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Ukraine's Future
Censorship and Repression in the New Ukraine

A reminder to Western democracy cheerleaders: the political reality in western Ukraine is not all sunshine and roses. Dissent by politicians and the media is being quashed, even if it is expressed peacefully. Censorship and even disenfranchisement of anyone who exudes even a whiff of “pro-separatist” views are on the rise. The Christian Science Monitor reports:

A crackdown on what authorities describe as “pro-separatist” points of view has triggered dismay among Western human rights monitors, and at the very least played straight into the hands of Kremlin propaganda.

For example, the Sept. 11 shutdown of the independent Kiev-based Vesti newspaper by the Ukrainian Security Service for “violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity” brought swift condemnation from the international Committee to Protect Journalists and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Ukraine has also shut down most Russia-based television stations on the grounds that they purvey “propaganda,” and barred a growing list of Russian journalists from entering the country. In July it banned the parliamentary faction of the Communist Party, which won 13 percent of the vote in 2012 elections, on the grounds that its members had spoken in defense of eastern Ukraine’s rebels.

As Ukraine heads into parliamentary polls, any questions touching on the country’s territorial integrity appear to have become an unspoken “red line” for all candidates. “Any politician who declares that Ukraine should be willing to sacrifice any part of its sovereignty might come to a hard end, very quickly,” says Viktor Zamiatin, a political expert with the Razumkov Center in Kiev.

War is hell, and liberal ideals are often among the first casualties when a country is in its throes. Nevertheless, that’s ultimately not a good enough reason for Ukraine’s supporters to avert their eyes and make excuses.

Ukrainians, especially in the western parts of the country, have strong aspirations to join the Western club of nations, broadly defined. Indeed, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced today that he hoped to enact a series of reforms that would have his country applying for EU membership by 2020. Putting brakes on these kinds of chauvinist shenanigans ought to be a top priority.

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  • GS

    As if Ukraine could ever join the West as long as it has some (15 million?) of russians and russophiles – speak of a civilizational fifth column, if there has ever been one. The only civilized option would be a velvet divorce from them.

    • Duperray

      Americans of the 1940’s were able to understand that Germany was nazi by force and forgave the population after 1945. Nowadays it seems that modern american are unable to change their minds even 25years after USSR collapse. OK, carry over this virtual enemity towards russain population, this is highly appreciated by islamic hated towards US, not yet ready to tetanize political system as they have already performed in former western Europe.

      • GS

        If you believe that on christmas 1991 they went to sleep as the soviet types but woke up as the civilizationally different human beings, may I interest you in buying a slightly used Grand Canyon? Nazi Germany was still a civilzationally Western country, and that’s why the denazification was reasonably fast there. And here we are talking a civilizational difference, which goes much deeper.

        • Duperray

          Hey guys, I just uncover an american nazi..!! Just read above.
          I understand why US so well support Kiev nazi and their product, mass graves presently under unearthing is Donbass. OSCE testifies.
          As I am ashamed to have for weeks read propaganda from such a US site, I definitively stop to connect and read it.

          • GS

            I was born and grew up in the damned russia, duperray, and thus I know them much better than you ever could. If that makes me a nazi, then so be it.

    • Alex K.

      It’s not an ethnic conflict and there is no clear distinction between ethnic Ukrainians and ethnic Russians in Ukraine. The line tends to be cultural and civilizational. But with just a little propaganda, millions of currently anti-Western Russians would make better EU citizens than most Muslim immigrants and – possibly – a good deal of Southern Europeans.

  • Tom

    Ummm…was author sleeping during his classes on the ACW? Or World War I?

    • Duperray

      Sleeping during WWI? Yes, but overall during WWII and nazis.

  • Alex K.

    The CSM report above groups legitimate actions by the nascent Ukrainian state with genuine attacks on free speech.

    – The raid on theVesti offices was illegal and repugnant since Vesti is a legitimate, independent newspaper.

    – The ban on the Communist Party and the so-called lustration bill recently passed by the Rada are no more anti-democratic or illiberal than Germany’s post-WWII de-Nazification.

    – Ukraine’s banning Russian TV stations and journalists is questionable in being non-selective but the fact remains that most (but not all) Russian media are propaganda outlets and their reporters are foot soldiers in Russia’s infowar against Ukraine.

    • Victor

      IIRC the “legitimate and independent newspaper” is owned by putin’s relative who is also on the EU and USA sanction lists (one of the first people to get there).

      There is absolutely nothing unusual or unexpected for the russian intelligence to purchase or infiltrate legitimate mass-media in Ukraine.

      Hence, shudown of Vedomosti might be legitimate as well, but the author decided to jump to conclusions without any elaboration of his arguments.

      This post is so screwed up it makes me feel bad.

      • Alex K.

        IYou seem to be saying that Vesti’s true owner is the sanctioned pro-Russian “oligarch” Victor Medvedchuk. If that’s true, it’s still a terrible idea for security services to raid a newspaper. If Vesti is truly a Russian propaganda outlet, the Ukrainian media regulator should deal with its lies and distortions.

  • Nick Koblov

    17 september. Lviv. Urkaine.

  • Victor

    No, people, honestly, even the title of this post and the article it is based on is beyond stupid and could be written by some ignorant dunk sitting in Moscow… oh wait…

    I can’t believe there are still media outlets publishing reports on Ukraine written by correspondents in Moscow.

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