High Profile Journalist Pavel Sheremet Assassinated by Car Bomb in Kiev (Video)

Since Maidan, Ukraine has been three times more dangerous for journalists than Russia

This post first appeared on Russia Insider


Another day, another journalist murdered in Ukraine.

Pavel Sheremet, a Belarusian-born journalist who worked in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, died this morning when his car exploded in the center of the Ukrainian capital Kiev. Most reports agree the explosion was caused by a car bomb. 

The Guardian reports:

Pavel Sheremet, who wrote for Ukrayinska Pravda, was driving to work in the car of the newspaper’s owner on Wednesday morning when it was blown up, an adviser to the interior minister, Anton Gerashchenko, said.

Two witnesses said they had heard a loud blast and saw an explosion from underneath the car, which lay charred in the middle of the street.

“I’m in shock, I don’t know what to say. It is a matter of honour for the police to investigate the case,” said the head of the national police force, Khatia Dekanoidze. “I will personally take charge of the case.”

It is possible that Sheremet was not the intended target, since it is being reported that the car he was driving belonged to the editor-in-chief of Ukrainska Pravda, Olena Pritula.

Sheremet had been working for Ukrainska Pravda, one of the most popular sources of online news in Ukraine. Ukrainska Pravda heavily promoted Ukraine's 2013-2014 Maidan riots which resulted in the overthrow of Ukraine's elected government headed by President Victor Yanukovich. Following the coup, the online newspaper promoted the regime's version of events in Crimea and rebel Donbass.

However, Ukrainska Pravda has also shined a spotlight on the lack of reform under Ukraine's new government, and has also reported critically on the inner workings of Petro Poroshenko's administration.

Since the coup in 2014, Ukraine has become 3 times as dangerous for journalists as Russia. (Compare lists here and here.) Figures in the Kiev regime have carried out numerous acts of repression against the press, including the release in May 2016 of the names of over 4,000 journalists, many from western news outlets, who had worked in rebel-controlled Donbass.

The names were published on the website Mirotvorets, which compiles lists of "traitors" and "enemies of Ukraine." The site has the public support of the regime's interior minister, Arsen Avakov. 

Mirotvorets had already gained infamy by listing prominent Ukrainian opposition journalist Oles Buzina and Party of Regions member and parliamentary deputy Oleg Kalashnikov. Both men were assassinated on the same day in April 2015. Both were publicly opposed to the Maidan regime.

Though the assassins, linked to Ukraine's powerful neo-Nazi militia "Right Sector" were later arrested, Petro Poroshenko initially blamed the assassinations on a Russian "provocation." (Just as the murders of at least 50 people at Odessa's trade union house by Ukrainian "patriots" were blamed on a Putin-organized "provacation.") 

Interior Minister Avakov's deputy, Anton Geraschenko has wasted no time in proclaiming responsibility for the murder of Pavel Sheremet. In a post on Facebook this morning he announced Ukraine would search for the "Russian connection" to Sheremet's death:

So before the investigation has even begun, the authorities in Kiev have already pronounced Russia guilty. Now it's just a matter of molding the facts to fit their pre-determined conclusion. Ukraine's emergency services minister also joined the chorus immediately blaming Russia:

It is far more likely that Sheremet was targeted by someone in the Kiev regime, or by a Ukrainian oligarch he may have offended, than that Putin went out of his way to order an operation to kill a journalist in another country. But for those whose reasoning is warped by hateful extremist ideology, there is only one person and one country, which can be blamed.

We will be watching this case closely as it develops. But regrettably, Pavel Sheremet will probably not be the last journalist to die in the violent and chaotic state wrought by Ukraine's "revolution of dignity."

By contrast, a popular Russian blogger, El Murid, sought to bring the death of Sheremet into proper perspective:

The death of one person is a tragedy, the death of many people is a statistic. Today we can see another proof of this statement: Pavel Sheremet, a Belarusian journalist, fled from Belorussia and radically opposing its authorities, and therefore a categorical enemy of Russia and a supporter of all coups in Ukraine, died after an explosion in Kiev. All media resources reported on that – that is an obvious tragedy.  
 
At the same time no one was interested in overnight gunfire in the Donbass. That shows that the mass killing of people has become an ordinary thing. It has become a matter of statistics long ago, and that’s why media doesn’t consider it to be a tragedy. They can’t sell such news.

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

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