Morley Safer   Letter 12   01-Jul-1999   Who murdered Borys Derevyanko?
The plainest moral to be drawn from the Derevyanko-Hurvits story is that when a muckraking Ukrainian editor takes on a corrupt Jewish politician, the Ukrainian editor ends up dead.
July 1, 1999

Morley Safer
60 Minutes, CBS Television
51 W 52nd Street
New York, NY
USA       10019

Morley Safer:

The Committee to Protect Journalists described the contract killing of Ukrainian editor Borys Derevyanko thusly:

Borys Derevyanko, Vechernyaya Odessa
Date of Death: August 11, 1997
Place of Death: Odessa

Derevyanko, editor in chief of Vechernyaya Odessa, a popular and influential thrice-weekly newspaper, was fatally shot at point-blank range on his way to work on the morning of August 11 near the Press House, where the newspaper's offices are located.  Colleagues believe the killing of Derevyanko, who was editor of Vechernyaya Odessa for 24 years, was related to the newspaper's opposition to the policies of Odessa's mayor.  The chief regional prosecutor declared the murder a contract killing and launched an official investigation.  Local authorities announced in September that they had arrested a suspect, described as a professional assassin, who confessed to killing Derevyanko, but they gave no details about his confession.

I would add that the Odessa mayor which the above account neglects to name was the corrupt Eduard Hurvits, who was particularly threatened by Borys Derevyanko's opposition because of municipal elections that were coming up in 1998.  The comment concerning the arrest of an assassin gives a misleading impression in today's Ukraine, contract killings are never solved, and those who order them are never punished.

Today, Borys Derevyanko is dead, and Eduard Hurvits, barred by his corruption from holding the office of mayor of Odessa, continues his criminal career as a member of the Ukrainian parliament.  Photographs of Derevyanko and Hurvits are shown below:

Borys Derevyanko Eduard Hurvits
Newspaper editor
Borys Derevyanko
Odessa Mayor
Eduard Hurvits

The table which I began in my letter to you of 30Jun99 can now be elaborated with another entry:

Date of my letter Subject of my letter Date of Attack
Violence that you should have reported in your 23Oct94 The Ugly Face of Freedom
15May99 Who murdered Volodymyr Ivasiuk? April 1979
30Jun99 Who murdered Vadim Boyko? February 14, 1992
Violence that you might have caused by your 23Oct94 The Ugly Face of Freedom
09Apr99 Who blew the hands off Maksym Tsarenko? Summer 1995
17May99 Who murdered Volodymyr Katelnytsky? July 7-8, 1997
01Jul99 Who murdered Borys Derevyanko? August 11, 1997

As the conclusion of your 23Oct94 60 Minutes story, The Ugly Face of Freedom, was that Ukraine is a place in which Ukrainians practice violence against Jews, it is highly relevant that Borys Derevyanko is Ukrainian and Eduard Hurvits is Jewish.  You went to Ukraine looking for evidence of Ukrainians harming Jews, you failed to find such evidence, but you broadcast your conclusion anyway.  The true story that you would not broadcast, and that was readily documentable, is that Ukraine is a place in which Jews harm Ukrainians.  The plainest moral to be drawn from the Derevyanko-Hurvits story is that when a muckraking Ukrainian editor takes on a corrupt Jewish politician, the Ukrainian editor ends up dead.  That is the reality of Ukraine.  It was the reality of Ukraine when you visited it in 1994, it was the reality of Ukraine before 1994, and it has been the reality of Ukraine since 1994.

As in earlier letters, I fault you for not reporting such incidents as are in the above table that took place before 1994, and I fault you for precipitating such incidents that took place after 1994.  Thus, to the blood that is already on your hands, I add the blood of Borys Derevyanko.  You had the opportunity in your 1994 broadcast to come out on the side of the victims against the butchers, but you preferred to side with the butchers against the victims, and Borys Derevyanko has been one of the casualties of your decision.

Lubomyr Prytulak

cc:  Yaakov Bleich, Ed Bradley, Jeffrey Fager, Don Hewitt, Steve Kroft, Andy Rooney, Lesley Stahl, Mike Wallace, Simon Wiesenthal.