The rise of fascism in Ukraine, which was boosted after the 2014 coup, isn't limited to the persecution of communists, the banning of communist symbols and the prohibition of political parties. For almost eight years now, the Ukrainian state tolerates and fosters the unacceptable and dangerous targeting of persons who are regarded as “enemies” by the right-wing establishment.
In a recent report, “Rizospastis”, the daily newspaper of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), refers to the role of “Myrotvorets”, a Kiev-based website that published personal information, including photos and contact details, of people who are considered to be “enemies of Ukraine”.
The black-list of “Myrotvorets” (myrotvorets.center) includes three cadres of the KKE: Giorgos Lambroulis, MP and Vice President of the Greek Parliament, Sotiris Zarianopoulos, former MEP and Giorgos Magganas, KKE cadre.
According to “Rizospastis”, a few years ago, individuals who had been listed in the website became victims of murderous actions, while many people have been subject to threats.
“The case begins from the Ukrainian government itself, which has described the three Greek communists as “persona non grata”, because in the past they visited Ukraine in order to express their solidarity to the Ukrainian people and the local persecuted communists. After a Presidential Decree issued on December 2015, their names were included in the 388 natural and 105 legal entities to which the Ukranian government imposed sanctions for alleged actions against Ukraine”, Rizospastis reports.
“Myrotvorets” (“peacemaker” in English), was launched on December 2014 by Anton Gerashchenko, then advisor at the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs who later served as Deputy Minister. Gerashchenko himself has indicated that Georgiy Tuka, who in 2015-2016 headed the Luhansk regional military-civil administration, is the founder of the site. According to a report by human rights platform “Uspishna Varta”, the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, the SBU, departmental and other law enforcement bodies of the country were listed among the partners of “Myrotvorets” until May 2016.
On 10 May 2016, the site published the personal data of 4,068 Ukrainian and foreign journalists who were reportedly accredited to work in the “People's Republic of Donetsk”. In particular, “Myrotvorets” published the names, phone numbers and addresses of journalists working in international media such as Reuters, AFP, Al Jazeera, BBC, Le Monde, etc.
|KKE MP Giorgos Lambroulis blacklisted by "Myrotvorets".|
Following severe criticism by journalist unions and human rights groups, as well as after launch of criminal case against the website's administrators, “Myrotvorets” was closed down. However, a few months later the site resumed its work and even updated its black-list of journalists and other persons.
“Being blacklisted on Peacemaker can have serious consequences, including the risk of being killed”, reads a report by Al Jazeera on August 29, 2019. It is characteristic that two pro-Russian figures – publicist Oles Buzina and legislator Oleh Kalashnikov – were shot dead in Kiev in April 2015, just days after “Myrotvorets” published their personal information, including home addresses.
The existence and operation of the Ukrainian black-list is not only a blatant violation of confidentiality, as it publishes personal information, but a threat to democracy and human rights. By targeting natural persons, exposing them publicly as “enemies of Ukraine”, the site maintains a potential “death list”. People who are listed on the site can end up dead, or can be subject to blackmail.
“From the above it becomes obvious that the specific list and the inclusion of Greek communists in it, is unacceptable and dangerous, raising the question: Does the Greek government know about its existence and the blatant targeting of KKE cadres? What does it say and what does it intend to do about it”, the report in “Rizospastis” concludes.
* Nikos Mottas is the Editor-in-Chief of In Defense of Communism.