In Digest, Media critique, Russia, May 5, 2015 (and further below, article in The Moscow Times plus further background)

Memorial in Moscow to two VGRTK journalists killed by mortar fire in Ukraine in June 2014--correspondent Igor Kornelyuk and video engineer Anton Voloshin (Alexey Kudenko, RIA Novosti)

Memorial in Moscow to two VGRTK journalists killed by mortar fire in Ukraine in June 2014–correspondent Igor Kornelyuk and video engineer Anton Voloshin (Alexey Kudenko, RIA Novosti)

Law enforcement officers in Russia have launched a criminal probe into the actions of a Ukrainian political commentator who reportedly called on the pro-Kiev military to “thoroughly exterminate” Russian journalists.

The suspect, Yury Romanenko, said this in early April at a public conference at Harvard University in the USA. Later, Romanenko posted the text of his statement on his Facebook page. It has been repeatedly quoted by mass media.

In his own words, the director of the Stratagema political analysis center and managing editor of the Khvilya (Minute) website wanted to “bring the problem of mass media to the new level.”

Yury Romanenko

Yury Romanenko

“The military forces of Ukraine must selectively and thoroughly exterminate Russian journalists who cover the situation in Donbass. They must issue an order to army snipers that people with ‘Press’ written on their helmets are priority targets,” he said.

The case is now being handled by the Investigative Committee – Russia’s newest law enforcement agency, created to fight extremely dangerous and high-profile crime.

Journalists who were killed or kidnapped in Ukraine as of August 2014 (

Journalists who were killed or kidnapped in Ukraine as of August 2014 (

“In the investigators’ opinion the material contains destructive calls that could incline Ukrainian officials and military servicemen towards committing mass murders of Russian citizens who work as journalists. In addition, Romanenko’s words incite hatred and hostility towards journalists of the Russian Federation as a social group,” committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told the press on Tuesday.

Investigators initiated a case into inciting hatred, punishable by up to two years in prison and complicity with murder, which could result in a prison term for life.

Russian law allows for the prosecution of foreign citizens who commit crimes outside the Russian Federation if these crimes are targeting its citizens or the interests of the state, Markin reminded in his media address.

In mid-March this year the Investigative Committee opened a criminal probe into the statement by retired US Army general Robert H. Scales who, speaking on U.S. TV network Fox News, suggested that the Ukrainian crisis could be settled by “killing Russians.”

In June 2014, two Russian journalists – Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin – were killed by shelling from pro-Kiev forces as they filmed refugees leaving the area attacked by the Ukrainian military. In the same month, 68-year-old Russian TV cameraman Anatoly Klyan was fatally wounded by Kiev troops in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk.

In early September 2014, Russian news agency RIA Novosti confirmed the death of war photographer Andrey Stenin. He died after his car was hit by machine gun fire and caught fire. He had been traveling in a convoy of escaping civilians.

* * *

Russia’s Investigative Committee opens criminal case over purported Harvard U remarks

By By Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, The Moscow Times, May 5, 2015

Russia’s Investigative Committee announced Tuesday it had opened a criminal case against a Ukrainian political scientist whom it accuses of having advocated for the murder of Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine during a conference at Harvard University.

In April, Ukrainian political scientist Yury Romanenko posted on Facebook some of the comments he claims to have made at Harvard University. “The Ukrainian army must selectively and carefully kill Russian journalists who are covering the situation in Donbass [eastern Ukraine],” Romanenko wrote on Facebook on April 5. “Snipers from the Ukrainian army should be told that people wearing helmets featuring the word ‘Press’ are priority targets.”

He later explained in an article he penned for Ukrainian news site that his words were meant to spark discussion with his American interlocutors. In that article, he referred to the exchange as part of a “discussion,” but made no reference to a conference, which the Investigative Committee described the exchange as having been a part of in its complaint.

Romanenko’s Facebook post caught the attention of Russia’s Investigative Committee, which launched a case against him for the incitement to hatred and enmity.

“The Investigative Committee did not use any sources other than what I had written on my Facebook page,” Romanenko told The Moscow Times on Tuesday. “This says a lot about the Investigative Committee as an organization.”

Romanenko also said that the “conference” the Investigative Committee claimed he had spoken at was in fact a private encounter on campus grounds. By the time of publication, Harvard University was unable to confirm or deny that Romanenko had spoken at the institution.

In March, the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against Robert Scales, a retired American major general and a military analyst for Fox News, after he said on air that the United States could only influence the Ukrainian crisis by “killing Russians”.

Read also:
RT’s Paula Slier leaves Ukraine following call for her arrest, death threats,, May 5, 2015
RT correspondent Paula Slier, who covered the fire near the Chernobyl nuclear station, has left Ukraine after a local journalist urged security services to detain her. Some commentators were calling for the RT reporter’s death.

Ukraine deports Italian journalist for Odessa Massacre truth, Sputnik News, May 2, 2015

Who is behind the killings of journalists and politicians in Ukraine?, by New Cold, April 21, 2015
Ukraine has become on of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists.

Ukrainian analyst proposes murdering Russian journalists in sniper attacks, Sputnik News, April 6, 2015

In the line of fire: Journalists killed and abducted in Eastern Ukraine,, August 14, 2014




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