Location Ukraine Ukraine

Tax Police of Ukraine declared war upon the destruction of the last all-Ukrainian opposition newspaper

June 18, editorial office of the Ukrainian newspaper «Vesti» was occurred by searches. This is the third search after the coup. «Vesti» reported: «Early in the morning a few dozen people broke into the editorial office, they presented themselves as a tax police, but did not show any documents. Tax officers broke the door, broke all safes. The work of editorial office was completely blocked. The editor’s lawyers and attorneys of «Vesti» also were not allowed to enter. They were forced to stand in front of closed doors, all requests to let them or at least to provide the documents — the invaders left without response».
After the start of the search State Tax Service said that the search was carried out in the case of tax evasion. This case was initiated in April 2014, but according to the owners of the newspaper in August already felt apart — investigative actions have not been conducted since then.
Two weeks before the raid media holding 242 personnel were summoned for questioning by the tax police. Moreover, the tax authorities do not stand on ceremony — the summonses were presented over the weekend, late at night, they called the relatives of journalists and pressed them.
After the search, the tax authorities took with them all the laptops including those belonged to journalists, proofreaders, designers and photographers personally. Also, the server, voice recorders, flash drives have been taken off. Employees were forced to prepare the next issue of the newspaper «Vesti» at home.
According to «Vesti», armed paramilitaries were ready to block newspaper office after the search, but public information made in time had foiled plans of thugs.

Search in editorial office of “Vesti”: https://youtu.be/gu8NJE8mnFs

Before leaving, sneaks stuck in an elevator «Vesti»: https://youtu.be/hgNVd8sxIvY

According to media expert Daniel Wachowski Ukrainian government decided that the newspaper «Vesti» and the entire holding company «Media Invest Group», which in addition to the all-Ukrainian newspaper of the same name includes a radio, socio-political weekly «Vesti. Reporter» and the channel UBR, must die. This verdict for media projects by Igor Guzhva was passed by experts and even the president Poroshenko, during his balance sheet press conference he said that is not reading the newspaper «Vesti» for a year and added: «If the tax authorities prove the opacity of funding «Vesti «, the country has the ability to protect itself». «Bodies» heard the words of the president as a call to action and summoned for questioning 242 persons from “Vesti” staff, and ten days later stormed the central office.

July 19 it was held a press conference of the editor of «Vesti» Igor Guzhva together with representatives of the «Opposition bloc». Yuriy Pavlenko, a member of the parliamentary committee on freedom of speech and information, MP from the faction «Opposition bloc», said that the actions of the tax police are illegal and an outspoken attack on freedom of speech. He added that raider attacks on the media, pressure and interference in the work of independent media and journalists — have become regular in recent. The methods used by the authorities are various, but they have one goal — to establish censorship, to destroy the freedom of speech, destroy democracy in the country.
Igor Guzhva rated search in the editorial office of «Vesti» as an attack and the war of annihilation. «Moreover, I want to say that some people from the tax police and other security forces yesterday visited printing plants, where we print, and demanded that they stop printing of our newspaper. This requirement is unlawful, on the grounds that there is no court decision that would has stopped our state registration. If there is no such decision, no one can forbid us to print; it was actually said by printing plant administration, and I am very grateful for this”.
According Guzhva case against «Vesti» has no prospect, but it is a means of hard pressure on the opposition media. Tax police does not hide that it intends to continue to operate these methods. That is, they come and take all the property, wait office to be restored – come again and take everything back.
Guzhva compared the tax service attack on the newspaper «Vesti» to Tax Service’s attempts to put pressure on the «Channel 5» in 2013 under Yanukovych. That time the «Channel 5» was an opposition media and was subjected to pressure from the Tax Service. Comparison was in favor of Yanukovych, because in 2013 no one withdrew the television equipment and expelled personnel from office.
This conclusion is not dictated by Guzhva likes to overthrown president: «I was removed from the chief editor of the newspaper «Segodnya” under Yanukovych… That is, I have no sentimentality to Yanukovych, but I, in fairness, I can not really recall that similar methods pervasive pressure were used under Yanukovych or under Kuchma. And most importantly, when tax police tormented Channel 5 that time, when it tormented channel TVI, remember 2012 and 2011 — when it was seen as a struggle against freedom of expression. Then international organizations, non-governmental organizations in Ukraine publicly protested, because it was perceived as pressure on the media by presenting them some self-imposed tax charges. Now, state power presents this like we are fighting with the media, which prevent us to live, and this is normal. Here is the most dangerous thing in this story».

June 20, the newspaper «Vesti» released information that the tax police analyzed the results of a search conducted in the edition of «Vesti». «It was stated that at the moment the collected materials did not help the employees of the State Fiscal Service to «dig» any materials against the newspaper and its founders. This caused dissatisfaction of SFS leadership. It was told there is a “task” for a week (!) to stop the output of «Vesti» and to block the work of the holding «Vesti» (which in addition includes Radio Vesti, magazine «Vesti.Reporter» and the website «Vesti» ).
Therefore, the employees of the tax service, as well as other enforcement agencies are ordered as soon as possible to resume the attack on the «Vesti». In particular, according to our data, it is discussed the preparation of a series of provocations against the media. In particular, the falsification of internal editorial documents which would testify that media was preparing illegal actions. In addition, it is intended to continue the psychological pressure on the editorial staff.
Perhaps searches in the homes of the leaders of the holding would begin.
It is also expected intensification of “titushki” and paramilitary fighters’ actions against the publication — the attack on the employees, preventing the spread of the newspaper, the attack on the editorial office».

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