KirillVyshinsky

Accused of Treason and Imprisoned Without Trial: Journalist Kirill Vyshinsky Recounts His Harrowing Time in a Ukrainian Prison

Mint Press News: Eva Bartlett sat down with recently released Ukrainian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky. Vyshinsky endured 15 months of appalling conditions in a Ukrainian prison after being falsely accused of treason.

WATCH the interview HERE

 

Oct 28, 2019, Mint Press News

In November 2018, I became aware of the case of Kirill Vyshinsky, a Ukrainian-Russian journalist and editor imprisoned in Ukraine without trial since May 2018, accused of high treason. 

Soon after, I interviewed Vyshinsky via email. He described his arrest and the accusations against him as politically-motivated, “an attempt by the Ukrainian authorities to bolster the declining popularity of [then] President [Petro] Poroshenko in this election year.” 

Vyshinsky noted that his arrest was advancing the incessant anti-Russian hysteria now prevalent among Ukrainian authorities, as he holds dual Ukrainian and Russian citizenship. He noted that the charges against him, which pertain to a number of articles he published in 2014 (none of them authored by Vyshinsky), became of interest to Ukrainian authorities and intelligence services four years after they were published. To Vyshinsky, this supports the notion that neither the articles nor their editor were a security threat to Ukraine, instead, he says, they were a political card to be played. 

In early 2019, I traveled to Kiev to interview Vyshinsky’s defense lawyer Andriy Domansky about the logistic obstacles of his client’s case. Domansky viewed the Vyshinsky case as politically motivated and expressed concern that he could himself become a target of Ukraine’s secret service for his role in defending his client, an innocent man. 

Domansky told me at the time,

The Vyshinsky case is key in demonstrating the presence of political persecution of journalists in Ukraine. As a legal expert, I believe justice is still possible in Ukraine and I will do everything possible to prove Kirill Vyshinsky’s innocence.”

To the surprise of those following the case against Vyshinsky, in late August 2019 he was released with little fanfare after serving more than 400 days in a Ukrainian prison but still faces all of the charges brought against him by the Ukrainian government and is “obliged to appear in court or give testimony to investigators if they deemed it necessary.” 

By early September, Kirill Vyshinsky was on a plane to Moscow. Despite never being tried or officially convicted, he found himself the subject of a prisoner exchange between the Russian and Ukrainian governments.

I interviewed Vyshinsky in Moscow in late September. He told me about his harrowing ordeal, the Ukrainian detention system, other persecuted journalists, and what lies ahead for him.

He also touched on the inhumane conditions he experienced in Ukrainian prisons. He noted that a pretrial detention center as we know it in Western nations is a very different entity in Ukraine and that Ukrainian prisons were so over-crowded that it was common for inmates to sleep in three shifts in order to allow enough standing room for inmates crammed into a cell.

 

Ukrainian prisons like a “concentration camp”

Aleksey Zhuravko, a Ukrainian deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of V and VI convocations recently published photos taken inside of an Odessa pretrial detention center showing utterly unsanitary and appalling conditions. Zhuravko noted, “I am shocked at what was seen. It is a concentration camp. It is a hotbed of diseases.”

Another Ukrainian journalist, Pavel Volkov, was subjected to the same types of accusations lobbed against Vyshinsky. Volkov spent over a year in the same pretrial detention center as Vyshinsky. He was arrested on September 27, 2017, after Ukrainian authorities carried out searches of his wife and mother’s apartments without the presence of his lawyer and with what he says, was a false witness. 

Volkov spent more than a year in a pretrial detention center on charges of “infringing on territorial integrity with a group of people” and “miscellaneous accessory to terrorism.” On March 27, 2019, he was fully acquitted by a Ukrainian court. 

Volkov shared his thoughts on the persecution of journalists in Ukraine, saying:

The leaders of the 2014 Euromaidan movement, who subsequently occupied the largest positions in the country’s leadership, repeatedly stated that collaborators from World War II who participated in the mass extermination of Jews, Russians, and Poles are true heroes in Ukraine, and that the Russian and Russian-speaking population of Ukraine are inferior people who need to be either forcibly re-educated or destroyed. 

They also believe that anyone who wants peace with the Russian Federation, and who believes that the Russian language (the native language for over sixty percent of Ukraine’s population) should be the second state language, is the enemy of Ukraine.

These notions formed the basis of the new criminal law, designed to persecute politicians, public figures, journalists, and ordinary citizens who disagree with the above.

Since 2014, security services have arrested hundreds of people on charges of state treason; infringing on the territorial integrity of Ukraine; and assisting terrorism for criticizing the current government in the streets or on the Internet. 

People have been in prison for years without a conviction. And these are not only the journalists included in the ‘Vyshinsky list’. 

