Since the beginning of the Ukrainian government's prosecution of Viktor Medvedchuk, Chairman of the Political Council of Opposition Platform - For Life party, his wife Oksana Marchenko and other certain opposition politicians and independent TV channels (112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZiK), leading foreign media have released 54,791 stories about oppression of opposition in Ukraine.
The share of positive references and neutral references makes 47,4367, or 86.57 percent from the total number of articles. In these stories, influential foreign media criticize President Volodymyr Zelensky for shutting the TV channels down, the reprisal over opposition and acts of corruption or depict the events in Ukraine in a neutral manner. Thus, for instance, The Brussels Times slammed Zelensky for the ban of independent TV channels - 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZiK, illegal sanctions against Viktor Medvedchuk, Chairman of Political Council of Opposition Platform - For Life party and the opposition leader, and the failure to combat corruption. According to the outlet, the Ukrainian government resorts to double-talkling. Instead of combating corruption, the Cabinet assaulted big and medium businesses. The paragraph about court verdicts replacing Zelensky's decrees is a reference to the decrees about the ban of 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZiK and sanctions against Viktor Medvedchuk.
Foreign media also repeatedly emphasized on doubtful non-biasedness of Ukrainian justice in the case of Viktor Medvedchuk. Zelensky's repressions against Ukrainian opposition and its leader were directly dubbed as populism, because the government simply removed political opponent, disguising that as de-oligarchization. Besides, the Western media claim that the Office of the President organized prosecution of Chairman of Political Council of Opposition Platform - For Life party just because Viktor Medvedchuk enjoys the business contacts in Russia, ignoring the huge number of deals in Zelensky's close circle. In spite of this, foreign media claim that the popularity of Medvedchuk and Opposition Platform - For Life party keeps growing.
Among others, these articles also brought up the question of illegal actions of Ukrainian government and president Zelensky during introduction of sanctions against the Ukrainian opposition, and the closure of TV channels was dubbed a direct violation of freedom of speech and press in Ukraine; consequently, Zelensky saw to it that tough censorship appeared in Ukraine, denying access to alternative view on key events in the country.
The very sanctions in these sources were called an instrument of struggle against the opposition, which have to do with Zelensky to raise his drastically falling popularity. The foreign media connected these steps by the president and his circle with Washington's influence. More and more stories describe Zelensky's regime as dictatorship and authoritarianism.
It is also worth mentioning that during the said period of time, the foreign media paid huge attention to the peaceful action of reporters of 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZiK TV channels; they reached the UN Office in Ukraine to express gratitude for the report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights "Update on the Human Rights Situation in Ukraine," which declared the closure of TV channels illegal.
Thus, German analytic outlet Länder-Analysen admits that the de-oligarchization announced by Volodymyr Zelensky actually narrowed down to political prosecution of Viktor Medvedchuk, Chairman of Political Council of Opposition Platform - For Life party; the real oligarchs continue to play the key role in the economic and political life of the country. The story says that sanctions against Medvedchuk were introduced in February, and on May 11, 2021, Prosecutor General Iryna Venedyktova claimed that the case was opened against the politician on the fact of high treason. Leader of Opposition Platform - For Life party, in turn, rejects these accusations as "trumped-up".
French website AgoraVox writes that Ukrainian politicians and experts repeatedly claimed toigh conditions in the country's economy and criticized dependence on the IMF loan programs, which Medvedchuk described as a step to economic and social collapse.
InsideOver outlet reminds the audience that in early February, Kyiv shut down several independent media, resorting to fairly vague excuses. On May 13, the Ukrainian court placed opposition politician Viktor Medvedchuk under arrest.
Associated Press, the leading US outlet published an article, in which it said that the new accusations are part of even broader campaign against Medvedchuk, which kicked off in February. The author of the article notes that Medvedchuk heads the political council of Opposition Platform - For Life party, which is the largest opposition group in the parliament, with 44 of the 450 seats.
"The new charges are part of a broader campaign against Medvedchuk launched by authorities in February, when his financial assets were frozen for three years. In February, authorities also shut down three pro-Russian TV channels, 112, Zik and NewsOne, which Medvedchuk controlled. His party called the new charges against Medvedchuk “an open and cynical political reprisal”, reads the story.
