In Ukraine, another scandal with an attack on journalists. And this time the authorities promise to investigate it: correspondents of the American «Radio Liberty» were injured, and Western embassies began to intercede for them.

Otherwise, there is no doubt that the story would have been thrown on the brakes — as has happened with dozens of other attacks on media employees.

Moreover, the person involved in the case was Zelensky’s protégé-the head of the «Ukreximbank» EvgenyMetzger, an old acquaintance of Kvartal from Kryvyi Rih. So at first, the authorities tried to avoid the scandal in silence. But after the embassies expressed concern, the banker was removed from his post. The Office of the President and the Servants of the People faction strongly condemned the case, and a criminal case is being investigated.

And, although there are doubts that the banker will eventually be brought to criminal responsibility, retribution comes somehow very quickly for the Ukrainian authorities. At the same time, other journalists who have been attacked recently cannot wait for their justice for years. 

Strana analyzed the case withMetzger and recalled how the Ukrainian authorities investigate similar stories.

Scandal with the head «Ukreximbank»

Yesterday, the journalists of the program «Schemes» came to an interview with the head of the Board of the state «Ukreximbank». At the end of the conversation, there was a scandal. EvgeniyMetzger demanded that the journalists delete the newly filmed interview.

When they refused, he called security, who took away the cameras and tried to erase the video. Journalists were not allowed out of the office all this time. Later, they wrote statements to the police about obstructing their legitimate activities, which entails criminal liability. 

The correspondents ‘ words were first confirmed by an audio recording that they managed to make. And then the video that was restored after deleting it. 

It shows how security of Metzger takes video cameras from journalists, and the cameraman is twisted. Then the contents of the cameras are «cleaned to zero». The conflict began after the head of the board was asked about a multimillion-dollar loan, which was issued by «Ukreximbank. 

If before the video was published, the bank’s management behaved defiantly-they said that they would file an application for journalists themselves — then after the video appeared, a different reaction began. There was criticism from Western embassies. The outraged tweet was written by the British AmbassadorMelinda Simmons.

The attack was later condemned by the European Union.

After the reaction of the West, the President’s Office also» woke up», which did not notice this situation all day. Yermak’s adviser Mikhail Podolyak made it clear that the issue of removal is being consideredMetzger from the post (although this is not the competence of the Office of the President). 

Then the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Denis Monastarsky decides to comment on the story a day later, who promises that the investigation will be carried out quickly.

And then the CEO himself «Ukreximasaid that his behavior was unacceptable — and he leaves the post for the duration of the investigation. That is, for a very long time. The board approved the manager’s request.

Why the mood of Metzger has gone from offensive to guilty?

Strana reported yesterday that this banker got his post thanks to connections with Zelensky’s entourage, with whom he studied together in Kryvyi Rih. That isMetzger clearly hoped that the president’s Office would stand up for their protege. And until the shout from the British Embassy, it was true. 

But after the Simmons post everything turned out differently: Bankovaya began to mergeMetzger. However, not yet completely: for now, chief «Ukreximadoes not resign anywhere, but only temporarily leaves the post. The open question is whether he still has the right to sign. That is, whether the «suspension» will not be fictitious.

However, even if you have to dismiss Metzger will be another «pound» that will serve the interests of Zelensky’s office, the «Big Construction Site» and other projects. And his predecessor is likely to receive a «pidozra»(suspicion), after which the case will be delayed. 

The second conclusion from this situation is that the authorities do not respond to attacks by all journalists, but only by those who stand up for them in the West. We can confidently say that if in the officeMetzger was a correspondent for non-grant media outlets, the banker would have kept his post, and no one would have investigated the criminal case.

This point is analyzed by the editor-in-chief of «Strana» Igor Guzhva on his Facebook page.

«The office of the president, after the indignation of Western embassies, decided to merge the chapterUkreximbank Metzger, who attacked the journalists of » Schemes «(a project of Radio Liberty) in his office. Adviser to the head of the Presidential Office Mikhail Podolyak called such behavior unacceptable and promised tough personnel decisions.

If journalists from one of the media outlets sanctioned by the NSDC were in place of Svoboda’s journalists, then we can assume that there would be no reaction from the embassies to the incident, and the Office would declare «another pro-Russian provocation».

However, these double standards have already been written about many times. In this case, Bankova’s behavior is interesting.

Yesterday there were many forecasts that the scandal will be hushed up-they say, Metzger is a person close to the «Kvartal», and therefore it will not be handed over. Strana wrote yesterday that after the reaction of Western embassiesMetzger can easily be thrown out of the bank. And this will not be a serious loss for Zelensky at all. BecauseMetzger is a pound whose task is to distribute loans to the necessary structures on the orders of Bankova (worked out in the past).Privatbank withdrawal schemes).

In its place will put the same pound, which will continue to milk the bank in the interests of Ze.

And this is indicative of the fact that we often overestimate the role and influence of Zelensky’s entourage.

Take, for example, Yermak, who is already called almost «vice president».

