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Vsesvit is the latest victim of lawless raids

On 26 April the offices of the long-established literary journal Vsesvit were raided in what would seem to be the latest ugly use of criminal methods and brute force, resulting in the journal's 83-year-old Chief Editor needing hospitalization

The following is a statement issued by the President of the Ukrainian Section of the International PEN Club, Myroslav Marynovych.

The media has reported that on 26 April a group of unidentified individuals carried out an attack on the premises of the Vsesvit editorial office on Hrushevsky St. They demanded that the Chief Editor, Oleh Mykytenko vacate the premises and renounce his claim to the offices (which are lawfully owned by the Vsesvit Publishing Company). The assailants behaved in a rough fashion, deliberately damaging Vsesvit property and it is hardly surprising that as a result of the raid, the 83-year--old Chief Editor ended up in hospital.

This raid is no isolated occurrence in Ukraine. A large number of centres of Ukrainian cultural life and independent thought have come under fire. It is known that criminals can be recognized by their specific style: filling people with fear through the brutality of their attack; paralyzing work and so intimidating their chosen victims that the latter decide it's better to give in, and hand over the premises, fold their activities and renounce their independent position.

Ukraine's creative intelligentsia is filled with concern and it is the country's leaders who bear responsibility for the state of affairs. Their inability to ensure order gives grounds for their dismissal. Reluctance to intervene so as to prevent lawlessness forces us to conclude that the right hand is aware what the left is doing. It should, however, be borne in mind that there remains the possibility of exerting impact on the situation and wrenching the country from this free fall into lawlessness.

The choice of response lies with the country's leaders.

Myroslav Marynovych
President of the Ukrainian Section of the International PEN Club