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Ukraine: a printing firm refused to print Zaporizhzhia newspaper because of criticism of Yanukovych’s lieutenant

06.07.2012, 22:50
In Zaporizhzhia, publishing office Keramist refused to print the newspaper Subbota Plus (Saturday Plus) as long as it contains materials that irk local businessman Yevhen Anisimov.

Editor-in-chief of Subbota Plus Bohdan Vasylenko said executive director of the printing house Keramist Serhiy Nasonov invited him to the office on 25 June and directly said the printers will not publish the newspaper as long as it runs materials that the businessman Yevhen Anisimov does not approve of.

“I was given to understand in no uncertain terms that unless we stop running materials “disliked” by the local businessman Yevgen Anisimov, who is locally known as “overseer”, [an informal but powerful controller appointed by incumbent authority to keep eye on the regional matters],  he would not have the newspaper printed. He said we are free to sue him, seek compensation, but the newspaper will be closed anyway,” said Vasylenko.

After the conversation, to keep the periodical running the chief editor deleted some information about Anisimov.

"Because we were unprepared for such a turn of events at the time.  However, we began to gear up for confrontation in the meantime,” Vasylenko said.

After that he wrote an article about attempts to close the newspaper and putting pressure on the editorial staff and sent the materials to print. In response, the newspaper received several letters from the Keramist with requests to postpone printing of the newspaper.

On 4 July, Vasylenko received a letter about suspension of printing of the newspaper.  It was followed by another one, signed by acting chief director A. Nehora, which said “we are ready to print the newspaper if the article, which contains dubious information about the Keramist printing house is rectified.

Since the editorial staff of the newspaper cannot count on local authorities and law enforcers, they ask colleagues for help. Subbota Plus looks for another firm to print the paper even if it is “on an opposite border of the country.” Editor-in-chief Vasylenko says he is going to take a legal action against the Keramist for the refusal to print the publication.

According to local Internet media, Yevhen Anisimov, born 1975, is known under the nick-name Anisim in Zaporizhzhia and Dniepropetrovsk criminal world. He runs one of the biggest criminal gangs in town, closely cooperating with law enforcing bodies. The cover helps him conduct raider attacks and unfriendly re-distribution of spheres of influence in the region. In private conversations, Anisimov hints at close acquaintance with the president of Ukraine V. Yanukovych and the MP Y. Ivashchenko, known as “Yura Yenakievskiy.”. Unofficially he is considered a person appointed on behalf of Yanukovych to watch over the region, so called smotriashchiy or “local overseer” in criminal slang.
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