Charity Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech comments on attack on Ukrainian journalist Ruslan Kotsaba

Charity Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech is concerned about the situation that occurred on the night of June 25 at Ivano-Frankivsk railway station.

An unknown group attacked independent journalist Ruslan Kotsaba.

The Chairperson of the Supervisory Board of the foundation Hanna Herman commented on the incident. She notes that in a country where from the rostrum of parliament sound calls to kill the opposition members, an independent media worker cannot feel safe.

The cynical defiant attack and beating of journalist Ruslan Kotsaba by a group of neo-Nazis in Ivano-Frankivsk is another clear confirmation of the dangerous processes that are gaining momentum in Ukraine with the silent indulgence of the current government. And most importantly, the ideological core that feeds the sprouts of fascism in Ukraine is now at the highest government level. Recently, the public was shocked by the call to kill the oppositionists from the rostrum of the Verkhovna Rada. A few days later, it guided the neo-Nazi groups, which demonstrated that they were loyal executors of such a political line.

Citizens of Ukraine did not hear the President of Ukraine condemn the calls for the murder of oppositionists. The head of state keeps silent about the audacious beating of an independent journalist. And society is getting used to this indulgence of impunity on the part of top government officials. Yes, there will be another investigation into another beating. And once again no one will be punished. Just as the murderers of Oles Buzyna and Pavlo Sheremet have not been punished yet, or the criminals who beat the journalists. Authorities punish freedom of speech by shutting down dissenting media. And government officials are just a tool they use to intimidate those who think freely and are not afraid to express their opinions publicly.

The beating of Ruslan Kotsaba is just a link in the chain to which the current government is trying to tie down the free press. But it is a road to nowhere.

“All the bonds that were bounding us to ancient life are broken free; from ancient dirt the thought is unchained – come to life, brothers, come to life,” the genius Ivan Franko wrote.

Although those who are now in power did not read the works of Franko, the Great Kameniar. They hardly even know who it is.

Still… Freedom of speech is one of the fundamental values ​​of democracy. And there are presidents in the world who say they came to power to oppose autocratic democracy. Therefore, Ukrainian independent journalists should turn to world leaders, who, when meeting with the President of Ukraine, should explain to him how important democratic values ​​are.

“Democracy is like a suit that can be tight or uncomfortable. But when you take it off, you will be naked.” 

Aleksander Kwasniewski said these words to the President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma after the assassination of Georgiy Gongadze. This phrase should be reminded to the current President Volodymyr Zelensky. And he will surely be reminded.