Tetiana Chornovol

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This name uses Eastern Slavic naming customs; the patronymic is Mykolaivna and the family name is Chornovol.
Tetiana Chornovol
Тетя́на Чорново́л
Tatiana Chornovil (2012).JPG
Tetiana Chornovol in 2012.
People's Deputy of Ukraine
Incumbent
Assumed office
27 November 2014[1]
Personal details
Born Tetiana Mykolaivna Chornovol
(1979-06-04) 4 June 1979 (age 35)
Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Spouse(s) Mykola Berezovyi[2]
Residence Boryspil Raion, Kiev Oblast, Ukraine
Occupation Journalist

Tetiana Mykolayivna Chornovol (Ukrainian: Тетя́на Микола́ївна Чорново́л; born 4 June 1979, Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union) is a Ukrainian journalist and civic activist, and one of the leaders in the Euromaidan protest campaign.[3] She is famous for investigative reports about corruption in Ukraine, as well as for her adventurous direct actions.[4][5][6] In 2014, she was elected to the Verkhovna Rada.

On 25 December 2013, Chornovol was the victim of a much published and condemned severe beating.[3][4][7][8][9]

Biography[edit]

Tetiana Chornovol was born in Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union.[10] Her parents come from Cherkasy Oblast in central Ukraine.[11] Currently she lives in the Kiev suburb of Hora located in Boryspil Raion.[10]

Journalist career[edit]

Chornovol has been employed by or freelanced for many Ukrainian publications focusing on politics and corruption in Ukraine. She also reported from post-Soviet armed conflicts in which UNA-UNSO volunteers participated.

Investigative career[edit]

In 2004, she began specializing in investigative journalism, contributing to several Ukrainian online newspapers, including Ukrayinska Pravda,[4] Levyi Bereg[4] and Obozrevatel. Her focus topics are suspicious personal wealth of Ukrainian politicians, public servants, and businessmen, as well as their involvement in crime.

In 2008, a judgment was obtained from the High Court of Justice in London after Obozrevatel refused to retract false and libelous statements in articles by Chornovol[12] alleging that Rinat Akhmetov was connected to criminal activity and violence. Chornovol[12] had interviewed his former classmates and neighbors, and delved into his early years.[13] Following court pressure, Obozrevatel issued an official apology stating, "The editorial hereby admits that there was unchecked and false information about Rinat Akhmetov present in the … articles … We hereby give our apologies to Rinat Akhmetov for the problems resulting from the above-mentioned publications."[14][15] Chornovol refused to issue an apology or acknowledge any wrongdoing.[12]

Other articles by Chornovol addressed the alleged organized crime background of then-President Viktor Yanukovych and reported on his lavish countryside property.[4][5] According to a story in the New York Times, in August 2012 Chornovol "scaled the walls of Mr. Yanukovych’s then residential compound, which includes 345 acres of forested hills along the Dnieper River and is called 'Mezhyhirya' after the park where it is situated, and spent nearly three hours wandering the property and taking photographs before being detained by security".[5] Chornovol was the first investigative journalist researching Mezhyhirya; she started work on the topic in 2006.[16]

Recent investigations[edit]

Immediately before the attack on her, Chornovol made an on-site investigation of the suburban alleged property of Ukraine's Internal Affairs Minister (police chief) Vitaliy Zakharchenko and published a blog report with photos[9][17]) as well as those allegedly belonging to the country's General Prosecutor Viktor Pshonka. The material was mentioned in her conversations with editors and colleagues.[3][18]

Reacting to Chornovol's 25 December 2013 beating, Ukrayinska Pravda and Chornovol's husband announced that they "suspected each and every person whom Tetiana Chornovol wrote about" personally, including President Yanukovych, in "ordering that attack", until proven otherwise.[2][18]

Activism and politics[edit]

Chornovol comes from an ultra right political background: She joined the UNA-UNSO organization at age 17, and later began her media work there as a press secretary.[11] However, she soon became disillusioned with extremist politics, but remained committed to social activism.[citation needed]

Chornovol openly admits committing various petty crimes in the course of her political acts and investigations, including trespassing and defacing property (such as by spray painting and egg pelting), and encourages other activists to follow her lead in nonviolent resistance way.[19]

Long-term activist[edit]

Chornovol participated in all major patriotic/anti-corruption actions in Ukraine since late 1990s, including Ukraine without Kuchma (2001), the Orange Revolution (2004), the 2011 protests against Russian language use expansion, and Euromaidan protests. During "Ukraine without Kuchma" (while still with the UNA-UNSO), she handcuffed herself to the busy rails in the Kiev Passenger Railway Station with a fellow female protester.[11]

