Kyiv Post Editorial: Misguided rage

Despite declaring himself cardinally different from his predecessors, President Volodymyr Zelensky has something in common with all of them: His sour relationship with the press.

As Zelensky marked his first year since taking office on May 20 with a press conference, it became clear that he is not accepting criticism and investigative journalism when it targets his circle. Sure, it’s not exactly news. Zelensky and his allies have had a somewhat negative attitude toward traditional journalism since the start of his election campaign early in 2019. They showed that they prefer talking to the public through eye-grabbing videos and social media to interacting with journalists.

But it now seems that the president’s disregard for journalists solidified during his first year in office. At the press conference, he criticized and mocked journalists who confronted him with challenging questions. It prompted some media outlets to make statements condemning his demeanor.

It looked familiar enough. Zelensky seems to be taking lessons from his predecessor Petro Poroshenko and his phone pal Donald Trump. At least Zelensky’s not tweeting. But it would be one thing if Zelensky’s annoyance with independent journalists was just that — some verbal intemperance.

But the president, consumed with irritation, is missing out on some real threats to Ukraine that are coming from the state of the media. Days before the ungraceful press conference, one statement should have attracted Zelensky’s attention.

During a discussion at the Kyiv Security Forum, held online on May 15 due to COVID-19 quarantine restrictions, ex-Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin controls half of Ukraine’s television channels. As shocking as it sounds, it’s not far from the truth.

Three TV channels that are talking about Ukrainian politics non-stop — 112, NewsOne, and ZIK — belong to Taras Kozak, a lawmaker with the pro-Russian Opposition Platform party. He’s a close associate of Viktor Medvedchuk, an unofficial representative of Putin in Ukraine, who has been openly propagating a pro-Russian vector for the country for many years. Kozak’s low-key persona and the TV channels’ agenda have led many to believe that Putin’s friend is the real owner of the influential media holding — something that both Kozak and Medvedchuk deny.

None of this is a secret for Zelensky.

If the president is so preoccupied with journalists, he could just as well direct his irritation at curbing the influence of the media affiliated with Russia and pro-Russian interests in Ukraine. We are treading into the territory of predictable metaphors, but it’s hard to imagine a Nazi Germany-funded radio station airing in the U.S. in 1944. In Ukraine in 2020, all of the major pro-Russian media outlets received accreditation to the president’s “limited-attendance” press conference and were allowed questions.

Ending the vile and propagandistic media influence of Russia is a matter of survival for Ukraine. It is as important as stopping the actual fighting in the Donbas, and a way to prevent proxy attacks by Russia in the future. The Russian media mold the minds of Ukrainians, preparing them to act and vote the way that is best for Russia — not Ukraine. The president should recognize it and focus on protecting the country from Russia rather than protecting himself from journalists


  1. Unfortunately KP is owned by an Assad buddy, thus the Trump bashing (anti-US kick) does not surprise. Ukraine needs the US more than ever to keep the invaders at bay.

    • It definitely cannot survive without the US. But it will never thrive unless the US takes the decisive action that we all know off by heart that is necessary to extirpate the threat from the rodent.
      The owner, Adnan Kivan, is Syrian, but he’s no pal of Asshat. From his FB page last year:
      ‘It has been 8 years since the beginning of the Syrian Revolution. As a result, around 1 million people killed, 3.5 million casualties, and more than 12 million refugees. Syrian infrastructure is damaged beyond repair and by the current world’s standings, Syria has become one of the poorest nations in the world. Despite these problems, I am 100% confident that one day, we as the Syrian people will rise and build our country to a brighter future; a country filled with justice and democracy. We will bring joy and happiness to every Syrian women, mother, and child. For centuries to come, all the Syrians will be free from repressive feudalism.’
      I think it is clear that editor Brian Bonner is a Dem. However, since 2016, Trump has made a series of disparaging remarks about Ukraine, endorsed the occupation of Crimea and constantly praised putler. The help that Ukraine has received is down to senior people in the GOP, not Trump.
      How would you feel if you were Ukrainian and the president of the United States sent a large consignment of ventilators and other specialist medical equipment to Russia, but not to its victims?

        • True! Although he might well be indulging in an ass-covering exercise there.
          What can be confirmed is that he has invested big time in Ukraine, particularly Odessa and provides employment to thousands of Ukrainians.
          I would guess that he acquired the KP as a means to gain influence for his construction companies, as you or I might have done in similar circumstances.

      • Ukraine still has the situation under control, has relatively few Corona cases. Giving humanitarian aid to ordinary ruskies during a global crisis is not treason, while blocking Nordstream 2 and quitting treaties with RuSSia.

        • Redders, we have covered this one before : he did indeed do so in his interview with George Stepanopoulos in 2016. I would also refer you to Kurt Volker’s remarks about private conversations with Trump.
          Trump has never criticized putler for Crimea or Donbas. Not one word about illegal occupation or mass murder: only groveling praise. You will find also that he immediately jumped to putler’s defence when Salisbury happened. Later he switched position.
          His record on putler and Ukraine is terrible. On China: good but inconsistent. On the Norks: again piss poor.

          • I wish he would be more critical publicly too but I’m glad he screwing Putin privately and behind the scenes. You’re a very clever guy and should see that. The same way with Kim. At least they’re talking instead of firing missiles. He says he gets along with Xi too but privately puts him over a barrel. Yeah I wish he’d send in a hundred A-10s and scatter the rats but little Putin is helpless against Trump’s foreign policy to bleed him out by taking his military sales, his gas sales, his oil sales, raising money for NATO, training Ukraine, tons of money for Ukraine, more sanctions against Putler and tons of military assistance for Ukraine. If he really liked Putin why would he do all that? Oh that’s right, he does all that because the Republicans told him too…..hogwash….fortunately or unfortunately nobody tells Trump what to do.

            • I can only go on the words that come out of his mouth and they are not good. However, as I said to Mike recently, regardless of whether Biden or Trump wins, the Donbas stalemate will continue for another 4 years. At that point I hope it will be Rubio running things.
              From the standpoint of the wellbeing of the global economy and the response to the chicoms, I would still be supporting Trump in the election if I was a seppo.

  2. I had been against Zelensky all along and so were most of the Ukrainians that I know. His bad attitude towards the country was a warning to all who could clearly think as to what sort of filthy troll he really is. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian people have voted an undercover monster as their president, whose ugly visage is being exposed, hopefully, to even the most politically blinded persons.

    Ukraine’s TV President Is Dangerously Pro-Russian

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