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    July 21, 2016

    The Savchenko-Sheremet Provocation: Who's Next?

    July 21, 2016 - 
    By Eduard Popov for Fort Russ
    Translated by J. Arnoldski

    On July 20th in Kiev, the famous journalist from Russia living in Ukraine, Pavel Sheremet was killed when his car was blown up. Sheremet was a consistently anti-Russian journalist who openly supported the punitive operation in Donbass. He had no sympathy for the murdered Kiev journalist Oles Buzina who was an object of hate among Ukrainian neo-Nazis. Moreover, Sheremet spoke warmly about Andrey Biletsky, the leader of the Azov regiment, one of the most outright Nazi formations in Ukraine which was born out of the depths of the Social National Assembly and “Patriot of Ukraine” organizations which openly profess Nazi ideology. Sheremet predicted a great political future for Biletsky and considered him to be the only one who could carry the weight of governing Ukraine on his shoulders.

    Back in March, 2014 I coincidentally made the same forecast. I believed then, as I do now, that Biletsky will become the leader of a new Nazi Maidan and could become the “Fuhrer” of a new Ukraine. But is an open Nazi heading a European state even possible? Look at Hashim Thaci who heads the “state” of Kosovo created by the Americans. 

    Sheremet’s unabashed sympathy for Biletsky has drawn many observers to suggest the theory that this journalist was killed because he so zealously promoted the “white Fuhrer” (Biletsky’s nickname) and opposed the ruling Kiev regime. I myself am drawn to this version. Other experts (such as Artur Priymak, who is well known among the journalistic community of Ukraine) have voiced a different theory in which the Sheremet’s death is to be used as a pretext for accusations against Russia. One of the arguments therein concerns his common-law wife, Alena Pritula, the editor of Ukrainian Pravda (the publication that supported the first and second Maidans in Ukraine). By a strange coincidence, Pritula was also the common-law wife of Georgy Gongadze, the popular journalist whose mysterious death became the occasion for mass protests against President Kuchma, the first Maidan.

    Artur Priymak has drawn attention to many coincidences in the deaths of both journalists. These deaths were both needed as pretexts. Thus, in Priymak’s opinion, both Gongadze and Sheremet were “sacred victims.” Although the Gongadze case was never solved, it is most likely that he was killed by those who organized the first Maidan. Accusing President Kuchma of his murder goes against all common sense and blaming Russia for Sheremet’s death is even more ridiculous. But it is none other than these accusations which have been voiced. 

    The head of the National Police of Ukraine, Khatiya Dekanoidze, put forth the theory that this crime had a “Russian trace” immediately after she arrived at the scene of Sheremet’s death. This statement leaves the alternative: Dekanoidze drew such a categorial conclusion after a first glance at the scene of the crime due to her lack of professionalism. Or her statement and “conclusion” were prepared beforehand.

    A statement by another representative of Ukraine’s police authorities speaks in favor of the second theory. Advisor to the head of the Interior Ministry of Ukraine and deputy of the Verkhovna Rada, Anton Gerashchenko, stated that a “Russian trace” could be involved in the murder of Pavel Sheremet. He also accused the pilgrims of the Procession for Peace, Prayer, and Love in Ukraine, i.e., unarmed women, children, and the elderly who marched in a procession with icons to Kiev, of terrorism. Gerashchenko is not a professional police officer, but, nevertheless, he has given the same statement and no one has called him on it. His words even represent an interference in the course of the investigation.

    Another advisor to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Zoryan Shkiryak, has called the three possible main motives of the murder professional activism, personal hostility, or a “Russian trace.” This is a more clever move, but Shkiryak nonetheless also gives away the plans of the Ukrainian authorities: under the guise of objectivity, they are blaming Russia for the journalist’s murder. In his time, Sheremet did not attract even the slightest sympathy, especially after he called for the residents of Donbass to be killed. But no experts in Russia have expressed any Schadenfreude over his death, while it is Ukrainian journalists that openly rejoice upon the death of their Russian counterparts. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia has expressed condolences to Sheremet’s family and accused Kiev of creating a situation in the country in which journalists are subject to murder

    Anti-Russian circles in Ukraine and Belarus are already striving to noisily advertise Sheremet’s death. Pro-Western Belarusian opposition figures (Sheremet was born in Belarus) have declared him to be a victim of Putin just like Boris Nemtsov. But what does Sheremet’s death give Ukrainians? Perhaps in this case, Ukraine has obtained what it couldn’t get in the case of Nadezhda Savchenko, who was convicted in Russia for the murder of two Russian journalists in Donbass. The Poroshenko regime and Ukrainian Nazis needed Savchenko dead and, moreover, dead in Russia. But Savchenko was pardoned by President Putin and returned home. Thus, a new sacred victims was needed. Sheremet, who hated Russia even more than he loved Ukraine, fit this role perfectly. 

    The next step by the Ukrainian authorities and Ukrainian neo-Nazis will be provocations against the Peace Procession. They are already accusing its participants of terrorism, and next they’ll charge them with being tied to Russian special services. We will discuss this in our next article. 

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