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You're reading: A government of raiders

“Vsesvit” is an independent journal, with very limited resources acquired painstakingly from various grants, but with high and well-grounded ambitions: to promote world culture and literature in Ukrainian translations. I greatly respect all the people who work for “Vsesvit” – for a meager salary and symbolical royalties but also for an encouraging feeling of doing something good and important.

A few days ago, I learned that on April 26, a group of unidentified individuals broke into the “Vsesvit” office at the Hrushevsky Street, ironically located next to the Ukrainian parliament and Cabinet of Ministers and not very far from the President’s administration. The intruders demanded that Chief Editor Oleh Mykytenko vacate the premises and renounce his claim to the office legally owned by the Vsesvit Publishing Company. They behaved in an extremely rough fashion, tried to damage Vsesvit property, and threatened personnel with further repercussions if they did not step down. Some suggested they were acting on behalf of a certain Valeri Kharlim, an MP from the Party of Regions (little surprise), protected reportedly by the first vice Prime-Minister Valeri Khoroshkovsky. They argued they had their own documented claims to the Vsesvit property, which were apparently faked but convincing enough from the point of view of Ukraine’s thoroughly corrupted and subservient courts (

The story is hardly unique and certainly not the most eye-catching against the background of some other events in Ukraine that have recently drawn public attention. Whereas mass media discuss the alleged beating of Yulia Tymoshenko by prison guards and four mysterious blasts in Dnipropetrovsk, attributed to unspecified “terrorists,” the raiders’ attacks on property in Yanukovych’s Ukraine is a daily practice that evokes little international attention, except for the cases where foreign companies are involved and western embassies interfere.

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