Swiss medium Zűrsch-Weekly News Review marks that the court over Medvedchuk is a politically motivated case and repressions against opposition.
"Today's events in Ukraine show that the court over Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of Opposition Platform - For Life party, the largest opposition force in the country are another proof that the incumbent Ukrainian government uses political tools in the struggle against critics".
It's an alarm signal from Ukraine, because after a little while, new president Volodymyr Zelensky once again takes action, which is incompatible with Western values and unacceptable for the country, which pays lip service to adhering by democracy and freedom of speech.
The closure of three opposition TV channels - NewsOne, ZiK and 112 Ukraine TV channel became the first signal of democracy shutting down in Ukraine and dictator ambitions of the new Ukrainian leader. Most og the local commentators called this move illegal and unreasoned.
Now it's up to the leader of the largest opposition party, which is considered as one of the most possible candidates in the second round of the next presidential election in Ukraine. The analysts in Ukraine claim that Medvedchuk's popularity and coherence in staying true to his political position could becaome the main reason for Zelensky's fear and his wish for revenge.
"Whatever we're doing now is nothing but politically motivated oppressive actions, caused by my principal political stance. I will keep on participating in judicial investigations, struggling for justice for me and all Ukrainian voters who trusted me with honorary status of a Ukrainian lawmaker", Medvedchuk commented on the government pressure.
Ukrainian analysts add that everything that President Zelensky is doing now narrows down to settling accounts (with Medvedchuk) and distraction from the issues that actually matter for Ukraine. The problem is, western partners of Ukraine remind him about that, too. Recently, during his visit to Ukraine, US Secretary of the State Anthony Blinken underlined that the matters of corruption are extremely sensitive for Ukraine but President Zelensky was not in a hurry to solve these. Not a bit. He supports close ties with Ihor Kolomoisky and Rinat Akhmetov, the same oligarch that he is waging war, as he puts it", reads the article.
In their story, Reuters cited Viktor Medvedchuk, who called sanctions against him "another step to dictatorship in Ukraine".
Financial Times, the leading British outlet is figuring out what is Zelensky's goal in the view of the recent events (closure of opposition TV channels, sanctions against Viktor Medvedchuk, and NABU charges against top officials from the Board of PrivatBank). Financial Times concludes that Zelensky seeks to get on President Joe Biden's good side.
Germany's largest everyday newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung tells a story about double standards of Volodymyr Zelensky. On one hand, he shuts down TV channels and imposes sanctions against Viktor Medvedchuk and his circle. On the other hand, he lets another oligarch, Rinat Akhmetov prosper in Ukraine. According to the author, sanctions against Medvedchuk are basically the removal of political competitor, which us why the rest of oligarchs can sleep still.
Ulrich Heiden, the author of an article at NachDenkSeiten describes the situation that occurred in Ukraine in February, as Volodymyr Zelensky decided to close three popular TV channels under the guise of fighting propaganda. The author is trying to turn the attention of German media to the matter of principles of freedom of speech in Ukraine, turns attention to the facts of the boost of Ukrainian ultra-nationalism and remembers the case of the so-called "black list" of 1,500 reporters working for 112 Ukraine, Newsone and ZiK. "The indifference of German media towards these events in Ukraine is just horrifying", writes the German journalist.
On May 13, Pechersk district court put the Chairman of the Political Council of the Opposition - For Life Medvedchuk under house arrest.
Viktor Medvedchuk stressed that these are politically motivated repressive measures for his principled political position.
Earlier, on February 19, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky put into effect the decision of the National Security and Defense Council on sanctions against 8 individuals and 19 legal entities. Among them are three Ukrainian citizens - the politician Viktor Medvedchuk and his wife Oksana Marchenko and the common-law wife of the owner of the NewsOne, ZIK and 112 Ukraine channels, Taras Kozak, Natalya Lavreniuk.
On February 26, journalists of the TV channels illegally closed by President Volodymyr Zelensky united and created a new TV channel - Pershiy Nezalezhniy. The founders of the new media are a group of journalists who previously worked on the 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK channels. However, within an hour after the start of broadcasting, Pershiy Nezalezhniy TV channel was illegally turned off under pressure from the authorities.