Activists from Odessa, Sergey Dolzhenkov and Evgeny Mefedov, have spent more than five years in jail just for laying flowers at a memorial to the liberators of Nikolaev [Ukrainian city] from Nazi invaders. 

Sergeyev and Gorban, taxi drivers, have spent two and a half years in a pretrial detention center because they transported pensioners from Donetsk to Ukraine-controlled territory so that they could receive their legal pension.

The entrepreneur Andrey Tatarintsev has spent two years in prison for providing humanitarian assistance to a children’s hospital in the territory of the Lugansk region not controlled by Ukraine.

Farmer Nikolay Butrimenko received eight years of imprisonment for paying tax to the Donetsk People’s Republic for his land located in that territory.

The 85-year-old scientist and engineer Mekhti Logunov was given twelve years because he agreed to build a waste recycling plant with Russian investors. The list is endless. 

People often incriminate themselves while being tortured or under the threat of their relatives being punished, and such confessions are accepted by the courts, despite the fact that lawyers initiate criminal proceedings against the security services involved in the torture. These cases are not being investigated.

The only mitigation that has happened in this direction after the change of government was the abolition of the provision of the Criminal Procedure Code stating that no other measure of restraint other than detention can be applied to persons suspected of committing crimes against the state. 

This allowed some defendants to leave prison on bail, but not a single politically-motivated case has yet been closed. Moreover, arrests are ongoing. 

The only acquittal to date from the so-called journalistic cases on freedom of speech is mine. However, it is still being contested by the prosecutor’s office in the Supreme Court. 

Ninety-nine percent of the media continue to call all these people ‘terrorists’, ‘separatists’, and ‘enemies of the people’, even though almost none of them have yet received a verdict in court.”

Volkov’s words lay bare the true nature of the allegations made against Kirill Vyshinsky as well as the countless other journalists and citizens of Ukraine that have fallen victim to the heavy hand of Ukrainian authorities.

Interview with Maria Zakharova, coming soon!

 

I am very pleased that my interview & conversation with Maria Zakharova will be published soon on MintPress News.   Mint has tweeted a short trailer.

Maria’s words are powerful, she is a sage voice in the face of endless Western media and politicians’ lies and, frankly, fake news.  I thank her for the generous amount of time she gave me, and for her integrity.
*I’ve been working very hard on this. It would have been out a week or more ago, but I did have a technical problem: the video editing file and the backup file which I had almost completed work on suddenly failed and would not open. I had to start over from the beginning, while travelling & doing some interviews in Crimea. 

In spite of tech issues, I finally finished the last bit yesterday. I’m grateful to Mint for adding very nice finishing and professional touches, and for publishing the interview!

 

Interviewed by Russian Blogger & Public Figure: From Moscow to Donbass

The other day, I was interviewed by Vadim Manukyan on the Moscow protests but also on issues related to Syria, Gaza, Venezuela and western corporate media propaganda.

*Vadim Manukyan is a blogger, public figure, and an “expert of the Council for the Development of the Information Society and Media at the State Duma”, as described on his Facebook profile.

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*Photo by Eva Bartlett. Journalist taking selfie in front of Russian police. Many journalists at the protest had a visible fixation with framing their photos with police. The intent seems clear enough to me. Police, by the way, did not react to this nor to further harassment by journalists.
 
“Canadian journalist and blogger Eva Bartlett attended an opposition rally on Sakharov Avenue in Moscow on August 10 and called the protesters “the most apathetic she had seen” The journalist shared her thoughts on Facebook.
[Eva note: My emphasis on APATHETIC was to highlight the sense that many of the protesters were not there for reasons to do with “democracy”, etc, but were, lets say, persuaded by other interests… ]
For this “liberty”, according to tradition, some of the Russian social network users harassed her, Eva was accused of “propaganda” and “work for the Russian media”.
In order to clarify the position of Eva Bartlett on all pressing issues, Vadim Manukyan spoke with her specifically for the Federal News Agency.
 
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*Photo by Eva Bartlett. Protesters in Moscow August 10, 2019.

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Interview on Last American Vagabond: Rukban Camp (Syria) & Gaza

Ryan Cristian of The Last American Vagabond had me on his show to discuss Syria & Palestine.
“In this interview we go over the US-run al-Rukban internment camp in Syria and what these people have been forced to endure even as the MSM ignores their plight, as well as some of what Eva saw while living in Palestine, the parallels between the two atrocities, and the governmental ties that bind them.”
 
*Note: As I update (July 25), Ryan informed me that Youtube has demonitized this particular upload on his channel.Consider supporting Ryan on his Patreon account.

Links Related to Things Discussed:

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London’s ‘media freedom’ conference smacks of irony: Critics barred, no mention of jailed Assange

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Kirill Vyshinsky: Imprisoned over 1 year in Ukraine, a journalist who *should* have been highlighted at the “Media Freedom” conference but was not.