In 2011-2013, Chornovol participated in several risky protests against illegal land development, historical architecture destruction, and local government oppression in the city of Kiev, including the seizure of a tower crane over the Gostynyi Dvir[20] and occupying a high-rise cornice of the Kiev City Council assembly hall[4] (both by climbing). While she was climbing the crane, construction workers threw bricks at her but missed. She was removed from the council assembly hall cornice by firemen.[citation needed]

In the first week of Euromaidan, Chornovol, protected by bicycle helmet, was present near the van suspected of conducting covert surveillance of protest leaders, and immediately stormed it (by smashing the roof window with a cobblestone and jumping in) in order to prevent destruction of evidence. The automobile turned out to be a communications intelligence vehicle of the Security Service of Ukraine.[4]

On 1 December 2013, Chornovol was widely reported smashing windows at Kiev City Hall in the course of protesters' attempts to seize the building.[citation needed] As she later explained to journalist colleagues, storming and occupying city hall was necessary for warming activists from freezing temperatures (the building was used for this purpose from then on).[citation needed]

Unsuccessful election campaign[edit]

Chornovol unsuccessfully ran in the 2012 parliamentary election in the suburban Lviv Oblast constituency Horodok, representing the oppositional Batkivshchyna party.[4][5] She came second after non-partisan Yaroslav Dubnevych, Dubnevych who got 47.04% of the votes against Chornovol's 38.88%.[21] Among dirty methods applied by her opponents were rumours convincing peasant women that she was a witch.[citation needed] It is unclear whether Chornovol is an active member of the party or exerts any influence on its decisions.[citation needed]

25 December attack[edit]

In the early morning of 25 December 2013 at 01:30 AM Chornovol was severely beaten by a group of men who dragged her from her car near Boryspil International Airport in Boryspil outside Kiev.[4][7] The attack provoked massive outcry in Ukraine and around the globe.[3][8][9]

Chornovol's car was rammed off of the road by a Porsche Cayenne, and two assailants dragged her from her car, beat her, and threw her in a roadside ditch. The attack took place hours after Chernovol published an article on a posh suburban residence which she said was being built for Minister of Internal Affairs Vitaliy Zakharchenko.[22]

Chornovol was hospitalized with initial diagnosis of broken nose, concussion, and multiple bruises.[23]

Reaction[edit]

Euromaidan activists called for a picketing of the Ministry of Internal Affairs at 8 a.m., which hundreds attended, calling for Zakharchenko's resignation.[23][24][25]

In her 26 December bed-ridden interview, Chornovol stated that her investigations were the only possible reason for the attack on her, and dismissed suggestions that the attack was a result of either road rage or a false flag political provocation against authorities.[3]

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and U.S. embassy in Ukraine condemned the attack.[23] Opposition parties accused the authorities of being behind the attacks, while a statement from Olena Bondarenko of the Party of Regions categorized the attack as spontaneous violence caused by Euromaidan, and blamed the opposition.[26] According to the (then) governor of Kharkiv Oblast, Mykhailo Dobkin, the attack (that he compared to the Reichstag fire) had been organised by insiders.[27][nb 1]

Investigation[edit]

The driver of the car that rammed Chornovol off the road was arrested on 25 December 2013, who upon police questioning identified the other two attackers, one of whom was arrested.[28][29] In total five suspected attackers were detained by the Ukrainian police.[30] According to police investigator Mykola Chynchyn, one of the suspects formerly belonged to a criminal organization led by Viktor Rybalko; and added "The Klitschko brothers allegedly were closely involved in Rybalko's organization".[31] Chynchyn also stated that opposition lawmaker Mykola Knyazhytsky, Volodymyr Polochaninov and David Zhvania were connected to a suspect.[31] Serhiy Kotenko (a former co-owner of TVi) is a brother of one of the suspects.[31] Vitali Klitschko vehemently denied links to the suspects and stated that he would sue Chynchyn for slander, libel and defamation of character.[31]

Chornovol's husband characterized the incident as attempted murder, saying "she was beaten with the intent to kill", and accused police investigators of downplaying the legal status of the crime.[32] Chornovol believes the attack was ordered by president Viktor Yanukovych for her ongoing investigation into a new luxury mansion and palace he was building.[33]

Aftermath[edit]

