On December 20, during public discussion about the budget of the city, city mayor of Oleksandriya (Kirovohradska oblast), Stepan Tsapiuk accused a well-known blogger Ruslan Havrylov of tax evasion. This was reported by IMI representative in Kirovohradska oblast.
As a proof of his words, the official provided data on income of the blogger. In addition, in his speech Tsapiuk threatened the blogger (who was present at the event) to address the prosecutor’s office and the department of economy protection of the National Police.
“I would understand if this information was just about myself, but the city mayor started discussing my family, my mother-in-law whom I am looking after. This is above all limits of adequacy”, Havrylov commented the situation.
On December 21, at the meeting of executive committee, Stepan Tsapiuk repeated his complaints about the blogger’s incomes, and added: “Google pays him monthly … for the likes he gets. It is a family business – father, daughter, himself and his wife, in a cirlce”.
The blogger emphasizes that these were not the first attacks from the city mayor he gets. As IMI representative pointed out, in 2017 Stepan Tsapiuk several times violated the rights of journalists for access to information, conducting not only press conferences, but also public events with presence of only pro-governmental mass media.
In his comment for IMI, Ruslan Havrylov said that the conflict with the mayor lasts for four years already, since he founded his blog “Moya Oleksandriya”.
“He is biased to me as a journalists. He thinks that all I write, I write to harm him. Why he thinks that, I cannot explain. If you review my materials, they are rather moderate in general. I do not give an evaluation of something often, I give just the facts. If my criticism was not baseless, probably they could make a case in the court out of it. He tried to sue me two years ago. On two materials, he filed court claim, and for those two materials the court judged the complaints baseless”, the blogger said.
He added that because of his professional activities, his relatives face pressure. His wife had to quit her public service job after an official investigation of her husband’s incomes was started. The mayor now does not allow her to quit, he wants to officially fire her based on some bylaw article to make it harder for her to find a new job.