Who influences media outlets of Zaporizhzhia?
Local holdings of small and large entrepreneurs
Zaporizhzhia = ‘Zaporizhstal’
The mayor of Zaporizhzhia Volodymyr Buriak combined in his toolbox the communal media outlets, which are under his direct control due to his mayoral mandate, and media assets of the plant “Zaporizhstal”, as he used to be a member of the enterprise’ top management.
The plant’s own media asset is one of the most popular local TV channels, “TV-5,” which is wholly owned by the CJSC “Zaporizhstal”. Due to the plant’s complex ownership structure, the final beneficiaries turned out to be the individuals: Rinat Akhmetov and Vadym Novynsky. Although, their fractions together still amount to less than a half of the TV channel’s shares – 35.2% and 10.53% correspondingly. Most of the ownership is hidden in offshores: J.K. Eastrade Limited (Bahama Islands), Global Steels Investment LTD (Great Britain), and Mid Properties Investments Limited (Cyprus).
Also, when Buriak became mayor, the municipal channel “Kanal Z” (the communal enterprise “MTM”) came under his control. This communal enterprise was founded by Zaporizhzhia city council, and is managed by the director Ludmyla Maryniuk.
Another media outlet passed into the mayor’s control along with his new powers and authority – the newspaper “Zaporozka Sich.” The newspaper’s editorial office, too, is a communal enterprise, founded by Zaporizhzhia city council.
The newspaper “Panorama” can also be qualified as “Zaporizhstal”s asset. LLC “Editorial office of the newspaper “Industrialnoe Zaporozhie” is the media outlet’s founder. The editorial office was founded by the journalists Hryhoriy Petrakov, Natalia Kuzmenko, Iryna Yehorova, Anatoliy Kharytonov, and Tamara Horbachova. Among its founders, there also is LLC “Divata Group”, whose final owner is Ruslan Boychuk – the head of the legal department CJSC “Zaporizhstal”, a member of Zaporizhzhia oblast council from the “Opposition Bloc”.
Serhiy Uzhva is a Zaporizhzhia-based entrepreneur. He is an owner of LLC “Global Media Holding”, which, among other assets, includes the channel “TV-Gold”, “Radio Try” and the websites “Holos” and “Mriya”, the newspaper “Ostriv Svobody”, and the promotional newspaper “Gorod na ladoniakh.” All of them are owned by the entrepreneur and politician Serhiy Uzhva.
The channel “TV-Gold” has two founders: besides Uzhva, there is also Tetiana Oliynyk. According to its ownership structure, “Radio Try” (line radio) is wholly owned by Serhiy Uzhva through LLC “Mizhnarodna Pravova Grupa Ukraina”. The LLC’s other co-founder is Anastasia Skliaruk, who is also mentioned in the ownership structure of the company “Terra Gelios”, which operates in the sphere of real estate and is owned by Serhiy Uzhva.
The editorial office of the website “Golos” confirmed on IMI’s request it belongs to the holding, as neither the register of printed media outlets, nor the register of legal entities contained any data on this company. And “Mriya” is a separate legal entity, obviously because the edition was published as a newspaper. LLC “Mriya Nova” also is owned by Serhiy Uzhva.
Another media organization founded by LLC “Global Media Holding” is the Charitable foundation “Supproting Fund for Journalists of Zaporizhzhia”. It is run by Oleh Chernov and Yuri Hudymenko.
Oleh Chernov and Yuri Hudymenko together created a new media outlet – the website “Forpost” (forpost.media). The media community assesses this resource as engaged in interests of the Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc.
“He is not a councilmember, but he participates in different political campaigns”, – was the description a regional IMI representative in Zaporizhzhia gave him. The Central Election Commission databse does have an entry for Serhiy Yevhenovych Uzhva, who in 2004 supported Victor Yushchenko, in 2007 ran for Parliament from the Party “Ludmyla Suprun’s Electoral Bloc – Ukrainian Regional Asset (URA)”, and in 2015 was the secretary of Zaporizhzhia City Electoral Commission under the quota of the All-Ukrainian Union “Batkivshchyna”.
Media of “Motor Sich”
The TV channel “Aleks” is firmly associated with the enterprise “Motor Sich” and its president, People’s Deputy Viacheslav Bohuslayev (the parliamentary group “Volia Narodu”). But the aircraft-building enterprise not obvious in the ownership structure of LLC “TV and Radio Company “Aleks”. Its listed sole proprietor is Andriy Kononenko, and its structure’s diagram looks like a web of offshore companies.