July 15, 2019, RT.com
-by Eva Bartlett
Irony is the word which comes to mind at the mention of the “Global Conference for Media Freedom” co-hosted by the UK and Canadian foreign ministers. Everything about this twilight zone gathering smacked of irony.

Irony that governments which support terrorists in Syria and whitewash Israeli murders of Palestinian journalists have the gall to hold a conference feigning concern for journalists’ rights and media freedom.

Irony that journalists actually suffering persecution and unjust imprisonment –like Kirill Vyshinsky and Julian Assange – were not the focus of the conference, with Assange only mentioned in passing, and Vyshinsky, presumably, not at all.

Irony most of all that a conference — according to Global Affairs Canada, an “international campaign to shine a global spotlight on media freedom…”– refused participation of two major and sought-out media outlets, both Russian: RT and Sputnik.

Organizers apparently tried to claim the reason for the exclusion was simply that they’d met their quota of journalists attending. But they didn’t maintain the lie to Western media, RT London correspondent Polly Boiko noted:

Behind our backs other news channels got a very different message: ‘We have not accredited RT or Sputnik because of their active role in spreading disinformation.’”

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Persecuted for Defending the Persecuted in Ukraine: Interview with Vyshinsky Defense Attorney Andriy Domansky

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*Andriy Domansky, left, appears alongside his client Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky in a Ukranian courtroom. Photo | RIA News
 
“The Vyshinsky case is key in demonstrating the presence of political persecution of journalists in Ukraine. As a legal expert, I believe justice is still possible in Ukraine and I will do everything possible to prove Kirill Vyshinsky’s innocence.” —Vyshinsky defense attorney Andriy Domansky
 
March 06th, 2019, Mint Press News
 
-by Eva Bartlett
 
 
KIEV, UKRAINE — Andriy Domansky is the defense lawyer for jailed Ukrainian-Russian journalist and bureau chief of  RIA-Novosti Ukraine, Kirill Vyshinsky. Vyshinsky has been imprisoned without trial by Ukrainian authorities since May 2018, accused of “high treason” and conducting an “information war” against Ukraine.
Last week, MintPress News published my interview with Vyshinsky, detailing the nature of his detention, the lack of a trial in spite of nearly 10 months of imprisonment, the absurdities of the accusations levied against him, and his lack of adequate medical care while imprisoned.
 
Domansky is not only Vyshinsky’s lawyer, he is also a journalist. He hosts a weekly radio show on the rights of journalists and, owing to his defense of journalists’ rights, he is sought out by an increasing number of persecuted journalists in Ukraine.
In mid-February, I traveled to Kiev to meet and interview Domansky about the political nature of the Vyshinsky case and about the persecution of journalists in general in Ukraine. The interview was conducted via an interpreter in Ukrainian.

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“They Just Want Me in Prison”: Mint Press Contributor Eva Bartlett Interviews Jailed Ukrainian Journalist Kirill Vyshinsky

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The Ukraine courts are still dependent on political authorities, and the special service is used to carry out political schemes and to fight inconvenient points of view and dissent, rather than to protect national security.” — Imprisoned Ukrainian-Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky tells Eva Bartlett.
 
 

by Eva Bartlett, February 25th, 2019, Mint Press News

KHERSON, UKRAINE (Interview) — Ukrainian-Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky has been imprisoned by Ukraine since his May 2018 arrest on yet unproven allegations of “high treason” and of conducting an “information war” against Ukraine in his role as chief editor of RIA Novosti Ukraine news agency.
 
To date, Vyshinsky has not been allowed a trial, the Ukrainian authorities instead repeatedly prolonging his pre-trial detention and delaying his right to justice.
 
In November, 2018, I spoke with journalist Vladimir Rodzianko about the case of Kirill Vyshinsky. In our interview, Rodzianko explained Vyshinsky’s May 2018 arrest, Vyshinsky’s work as an editor, the absurdities of Ukraine’s accusations against Vyshinsky, and the lack of outcry on his imprisonment.
 
Through intermediaries, I was later able to interview the imprisoned journalist, via email. While his replies came at the end of 2018, my intermediaries just recently were able to provide a translated transcript of Vyshinsky’s words.
 
More recently, I went to Kiev to interview Vyshinsky’s defense lawyer, Mr. Andriy Domanskyy. That interview will be published in the near future. While conducting the interview with Mr. Domanskyy on February 19, he received a phone call from the Kherson Court informing him that during the February 21 pleading, the court would limit the time during which Vyshinsky and Domanskyy could read the case files–case files amounting to 31 volumes.
 
Below is my correspondence with Kirill Vyshinsky.
 
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