neo-nazi hooligans in power

Ukrainian MP & thugs beat state TV Channel head into resigning
Russia Today, Mar 18 2014

A Ukrainian nationalist MP assisted by a group of helpers abused and threatened interim head of Ukraine’s National TV. They accused him of being anti-Ukrainian and bullied him into signing his resignation, claiming to be members of a new media regulator. The office of the acting CEO of the National Television Company of Ukraine, Aleksandr Panteleymonov, was stormed by people who claimed to be members of the freedom of speech and information committee. Among them were Ukrainian Svoboda MP Igor Miroshnynchenko and party ideologist Andrey Ilyenko. What began as a loud conversation quickly turned into a fight. A video of the incident has been posted online (above). NTU is state-run and operates the nation’s largest public broadcaster, Pershyi Natsionalnyi. Svoboda (Freedom) party members yelled at the interim CEO and beat him in the face, accusing the channel of a lack of nationalism and forcefully demanding his resignation. “Write your resignation!” Sit down! I told you, sit down!,” yelled one of the members while throwing punches and pushing Panteleymonov. “You are feasting in my Ukraine!…Here is a paper, pen, write the resignation now quickly, you animal…You are Moskal (a derogatory term for Russian) garbage!” He replied to the men, saying: “I am not Russian, I am Ukrainian.” But to that they responded: “You are Ukrainian? You are shit! You campaigned for Moscow, you lied to Ukrainians for our money!” The Svoboda party’s press secretary, Aleksandr Aronets, said on his Facebook page that they “forced the head of the Pershyi Natsionalnyi Panteleymonov to write a letter of resignation.” As proof, he attached a picture of the paper.


“During Yanukovich’s rule, he was a deputy for information policy of Egor Benkendorf (former NTU CEO and now the chairman of TV channel ‘Inter’), ie he was personally behind brainwashing the Ukrainians and was convincing them that improvements have happened already, and when people were getting killed, he was showing a TV series about the Russian army. For the last year he has been the head of the channel,” reads the statement. The Svoboda party is a far-right Ukrainian nationalist party, which is currently one of the five largest parties in the country. The event comes amid a wide, vocal presence of far-right groups in Ukrainian politics. Meanwhile, a number of Russian channels have been banned in Ukraine, and a satellite provider that used to provide services for RT was threatened by unknown gunmen. Just last week, the OSCE criticized Kiev’s “repressive” move to shut down the broadcasting of Russian TV channels after the media watchdog reported that over 50% of providers have already fulfilled the order allegedly aimed at “ensuring national security and sovereignty.” The National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council of Ukraine said on its website:

As of 11 am Mar 11, 50% of providers throughout Ukraine have disabled broadcasting of foreign channels.

Others are preparing to follow. This was not the first time that nationalist radicals coerced individuals to sign resignation letters by using violence and threats. Far-right radicals wearing masks stormed a city council meeting last week, armed with bats and hammers.

Svoboda MPs assault First Channel TV manager
Olga Rudenko, Kyiv Post, Mar 19 2014

Several members of the nationalist Svoboda Party scandalously assaulted the acting CEO of state-owned First National TV channel. On Mar 18, lawmakers Ihor Miroshnichenko, Andriy Illenko and Bohdan Beniuk arrived at the TV headquarters with several other men and forced its Oleksandr Panteleymonov to quit his post. In the video, which was first published by Svoboda spokesman Oleksandr Aronets and republished by Ukrainska Pravda after Aronets removed it, the members of parliament are seen questioning Panteleymonov in his office about Pershiy broadcasting Putin’s speech about Crimea separation that took place in Moscow on Mar 18. Panteleymonov starts mumbling:

Our viewers have the right to know…

He gets interrupted by the lawmakers, shouting:

Know what? Know what?

