kuchma's Ukraine
"Mazur's colleagues suspected their editor had been poisoned." Committee to Protect Journalists

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 would then learn that their attempts to suppress information could be counted on to have the opposite effect of distributing it more widely.  For this reason, if anybody is able to supply copies of Yuly Mazur's articles on corruption in local law enforcement agencies, these will be published on the Ukrainian Archive web site.  Please write to [email protected]

        19 Jul 2001

Leonid Kuchma, President
vul. Bankivska 11
Kyiv, 252005

Leonid Kuchma:

The possible poisoning of Yuly Mazur on 30-Nov-2000 is a topic you can expect to be questioned on following your arrest.

Lubomyr Prytulak

External link to CPJ web site

Another editor, Yuly Mazur of the Odessa daily Yug, was also presumed to have been murdered for his journalistic work in 2000, although CPJ could not identify a clear motive for the killing.  Mazur's body was found on the street in Odessa.  An official autopsy concluded that the cause of death was ethyl alcohol intoxication.  His colleagues, however, insisted that he had never drunk alcohol and had received threatening phone calls prior to his death.  Yug had recently run a series of articles implicating a local police chief in corruption.


Mazur, the 63-year-old editor of the independent Russian-Ukrainian daily Yug, was found late at night near his house in Odessa.  He died before an ambulance could take him to the hospital.  Forensic experts attributed the death to "ethyl alcohol intoxication," Mazur's colleagues told the Ukrainian news agency UNIAN.

However, Mazur's colleagues suspected their editor had been poisoned.  They said he was a teetotaler who had recently received telephone death threats, which they believed were provoked by Yug articles about corruption in local law enforcementy agencies.  On December 3, however, the local police chief told journalists that he could see "nothing criminal in Yuly Mazur's death."
Excerpted from the Committee to Protect Journalists report on Ukraine in the year 2000 at www.cpj.org/attacks00/europe00/Ukraine.html.