Late on 25 December Chornovol was prepared for a series of reconstructive surgeries on her nose and right eye orbit, and was recovering from severe concussion.[3][34] By 30 December, Chornovol was transferred out of intensive care but remained in hospital due to severe hypersomnia.[32] On 7 January 2014, she was ready to be discharged from hospital, though still requiring outpatient treatment. However she refused to leave.[35] After the assault, Canadian physician Dr. Richard Hareychuk provided a first hand account of how he raised money for Chornovol through the Ukrainian community in Toronto, arranged for an interview for her on CBC radio from Ukraine, and traveled to meet her on 17 January 2014.[36]

On 21 February 2014, when Euromaidan protesters raided the Mezhyhirya presidential residence of Viktor Yanukovych, Euromaidian activists and investigators from Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project discovered "black lists" of journalists and activists involved in the oppositions, with an individual dossier on Chornovol, with photographs and the license plate of her car.[37]

Political career[edit]

On 5 March 2014, Chornovol was appointed head of Ukrainian government's National Anti-Corruption Committee by the Yatsenyuk Government.[38][39] She resigned on 18 August 2014. Chornovol said that "there is no political will in Ukraine to carry out a hard-edged, large-scale war against corruption."[40]

Chornovol became a founding member of the new party People's Front on 10 September 2014, 46 days before the 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election.[41][42] In this election she was elected into parliament as the runner up on the electoral list of People's Front, second to prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.[43][44][45]

Private life[edit]

