Leonid Kuchma   Letter 28   20-Jul-2001   Editor Serdiuk kicked repeatedly in the head
"Serdiuk was admitted into a local hospital's emergency room at 1:00 am, where doctors determined he had suffered brain damage and heavy internal bleeding." IFEX

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 that information more broadly.  For this reason, if anybody is able to supply copies of Kostiantyn Serdiuk's articles critical of local government, these will be published on the Ukrainian Archive web site.  Please write to [email protected]

        20 Jul 2001

Leonid Kuchma, President
vul. Bankivska 11
Kyiv, 252005

Leonid Kuchma:

With the assault on Kostiantyn Serdiuk described in the IFEX alert appended below the present letter, the list of crimes that the world is waiting for you to solve and punish grows longer.  Among these crimes are:

  1. Volodymyr Ivasiuk, nationalist composer and poet, found hanging in a forest near Lviv 1979.

  2. Vadim Boyko, Member of Parliament, founder and host of the popular investigative television show Hart, killed in the fire that followed the explosion of his television set 1992.

  3. 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.

  4. Maksym Tsarenko, twenty-year-old councillor at a summer camp for young girls conducted in Ukrainian in the Crimea where anti-Ukrainian sentiment runs high among some oligarchs, had his hands blown off removing a bomb that had been thrown into the girls' dormitory 1995.

  5. Igor Grouchetsky, freelance journalist known for his coverage of crime and corruption, had recently testified against the son of a high-ranking police official, found dead in Tcherkassy, southwest of Kyiv, from a severe head wound 1996.

  6. Pavlo Lazarenko, at the time prime minister, narrowly escaped a powerful bomb blast as he rode to the airport 1996.  True that Lazarenko was one of your fellow gangsters, but those responsible for detonating roadside bombs must be brought to justice even when the targets of their assassination attempts are fellow gangsters.  (You are not permitted to reply that the perpetrators of that bomb blast were themselves subsequently assassinated according to Western standards, replying to a bomb attack with a revenge assassination is not the same as bringing to justice it is adding a second crime to the first.)

  7. Yevhen Scherban, Rada deputy and business magnate, assassinated together with his wife.  This is a case that you along with Pavlo Lazarenko may be able to tell us a lot about 1996.

  8. Boris Derevyanko, editor of Vechernaya Odessa, critic of the corrupt Odessa Mayor Eduard Hurvits (today a deputy in the Ukrainian Parliament) who was coming up for re-election, shot dead in Odessa 1997.

  9. Volodymyr Katelnytsky, journalist and Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Christian Democratic Party, tortured to death along with his mother in his Kyiv apartment 1997.

  10. Kostiantyn Serdiuk, editor of "Chernigovsky Poldin", an independent Russian-language weekly newspaper in the city of Chernihiv critical of local government policies, suffered brain damage and heavy internal bleeding after being repeatedly kicked in the head by three assailants 1997.

  11. Petro Shevchenko, correspondent from Kiyevskiye Vedomosti, found hanging in an abandoned boiler room 1997.

  12. Vadym Hetman, first chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine and chairman of the Ukrainian Interbank Currency Exchange, considered a level-headed, elder statesmen of Ukrainian politics, was shot to death upon entering his apartment building 1998.

  13. Oleksander Metrenko, Crimean broadcaster, killed 1998.  Mentioned on the Ukrainian Weekly web site at www.ukrweekly.com/Archive/1997/019704.html.

  14. Igor Bondar, head of television channel AMT, shot dead in Crimea along with judge Boris Vikhrov 1999.

  15. Vyacheslav Chornovil, head of Rukh and presidential candidate, killed in a mysterious car accident 1999.

  16. Boris Vikhrov, the Odessa court's presiding judge, shot dead in Crimea along with television journalist Igor Bondar 1999, as is mentioned on the International Press Institute's Death Watch 1999 web page at www.freemedia.at/d_watch.htm.

  17. Vassil Chudik, head of radio station Nezavisimost, found dead with his carotid artery severed by broken glass in a stairwell in Lviv 2000.

  18. Heorhy Gongadze, hard-hitting editor of the online newspaper, Ukrainska Pravda (Ukrainian Truth), critical of government corruption, kidnapped, decapitated body discovered, MVS (Ministry of Internal Affairs) Major Mykola Melnychenko produced audiotapes of Leonid Kuchma yourself! planning Gongadze kidnapping 2000.

  19. Oleg Liachko, editor-in-chief of the weekly newspaper Svoboda, severly beaten by Odessa town council deputy Yuri Kulbachenko after citing Kulbachenko in his articles linking politicians, state security agents, and criminals.  Kulbachenko also threatened Liachko's life 2000.  Kuchma administration persecution of Oleg Liachko continues to this day.

  20. Miroslava Mayorchuk, crime reporter and editor of independent television channel STB, found hanging in her Kyiv apartment 2000.

  21. Yuly Mazur, editor of the Odessa daily Yug, presumed to have been poisoned for implicating a local police chief in corruption 2000.

  22. Valentina Vasilchenko, beaten in the stairwell of her apartment building in the town of Cherkassy for exposing police corruption in her series on the "Khristinovka Syndrome," which appeared in the independent weekly Antenna 2000.

  23. Ihor Alexandrov, director of TOR television company in Slavyansk, once banned from journalism by the Kuchma regime, died of head injuries three days after being beaten outside the entrance to his office 2001.

  24. Oleh Breus, publisher of the regional weekly XXI Vek in Luhansk, was shot dead outside his home 2001.

  25. Oleh Velichko, head of the Avers media corporation in Lutsk, was brutally beaten outside his home 2001.

Lubomyr Prytulak

External link to IFEX

ALERT: Editor seriously injured after beating

Originator: Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

Date: 1997-08-15
Country: UKRAINE
Person(s): Kostiantyn Serdiuk
Target(s): journalist(s)
Source: CPJ
Type(s) of violation(s): attacked

(CPJ/IFEX) - On 8 August 1997, Kostiantyn Serdiuk, the editor of "Chernigovsky Poldin", an independent Russian-language weekly newspaper in the city of Chernihiv, was brutally beaten.  According to Serdiuk's colleagues, the editor was attacked between 11:00 pm and midnight by three unidentified assailants in an alley as he walked home from work.  The attackers called out his name before grabbing him and kicking him repeatedly in the head.  Serdiuk was admitted into a local hospital's emergency room at 1:00 am, where doctors determined he had suffered brain damage and heavy internal bleeding.  Serdiuk remains in the hospital.

Colleagues from the Chernihiv Media Club reported that the Chernihiv regional police have launched an investigation into the incident.  In a petition to local and regional authorities, the journalists in this independent organization linked the assault on Serdiuk to a recent article he penned criticizing local government policies.  Serdiuk's colleagues said regional officials who are mainly old-style Communists have often intimidated independent and opposition journalists and media outlets.  Recently, authorities banned a scheduled screening of a film critical of Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko, claiming it interfered in the internal affairs of another country.

Excerpted from www.ifex.org/alerts/view.html?id=00002285