In Feature Articles, Media critique, Ukraine

By Alexander Mercouris, Sputnik News, April 17, 2015

Journalists Sergei Sukhobok and Oles Buzina were shot dead in Kyiv, on April 13 and 16. Opposition politician Oleh Kalashnikov was gunned down on April 15.

Journalist Oles Buzina, shot dead in Kyiv on April 16, 2015 2

Journalist Oles Buzina, shot dead in Kyiv on April 16, 2015 2

The silence of the West over the deaths of Kiev’s opponents – in contrast to the outcry following Russian politician Boris Nemtsov’s death – yet again shows extraordinary double standard and its complicity in the destruction in Ukraine of the very standards of law and morality it claims to believe in.

The murder of the Russian liberal politician Nemtsov in Moscow on 27th February 2015 was an international media sensation. The story of his murder was extensively covered by all mainstream Western media. Few held back from speculations about who was responsible. Though evidence was completely lacking, the Western media had no hesitation pointing the finger at the Russian government.

The murders in Ukraine of the Ukrainian opposition politician Oleh Kalashnikov and of the Ukrainian opposition journalist Oles Buzina have attracted no such attention.

Nor has the remarkable number of violent deaths of other Ukrainian opposition figures which have taken place in recent weeks. Prior to the murders of Kalashnikov and Buzina, over the short period from January 29, 2015 to March 14, 2015, there have been at least seven deaths. Though the number surpasses anything seen in Russia even during the 1990s, the Western public has nothing to say about them.

Nor, following the murder of Oleh Kalashnikov, have the outrageous comments of Ihor Gerashchenko, senior adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, received either the attention or the condemnation they merit.

Gerashchenko is reported to have said that the “primary possible motive” for Kalashnikov’s murder was his “political activity” linked with Kalashnikov’s supposed “participation in the organization and financing” of the opposition to Maidan.

“Without any doubt the deceased knew a lot about who and in what way financed anti-Maidan, which cost Yanukovych and his camarilla several million hryvnias per day. He takes these secrets with him to the grave,” he said.

A representative of the Interior Ministry in charge of investigating the murder has publicly speculated about its motive, hinted at the involvement of “Yanukovych and his camarilla”, and has done so in a way that smears the dead man and throws back responsibility upon him. This before the investigation has even properly begun.

I do not know who is responsible for these deaths. I do not intend to speculate on a subject about which I have no information.

I would, however, point to the extraordinary contrast between these words of Gerashchenko’s and those of the Russian authorities following Nemtsov’s death.

I was in Moscow on the day of Nemtsov was killed. I saw for myself the shock and dismay it caused. The authorities were obviously horrified by the killing and made clear their dismay. Everyone from President Putin down, including Nemtsov’s many political opponents, expressed regret and sorrow for his death.

The Russian authorities have refused to speculate publicly about who was responsible. Though several men have been arrested and charged, President Putin during his marathon question and answer session on 16th April 2015 said he did not know who if anyone had ordered Nemtsov killed.

This approach is obviously the correct one. Publicly speculating about the motive for a murder and pointing a finger at a likely suspect in the way Gerashchenko has done, before the investigation has even properly begun, not only prejudges the results of the investigation but is obviously intended to shape its outcome.

An Advisory Commission appointed by the Council of Europe has recently published a scathing report on the state of the Ukrainian enquiries into the Maidan events. The report questions whether these investigations can ever establish the truth.

Gerashchenko’s comments show the same is true of the investigations of the deaths of Kalashnikov and Buzina and the others.

As for the West, its silence about these deaths — in contrast to the outcry following Nemtsov’s death — shows again its extraordinary double standard and its complicity in the destruction in Ukraine of the very standards of law and morality it claims to believe in.

Read also:

Two journalists and one opposition politician gunned down in Kiev, Sputnik News, April 16, 2015

Ukrainian politicians gloat over murder of journalist Oles Buzina, Sputnik News, April 17, 2015

Note by New Cold editors: There is a terrible media silence in Canada over last week’s murders in Kyiv of journalists Sergei Sukhobok and Oles Buzina and of opposition politician Oleh Kalashnikov.

The story of Oles Buzina only made it into a few newspapers. It does not appear in the website news service of  the state broadcaster, the CBC. The CBC program As It Happens broadcast an interview on April 17 with a purported Ukrainian journalist named Andrey Kulikov who claims that ‘Russians’  perpetrated the killing. In the interview, the purported journalist offered faint praise for Buzina.

Nothing at all was reported of Sergei Sukhubok. Those few newspapers who did publish the story of Buzina’s assassination used wireservice stories which emphasized that he was ‘pro-Russian’ (sic). The stories stressed statements by Ukrainian government officials that maybe the Russian government was responsible for the shootings.

The Guardian in the UK calls Oles Buzgalin a “controversial pro-Russian journalist” and devotes most of its news report to the views of the Ukrainian government in saying his death is a “provocation” by an unnamed source (wink, wink–Russia). The Guardian says nothing of the other Ukrainian journalist recently killed, Sergei Sukhobok.

A parallel, mainstream media silence is over the ‘hit list’ being published on the internet of Ukrainians who are protesting the pro-war, austerity policies of that government and the political repressions it is conducting. The list is being praised by Ihor Gerashchenko, senior adviser to the Ukrainian Interior (police) Ministry.


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