Chornovol is a widowed mother of two. Her husband, Mykola Berezovyi,[2] a volunteer fighter in the Azov Battalion, was killed on 10 August 2014 during the fighting in eastern Ukraine.[46][47] Chornovol and her husband met at a political rally. Their younger child was born in October 2010.[16]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Dobkin's full response was: "Why should modern day Nazis set fire to the Reichstag, when they can sort things out by thrashing anything up to ten local activists who have figured in the media? Typically, the only Maidan activists that get beaten up are those whose work for the community is funded from abroad".[27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ CEC registers 357 newly elected deputies of 422, National Radio Company of Ukraine (25 November 2014)
    Parliament to form leadership and coalition on November 27, UNIAN (26 November 2014)
  2. ^ a b c "У побитті Тетяни винен хтось із фігурантів її розслідувань – чоловік Чорновол" [One of the subjects of her investigations is responsible for the attack]. RFE (in Ukrainian). 28 December 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Ukrainian crisis: December 25". Levyi Bereg. 25 December 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Profile: Tetyana Chornovol". BBC World News. 25 December 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d Herszenhorn, David M. (25 December 2013). "Journalist Is Beaten in Latest Attack on Ukrainian Opposition". New York Times. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  6. ^ Marson, James; Gorchinskaya, Katya (25 December 2013). "Ukrainian Activist Reporter Hospitalized After Beating". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Aslamshoyeva, Zarifmo (26 December 2013). "Ukrainian civic activist and journalist beaten outside Kiev". cnn.com (CNN). Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Евросоюз надеется на всестороннее расследование избиения Чорновол" [European Union hopes for thorough investigation of Chornovol assault]. Levyi Bereg (in Ukrainian). 25 December 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c "US Condemns Beating of Ukrainian Journalist Tetyana Chornovil". ABC News. 26 Dec 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Чорновол Тетяна Миколаївна — Вибори народних депутатів України 2012". cvk.gov.ua (in Ukrainian). Central Election Commission of Ukraine. 2012. Archived from the original on 28 December 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c Cheremnykh, Vira (February 2011). "Тетяна Чорновол: справедливість — ремесло і доля" [Tetiana Chornovol: Justice is Craft and Destiny]. Журналіст України (in Ukrainian) (National Journalists' Union of Ukraine). Retrieved 27 December 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c Grytsenko, Oksana (12 January 2012). "Investigative journalist runs for parliament to fight corruption". Kyiv Post. 
  13. ^ Lavrov, Vlad (11 February 2011). "Libel Warriors". Kyiv Post. Retrieved 25 January 2012. 
  14. ^ "Ахметов выиграл суд у Интернет-издания. Ответчик удивлен" [Akhmetov wins libel case against internet site. Defendant surprised by verdict.]. Фокус (Focus.ua) (in Russian). 15 January 2008. 
  15. ^ "Официальное извинение Ринату Ахметову" [Official apology to Rinat Akhmetov] (in Russian). Obozrevatel. Obozrevatel agreed to pay $100,000 to a charitable foundation of Akhmetov's choosing as compensation for the false statements Obozrevatel had published on 19 and 26 January 2007 
  16. ^ a b Таня Чорновіл: "Фактично з усіма я маю погані стосунки!" [Tanya Chornovil interview]. Medianyanya (in Ukrainian) (Kiev). 16 September 2010. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  17. ^ Chornovol, Tetiana (24 December 2013). Тут живе кат! Маєток міністра МВС Віталія Захарченка [Hangman lives here] (in Ukrainian). Ukrayinska Pravda. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  18. ^ a b Люди, яких ми підозрюємо в замовленні [People]. Ukrayinska Pravda (in Ukrainian). 25 December 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  19. ^ Chornovol, Tetiana (12 December 2013). Юлі -Волю на фасаді офісу Партії Регіонів. Для гарячих голів: фарба класна психологічна зброя [Party of Regions] (in Ukrainian). Ukrayinska Pravda. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  20. ^ Трое активистов заблокировали кран на реконструкции Гостиного двора (фото) [Three activists]. UNIAN (in Russian). 26 May 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  21. ^ (Ukrainian) Results in constituency 120 in the 2012 parliamentary election, Central Election Commission of Ukraine
  22. ^ [1][dead link]
  23. ^ a b c "Outrage in Ukraine after brutal attack on opposition reporter". Telegraph. Agence France-Presse. 25 December 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  24. ^ "Из-за избиения Черновил утром начнется пикетирование МВД : Новости УНИАН". Unian.net. 2013-12-25. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  25. ^ "Под Борисполем неизвестные избили журналистку Татьяну Чорновил (обновлено, фото) : Новости УНИАН". Unian.net. 2013-12-25. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  26. ^ "Кого підозрюють у побитті Тетяни Чорновол?". Insider. 2013-12-25. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  27. ^ a b Ukraine’s point of no return, openDemocracy.net (29 December 2013)
  28. ^ "Three attackers on journalist Chornovol identified, one of them arrested, say sources". En.interfax.com.ua. 25 December 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  29. ^ "Two arrests reported in Chornovol beating (VIDEOS) (UPDATED)". Kyivpost.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  30. ^ "Court arrests fifth suspect in attack on journalist Chornovol, says Interior Ministry". Interfax-Ukraine. 28 December 2013. 
  31. ^ a b c d "Police implicate, link Klitschko brothers, other opposition members to Chornovol beating suspects (UPDATE)". Kyiv Post. 27 December 2013. 
  32. ^ a b Чорновол перевели из реанимации в обычную палату [Chornovol out of intensive care]. Levyi Bereg (in Russian). 30 December 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  33. ^ Rudenko, Olga (19 January 2014). "Chornovol: Yanukovych is building 'Mezhyhirya 2'". Kyivpost.com. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  34. ^ "Koshkina FB on Chornovol health". Facebook. 25 December 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  35. ^ "Beaten journalist Chornovol ready to be discharged from hospital, says Health Ministry". En.interfax.com.ua. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  36. ^ "Dr. Hareychuk's mission to Tetyana Chornovol". YouTube. 2014-01-26. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  37. ^ Katya Gorchinskaya (2014-02-22). "Tanyan Chornovol and her car in #Mezhyhirya docs". Twitter. Retrieved 2014-02-22. 
  38. ^ "Ukraine Corruption Probes a Warning to Future Leaders". Institute for War and Peace Reporting. 9 April 2014. 
  39. ^ "Chornovol appointed commissioner of anti-corruption policy". Espreso TV. 6 March 2014. 
  40. ^ "Governmental commissioner for combating corruption Chornovol resigns". Kyiv Post. 18 August 2014. 
  41. ^ "Яценюк очолив політраду "Народного фронту", Турчинов - голова штабу" [Yatsenyuk became a leader of the "People's Front" political council, while Turchynov is a head of its headquarters]. Ukrayinska Pravda (in Ukrainian). 10 September 2014. 
  42. ^ "Ukraine President Poroshenko Calls Snap General Election". Bloomberg News. 25 August 2014. 
  43. ^ "Чорновол Тетяна Миколаївна" [Tetiana Mykolyivna Chornovol] (in Ukrainian). Verkhovna Rada website. 
  44. ^ "Full electoral list of "Fatherland"". TVi. 15 September 2014. 
  45. ^ "Electoral list of People's Front". Ukrayinska Pravda. 20 September 2014. 
  46. ^ Chornovol, Tetiana (12 August 2014). "The final goodbye to my Mykola — tomorrow". Euromaidan Press. 
  47. ^ Luhn, Alec; and agencies (11 August 2014). "Russia to send humanitarian convoy into Ukraine in spite of warnings". The Guardian. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Tetiana Chornovol at Wikimedia Commons