In the video, Panteleymonov is seen trying to explain himself and speaking politely, while the lawmakers surround him and shout rudely. Miroshnichenko, the leading voice of the group, proceeded to accuse Panteleymonov of directing an editorial policy aimed at discrediting the EuroMaidan Revolution at the behest of the former state authorities and demanded that Panteleymonov leave his post immediately. Panteleymonov refused to do so and mentioned that it was the Cabinet of Ministers that controlled the TV station. Miroshnichenko shouted in the manager’s face, as he grabbed him and pulled him through the room to his desk:

Cabinet of Ministers is over. I’m telling you, write the paper.

Miroshnichenko then pushed Panteleymonov into his chair, Beniuk held him by the neck and Illienko passed him some paper. As Panteleymonov refused, Miroshnichenko and Beniuk beat him and slapped his face. Even though the video doesn’t show it, the lawmakers did force the manager to quit. As soon as the video was posted on the evening of Mar 18, it went viral and the actions of the lawmakers were widely condemned. Many were concerned that such actions coming from one of the parties that were brought to power after the EuroMaidan Revolution would fuel Russian propaganda that has focused on violence and nationalism in Ukraine. PM Arseniy Yatseniuk, Svoboda’s political ally, reacted:

These are not our methods. The actions of these lawmakers are unacceptable.

The assault was also condemned by Ukraine’s Independent Media Union. Even Svoboda party head and Miroshnichenko’s friend Oleh Tyahnybok condemned the attack. Tyahnybok said in an official statement:

Such actions were fine yesterday, but now they are inappropriate.

After the scandal erupted, Svoboda’s Aronets deleted the video and all the eyes turned to the prosecutor general Oleh Maknitskiy. Also a Svoboda party member, Maknitskiy is now expected to impartially investigate the assault. On the morning of Mar 19, Makhnitskiy’s office released a statement promising to justly deal with the case. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov also condemned the assault and said he was ready to have police help the prosecutor general’s office in investigating the case. Hromadske TV editor Andriy Saychuk assumed that the program that spurred the reaction of Svoboda was actually aired by Hromadske TV, which broadcasts through First National TV for several hours every day. Speaking to the press in parliament on Mar 19, Miroshnichenko said:

I and my colleagues did what we did to stop the crime, in any possible method. The crime was broadcasting separatism-related events through the state-owned station that lives off the taxpayers’ money. We want lustration, and in the time of war it must be prosecuted fast.

Some support the actions of Miroshnichenko and his fellows from Svoboda party. Oleksandr Plokhotniuk wrote on Miroshnichenko’s Facebook page:

Ihor, respect and support to you. Go on the same way. Enough whining about lustration while doing nothing.

Anna Zagrebelna posted to Mitoshnichenko’s page:

Miroshnichenko and Aronets, are you mad? It’s a shame I have you among my friends. And I’m so sorry that I voted for Svoboda.

Journalist Mustafa Nayem called people to protest near the Prosecutor General’s Office to demand punishment for the lawmakers.

Ukrainian TV boss assaulted and forced to resign by Svoboda MPs
Euronews, Mar 19 2014

The head of Ukraine’s state TV company has been attacked by at least three MPs from the far-right Svoboda party and forced to resign. Members of Svoboda barged their way into the offices of Aleksandr Panteleymonov, the acting president of the National Television Company of Ukraine on Tuesday night. They were angry that public broadcaster, First National Channel, had broadcast the Russian Parliament signing a treaty with Crimea on Tuesday. Yelling and beating Panteleymonov around the head, the men accused him of serving Putin, while there were Ukrainians “dying at the hands of Russian occupiers” and called him “Moscow trash.” They then forced him to sign a letter of resignation. Ironically, one of the men involved in the assault was the deputy head of Ukraine’s committee on freedom of speech. Members of the Svoboda party filmed the attack and then posted it online. Ukraine’s prime minister has condemned the incident calling it “unacceptable for a democratic society.” National Television Company (NTU) is state-run and operates Ukraine’s largest public broadcaster, First National Channel. During the Maidan anti-government protests, Panteleymonov, who ran First National Channel, was seen by many Ukrainians as pro-Yanukovych and biased in his coverage. The Svoboda party currently has around 40 members of parliament.

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