Andriy Kononenko is a co-owner of LLC “Garant Invest”, which participates in the structure of CJSC “Motor Bank”. The financial institution has direct links to the “Motor Sich” enterprises – the corresponding joint-stock company and insurance company. This shows the indirect connection between the “Aleks” channel’s official owner and Viacheslav Bohuslayev.
There is one more media outlet associated with “Motor Sich” – the newspaper “Positsia”. Its publisher is LLC “Media Partner”. This company’s founders are CJSC “Motor Sich” and the insurance company “Motor Garant”.
Independent and state-owned
The Zaporizhzhia oblast TV company “Zaporizhzhia” and the similarly-named radio station are offices of the regional directorate of CJSC “National Public TV and Radio Company of Ukraine”.
A lot of journalists from a different public media outlet used to work for a state-owned TV channel. “Hromadske TB Zaporizhzhia” is registered as an NGO. Its founders are the media outlet’s chief Taras Bilka and lawyer Volodymyr Zinchyk.
The editorial office of the newspaper “MIG” has been following a democratic model for a longer time. The LLC “Newspaper “MIG” was founded by the NGO “Journalist Organization of Newspaper “MIG” and Yuri Artemenko – one of the newspaper’s first editors, and currently the head of the National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting. In its turn, the NGO “Journalist organization of the newspaper “MIG” was founded by the media outlet’s management: director Hennadiy Deribas, editor Halyna Stitsyna and financier Olha Nezhalska.
The exceptions only prove the rules. That is why those several websites in Zaporizhzhia, whose ownership can be identified, only accentuate how non-transparent local online media outlets are.
The situation is the simplest with the owner of the website of the city of Zaporizhzhia (061.ua) as the website is a part of the City Sites network co-owned by Fedir Zhukov. In Zaporizhzhia, it is even more evident as the website’s domain is registered to him personally.
The website “Zabor” (zabor.zp.ua) is believed to be owned by its editor-in-chief Kostiantyn Alekseyenko. But this information is not available on the website, it was something Kostiantyn said in an inetrview to a different media outlet. The website has no apparent political associations.
The website IPNews (ipnews.zp.ua) was founded by NGO "Anti-Corruption Commission”, which has nine founders: Petro Babin, Mykola Barzion, Ruslan Vasyliev, Vladyslav Hrabovsky, Ihor Zvirko, Yevhen Kotelevets, Hennadiy Pashchenko, Leonid Petrashyn and Hennadiy Furdiy. Vladyslav Hrabovsky is also believed to have links to the media holding “Reporter”. He is connected to Furdiy through LLC “Eldorado-Service”.
LLC “Media holding “Reporter” is the founder of the media outlet “Reporter Zaporizhzhia” (reporter-ua.com). The register entry for the holding lists Serhiy Kotlyarov as its owner. When asked by a journalist from the newspaper “Subota Plus,” Viacheslav Anisimov said Kotlyarov is a relative of his. Anisimov was believed to be involved with the Yanukovych's clan as a local overseer persecuting businesses and running shady schemes during the Yanukovych’s rule. Anisimov is currently under an investigation; he was arrested but later was released from custody. Zaporizhzhia media community believes that the head of the oblast state administration Kostiantyn Bryl enjoys influence over the media outlet “Reporter”.
The website “Panoptikon” (panoptikon.org) is also believed to serve at the pleasure of the head of the oblast state administration. The website specifies that the project leader is Illia Bey, journalist and former official of the internal policy department of Zaporizhzhia city council.
The website “Pershy Zaporizky” (1news.zp.ua) is believed to have links to “Opposition Bloc”. But we found no legal confirmation of its ownership.
The website “Vmeste” (vmestezp.org) is believed to have links to the activist of the Radical Party of Oleh Liashko in Zaporizhzhia Yuri Khokhlov. The register of printed media outlets contains information about “Zaporizhzhia informational and analytical portal “VMESTE”. Yevheniy Oleksandrovych Hiots is listed as its founder.
The website “Aktsent Zaporizhzhia” was founded by the LLC “Civil and Political Portal “Aktsent””, whose founder and owner, according to the state register, is Mykhailo Shatkyi from Dnipro.
The website “Antikor Zaporozhie” was created by LLC “Antikor Zaporizhzhia”. Its founder and head is Dmytro Marchenko. In April 2016, Marchenko took charge of the Anti-corruption Commission under Zaporizhzhia oblast state administration, and the media outlet “Nashi Hroshi” published a research, which illuminated Marchenko’s connections to dubious communal contractors.
We failed to find any hints to actual owners of the websites “Vsia Vlast”, “Zanoza”, “Vremia novostey”.
Analysis was prepared by Zoya Krasovska, IMI, supported by the Ukrainian Confidence Building Initiative (UCBI), and funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).