Vigilantes block editorial offices of Russian-oriented TV network

2017/12/4 22:24:31

Analyst: “We expect the next two years to be extremely chaotic, with high potential for the political situation spinning out of the government’s control. We also expect the president to take full advantage of authoritarian measures to maintain order in those moments. But we expect he will see the need to employ them more against the pro-Western activists like Saakashvili, where he sees the bigger threat instead of the Russian-oriented crowd.”

 


KYIV, Dec 4,2017 - Vigilantes dressed in camouflage and balaklavas targeted the editorial offices of the NewsOne television network on Dec. 3, Concorde Capital informed clients today. The vigilantes blocked its entrance with more than a hundred sandbags and barbed wire. The blockade emerged after the network’s owner, MP Yevgeniy Murayev, said that he considers the 2013-14 EuroMaidan protest as “not a revolution but a government overthrow” during a political talk show broadcast on Nov. 29. The vigilantes demanded that Murayev recant his anti-Maidan and alleged separatist statements, as well as hire news anchors that are “patriotic and pro-Ukrainian,” among other demands.

 

The NewsOne network asked the president and interior minister to take necessary action to remove the blockade. Murayev alleged it was being carried out by radical organizer Dmytro Korchynskiy, who had called for prohibiting the network’s activity. In response to NewsOne’s request, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov called upon the protestors to end the blockade, while at the same time referring to Murayev as “a bastard, a provocateur.” Numerous MPs and civic leaders, including the head of the National Journalists Union, spoke in the network’s defense, alleging that freedom of speech was being restricted in Ukraine by an increasingly authoritarian environment under the Poroshenko Administration.

 

Besides being the network’s owner, Murayev is also the head of the political council of the For Life party that is projected by polls to qualify for parliament in the 2019 elections. The For Life party opposes Ukraine’s membership in NATO, supports renewing economic ties with Russia and its leaders have proposed federalization of Ukraine, in line with the expressed goal of the Russian government.

 

Concorde analyst Zenon Zawada added: “If anything, Murayev’s bold statement confirms the 2019 election season is underway. It also offers evidence behind our view that the Russian government will be actively involved to gain the best result possible for the Russian-oriented parties, which consist of the For Life party, led by Murayev and Vadim Rabinovich, and the Opposition Bloc, led by natural gas oligarch Yuriy Boyko. The main message of these parties will be about how economic conditions have worsened for the average Ukrainian since the EuroMaidan, and how renewed relations with Russia will improve them.

 

“The president will have a difficult time ensuring that the conditions of a liberal democracy, including freedom of speech and assembly, are maintained in a time of war (that is not officially declared). We expect the next two years to be extremely chaotic, with high potential for the political situation spinning out of the government’s control. We also expect the president to take full advantage of authoritarian measures to maintain order in those moments. But we expect he will see the need to employ them more against the pro-Western activists like Saakashvili, where he sees the bigger threat instead of the Russian-oriented crowd.”

 

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For more information, link here: www.concorde.ua

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