There is no doubt that if Zelensky needs it (for example, if very persistent requests from Western partners follow, or the scandal with the Wagnerians becomes threatening), then he will put Yermak on the street at one moment.

And what will fundamentally change in the country if, for example, Danilov becomes head of the Office instead of him, Bakanov becomes Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council instead of Danilov, and the head of the SBU instead ofBakanov will put Maryana Bezuglyaya?

Yes, nothing will change except that other solutions will appear instead of some. But strategically, the policy on NSDC sanctions and other issues will continue to follow.

The only person Zelensky can’t just merge from his inner circle isKolomoisky. Because the response will be 1000 times tougher than the » Pandora‘s dossier» wrote Igor Guzhva.

At the same time, other cases of attacks on journalists «hang» in the courts for a long time or do not reach them at all — in any case, allowing the perpetrators to be released unpunished.   

What attacks didn’t go to trial?

Most incidents involving assaults and threats to journalists don’t even make it to court. Here are a few recent cases.

On February 4, 2021, after a the action of right-wing radicals under the Nash TV channel a journalist of Right Control Sergey Shevchuk was attacked by a man at the Lev Tolstoy metro station.

Strana published a video from surveillance cameras of the Kiev metro, which recorded the moment of the attack. The footage shows how a man approaches Serhiy Shevchuk from behind, slaps him on the shoulder, then punches him in the head and runs away.

The attacker was Kirill Babentsov, born in 1991. This is a man from the right-wing radical group Eugene Karas. After the blow, the journalist chased after the attacker, was able to detain him and hand him over to the police and theMunicipalGuard.

However, when both the journalist and the assailant were taken to the interrogation room and the identity of the assailant was established, Babentsov, under the pretext of making a phone call, went out into the lobby and simply ran away, leaving his backpack. 

The crime was subsequently put on the brakes.

June 25, 2021 on the platform of the Ivano-Frankivsk railway station a group of radicals attacked a journalist of the First Independent TV channel RuslanaKotsaba. He was doused with green paint and pelted with eggs. The doctors diagnosed to Kotsaba an extensive chemical burn to the cornea of the eye.

In one of the attackers, the journalist identified a member of the local «Right Sector» Andrei Dembitsky. Members of the organization also claimed their involvement in the attack «Trident». Judging by the video released by this organization, among those who «met» the journalist were also members of organizations «Каrpatska Sich», «Right Sector» and «Freikor». 

The police of the Ivano-Frankivsk region opened a case of assault under the article on group hooliganism. But it is still not being considered in court. 

In Kiev, on August 14, 2021, after the action of the «NationalCorps», which turned into clashes with law enforcement officers, a correspondent of the publication «Letters» was beaten upAlexandr Kuzhelny. As he was leaving the scene, unknown people caught up with him and demanded to remove the materials from the camera. They insulted him and hit him several times, including in the head.

The journalist wrote a statement to the police. A criminal case was opened under Part 2 of Article 345-1 (Threat or violence against a journalist). There were also attackers. 

On August 18, the Pechersk District Court of Kyiv placed 17-year-old Anton Goloshchapov under house arrest around the clock for the duration of the investigation., and 20-year-old NikitaGubsky was sent to a pre-trial detention center for 2 months without bail. The investigation continues.

What cases are heard in the courts

Some cases still went to court. But some of them have been considering it for years, as happened with the attack on a Strana journalist in 2019.

On the Maidan in Kiev, scandalous nationalist Alexey Tsymbalyuk, better known as the «killer Babchenko»,attacked the journalist of «Country»VladislavaBovtruk, who covered the far-right action. The radical struck from the back and tried to strangle our correspondent.

A few days later, in social networks, the nationalist threatened our journalist with «Elder laurels» — that is, with murder. 

The police charged Tsymbalyuk with intentionally causing beatings, light or moderate bodily injuries — in connection with the journalist’s legitimate professional activity-article 345-1, part 2 of the Criminal Code. The penalty was up to five years in prison.

The case was essentially considered in court a year later. It still works. Tsymbalyuk and his lawyers are dragging out the process by all means.

On December 24, 2020, during a court hearing on the murder of Pavel Sheremet, a group of radicals attacked journalists of undesirable publications. The most active among the attackers was the scandalous ViktorRegor. He is remembered for stabbing an Iranian citizen in 2016, and in the same year tore the St. George ribbon from a 10-year-old girl on May 9. The already infamous Alexey Tsymbalyuk also appeared in the skirmishes. In the summer, he was suspected of assaulting a journalist, and a few months later, he was still at large and again threatened journalists right in the courthouse.

Then a crowd of dozens of radicals surrounded the correspondent of the publication «» Dmitry Kucher. He was insulted,kicked several times and doused with pre-stored urine. A colleague from the ZiK TV channel Anastasia Zhiznevskaya tried to help him, but she was brushed aside, slapped on the hands. Yulia Korzun, a Strana correspondent, was also threatened at that meeting.

