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Political consultant Volodymyr Petrov threatens Natalia Lyhachova

23.10.2023, 18:08

Political consultant Volodymyr Petrov threatened Natalia Lyhachova, the "Detector Media" chief editor, with "punishment" which he will decide on himself.

He said this on his YouTube channel "Radio Islandiya" in response to her critical remarks at the sixth National Media Talk conference, "Detector Media" reports.

In her speech, Lyhachova noted: "The fact that the NCTRB licensed Islandiya' is nonsense. They are the political consultants working for the President's Office, who have no place in any telethons, on YouTube, or anywhere. Vova Petrov is the one who was once bringing titushkas to the Maidan, who beat up Olya Snitsarchuk from Channel 5, he is the one who promoted a bunch of black technologies, and now he works for the President's Office. I am very surprised why no one is telling Bankova St. that this is just a disgrace."

For these statements, Petrov threatened Lyhachova with a "punishment" that he would determine himself.

"Lyhachova – I'm warning right away – she will be punished," Petrov said.

"As prescribed by law," his co-host Serhiy Ivanov tried to clarify.

"No, I will be deciding how she will be punished," Petrov objected.

"I do not demand an apology. Before, when she was saying that, I didn't give a damn. Now consider that I have set the rule. In other words, Lyhachova will be punished, this is out of the question," Petrov said (the original vocabulary has been preserved) and added that "he would have let it slip if she hadn't run away."

The episode in the video starts at 46:00

He also stated that Ukrainians who left the country during the full-scale war should have their rights limited and journalists who left do not have the right to "teach the rest how to live".

"All those who fled should be deprived of certain rights. Limitation of rights. That's it," said Petrov.

He also clarified how exactly Lyhachova and all others who left Ukraine and are now expressing their opinion may be punished, recalling the incident with Taras Chornovil.

"I am ready to speak and argue with those who stayed in Kyiv. But any skank who fled – any businessman, journalist, politician, I don't give a f***k – and now comes and tells us how to live, will be punished. For anyone trying to imagine that, remember what happened to Taras Chornovil a few months ago," Petrov said.

On June 13, ex-deputy Taras Chornovil was doused with green pigment in Kyiv and thrown into a garbage bin.

IMI lawyer Roman Holovenko pointed out the fact that at the end of the video, Serhiy Ivanov appealed to Volodymyr Petrov to end his speech and stop with the threats. That is, even his colleague on the air perceived these words as threats.

The lawyer also noted that the Law of Ukraine "On Media" states: "It is prohibited to distribute... statements that incite discrimination or oppression against individuals or groups of individuals based on their ethnic or social background, citizenship, nationality, race, religion and beliefs, age, sex, sexuality, gender identity, disability or on other grounds on the territory of Ukraine, in the media or on video-sharing platforms..." (Clause 3, Part 1, Article 36).

"The issue of the women and children, who mostly fled due to the full-scale invasion, returning from abroadis particularly acute. That is, the talk about restricting the rights of Ukrainian migrants in the media is questionable not just from a legal point of view, but also in terms of pure rationality, if we take into account the demographic crisis."

Danylo Popkov, a lawyer at the "Zmina" Human Rights Center, explained that Petrov's remarks about Natalia Lyhachova fall under Article 345-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine: threats or violence against a journalist.

According to him, since Lyhachova's words about Petrov's activities, which he threatened her for, were said in public, they can be interpreted as journalistic activity, and therefore are covered by the article.

"This article covers threats of any violence against journalists. The mention of the incident with Taras Chornovil, who was thrown into a garbage bin, can be interpreted as a threat of violence. Therefore, I would advise to contact the police with a statement about a crime," explained the lawyer.

The media outlet recalled that during Viktor Yanukovych's presidency, Volodymyr Petrov was organizing campaigns against the opposition. For example, in May 2013, the protesters at the rally "Stand Up, Ukraine!" were approached an armored personnel carrier, and the activists and journalists were attacked by hired young men, one of whom was Vadym Titushko. Volodymyr Petrov initially admitted that he had rented the car for the campaign. Now it denies it.

In December 2021, Petrov became one of the presenters on the overhauled state channel "Rada". However, he was officially suspended on the second day after comparing Angela Merkel to a pig. At that time, journalist and blogger Serhiy Ivanov announced that he would stop working with "Rada" if Petrov was suspended, but did not act on this promise. Yet three days later, Petrov was back on the air of "Rada" as an expert together with the host Ivanov.

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