No to repression against journalists in Ukraine!

Ruslan Kotsaba and Artyom Buzila.

Ruslan Kotsaba and Artyom Buzila.

Workers World is publishing this appeal from the Ukrainian Marxist organization Union Borotba (Struggle). It was translated by WW contributing editor Greg Butterfield.

Appeal to journalists and writers of the world

Following the right-wing coup d’état in Kiev in February 2014, thousands of Ukrainians took to the streets to protest against it. In Ukraine, what started as civil strife led to civil war.

The new government has done everything to intimidate opposition-minded citizens. In Odessa, a peaceful protest was drowned in blood and burned in fire at the House of Trade Unions on May 2, 2014. In Kharkov and Zaporozhye, oppositionists were severely beaten by right-wing paramilitary groups, arrested and put on trial. The cities of Donbass were subjected to constant shelling from artillery and air raids.

In Ukraine, expressing an opinion became dangerous. Protest organizers were accused of aiding terrorism, thrown into prison, beaten, kidnapped. …  Hundreds of civic activists were forced into exile, fearing for their lives and freedom. Among them were renowned Ukrainian journalists and writers, public and political figures.

But many were not fully aware of the threat and, relying on their formal innocence, remained in Ukraine, continuing to speak the truth about the events in the country, openly expressing their views, which did not always coincide with those of the new government.

Power based on terror and repression cannot tolerate criticism. Therefore, independent journalists and writers became the main enemy of the regime in Kiev.

Last autumn, Yevgeny Anokhin, editor-in-chief of “Infocentre,” was arrested.

We were all shocked to learn of the murder of well-known writer and journalist Oles Buzina in April of this year, killed by neo-Nazis just like Yaroslav Galan [a Ukrainian writer murdered in 1949]. The arrest of Ukrainian blogger Ruslan Kotsaba, who was prosecuted for anti-war propaganda, also caused a wide outcry.

But the junta does not stop. In late April, well-known Odessa journalist Artyom Buzila was arrested. This young and talented man was tortured and beaten by the Security Service of Ukraine and charged with aiding and abetting terrorism. A few days later, the home of Yuri Tkachev, chief editor of the online publication “Timer,” was searched. “Preventive talks” were held with many other journalists, including well-known Odessa writer Vsevolod Nepogodin.

We see that the Ukrainian government has chosen a specific target: thoughtful, critically minded journalists. The junta uses the most shameful methods: repression, beatings and even murder.

We call on all progressive forces to pay attention to the lawless, arbitrary outrages perpetrated in Ukraine.

No to political repression!

Freedom for political prisoners and journalists!

Long live freedom of speech!

Union Borotba