Three days later, the police handed overRegor suspicion under four articles of the Criminal Code. Among them — obstruction of a journalist and intentional infliction of beatings to a journalist. The Solomenskiy district court of Kiev imposed a preventive measure in the form of night house arrest, which was later replaced by round-the-clock house arrest. 

The trial essentially began on July 10, 2020. It still lasts. The next meeting is scheduled for November 2021. It is unknown whether Regor is currently under arrest.

In April 2020, atoshnik Alexey Shapovalov attacked ZIK journalists near a sports ground in the hydropark, when they were filming a story about quarantine violators. 

The 54-year-old man during a brawl struck the journalist Alla Zhiznevskaya and the operator numerous blows and tried to damage the equipment.

Shapoval was reported on suspicion under Part 1 of Article 171 (obstruction of the legitimate professional activity of journalists) and Part 2 of Article 345-1 (threat or violence against a journalist) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. Now the case continues to be heard in the Dnipro district Court of Kiev for more than a year.  

November 28, 2020 to a NewsOne reporter ViolettaTovkes was attacked while covering the Holodomor commemoration ceremony in Kiev. The hooded and masked assailant knocked the microphone and memorial candle out of the journalist’s hands and pushed her.

On the fact of the attack Tovkes appealed to the law enforcement authorities. The attacker was detained. It turned out to be a 31-year-old residentTroyeshchiny Taras Moroz. During a search of his home, they found a jacket, a protective mask and a backpack that he was wearing at the time of the attack. He also had a notebook of «Azov» and a phone with the symbols of the same organization. He was declared suspicious. The case continues to be heard in the Pechersk Court of Kiev-soon this story will be a year old.

In February 2021, nationalists attacked a journalist of the Nash TV channelAlexeyPalchunov. Together with the cameraman, he arrived near the Shevchenko police department in Kiev, where the radicals who had stormed the TV channel before were taken. One of them, Alexey Seredyuk, threatened to jump out of the window and demanded the arrival of Interior Minister ArsenAvakov.

When the nationalists saw the Nash channel journalists, they started throwing snowballs at them and insulting them. Then at Alexey Palchunov’s microphone was snatched from his hands, after which he was punched twice in the back of the head and in the jaw. After that, the police intervened and pushed the journalist away. However, the» activist » Vita Zaviryukha immediately rushed at him and scratched his neck.

The conflict did not end there, and after a while the radicals began to push the employees of the TV channel. That is, they attacked right under the windows of the police and in front of the police.

The prosecutor’s office has charged with assault Yuri Horowitz, an activist of the nationalist Brotherhood party, with the call sign «Svyatosha». He is charged with obstruction of professional activity and violence against a journalist. For this, you can face up to five years in prison.

So far, two court sessions have been held in this case. They were attended by several dozen radicals from the Brotherhood who came to support Horowitz. In the courtroom, they offered Palchunov «came out to talk», surrounded on the street, so that the journalist was able to leave the last meeting only accompanied by the police. The hearing of this case continues.

It should be noted that none of the episodes described above received a high-level response from the authorities, as well as from Western embassies. Their reaction was only an attack on journalists of Radio Liberty, which is funded from the US state budget.

Brought to the verdict

Sentences in cases of attacks on journalists are isolated cases. And instead of the maximum 5 years, as a rule, attackers get off with a minimum. They are released on probation.

From time to time, they must be noted by the investigator — that’s all the punishment. If they are not brought to criminal responsibility for this year or two, then these restrictions will also be lifted. 

February 10, 2021 for journalists Odessa «Channel 7» was attacked at one of the markets during the filming of a story about the sale of exciseless cigarettes. The» support group » of the seller of exciseless cigarettes aggressively prevented filming. Thugs attacked journalists.

A film crew consisting of Igor Gvozdev and ViktorNadiuka called the police to report obstructing the work of journalists and remove the beatings. The camera and footage survived.

An Odessa court has sentenced one attacker to two years of restricted liberty. At the same time, he was released from serving his sentence with a probationary period of two years.

In 2017, the Poltava journalist Daria Sinitskaya was afraid to leave her home for more than a week after receiving threats. She wrote about the clashes near the Gazetny Ryad arch with the participation of anti-terrorist fighters and activists, mentioning a member of the UNA-UNSO Andrey Knyazev.

After the publication of the material, they began to «send greetings from Elderberry» to her personal account, and a member of the UNA-UNSO wrote a post in which he promised to send the journalist back to Donetsk. Law enforcement officers first opened a case on the fact of threats, but a year later they decided to close it. Only after the indignation of a journalist who wrote about it in a social network, the production was resumed. Three years after the incident, the court finally handed down the verdict. 

Knyazev was found guilty of threatening a journalist and sentenced to two years ‘ imprisonment. At the same time, the judge released him from serving his sentence with a probationary period of 1 year. So, in fact, «una-unsovets» got off only with the obligation to pay 11 thousand hryvnias of court costs in favor of the state.

Source: A country

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