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 70,531 stories about oppression of opposition in Ukraine.
The share of positive references and neutral references makes 59,296, and only 11,235 are negative which is a little over 16% percent of the total number of articles.
In the last month, a number of leading foreign media have paid close attention to the trial against the MP, chairman of the political council of the Opposition Platform - For Life party, Viktor Medvedchuk. In addition, a number of authoritative publications devoted their analytical and news materials to an article by Russian President Vladimir Putin "On the historical unity of Russians and Ukrainians" and an article by Viktor Medvedchuk "On the future of the Ukrainian and Russian peoples." Thus, a number of popular American and British media published the entire article by the leader of the Ukrainian opposition. In other publications, Viktor Medvedchuk's article received positive responses and was analyzed for quotations.
Western press promptly reacted to the illegal court decision against Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of the Ukrainian opposition. In particular, the Luxembourg Herald, a leading multilingual European media outlet headquartered in Luxembourg, published a critical article with the headline "Putin's key ally in Ukraine, Viktor Medvedchuk, was left under house arrest by the court in a trumped-up case." The day before, Viktor Medvedchuk smashed the entire "evidence base," collected against him by the prosecution. He promised to continue to oppose the course of President Volodymyr Zelensky, which, according to the opposition politician, is leading Ukraine to nowhere.
In addition, the majority of analytical and foreign media directly indicated that due to the growing repressive pressure against Viktor Medvedchuk and representatives of the Opposition Platform - For Life party, Russian President Vladimir Putin is very angry with Zelensky and therefore refuses to meet with him in any format. Zelensky's persecution of Medvedchuk is drawing Ukraine into a dangerous game with Russia. Famous German Deutsche Welle news agency paid special attention to this issue.
Foreign media also repeatedly emphasized on doubtful non-biasedness of Ukrainian justice in the case of Viktor Medvedchuk. Zelensky's repressions against the 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.
In addition, the media focused on the fact that, most likely, Vladimir Putin's actions in Ukraine are primarily aimed at supporting the opposition politician Viktor Medvedchuk, and the current tension between Russia and Ukraine is directly related to the sanctions of Zelensky against Putin's close friend Viktor Medvedchuk. At the same time, the Russian president is annoyed that the Ukrainian authorities are attacking his close friend, Viktor Medvedchuk.
Among other things, these articles also highlighted the issue of the illegality of the Ukrainian authorities and President Zelensky's actions when imposing sanctions against the Ukrainian opposition. And the closure of TV channels was called a direct violation of freedom of speech and press in Ukraine, as a result of which Zelensky achieved the introduction of strict censorship in Ukraine and blocked the population's access to an alternative view of key events in the country. The sanctions were called an instrument of combating the opposition and were associated with Zelensky's desire to resume his rapidly falling ratings. Foreign publications associated these steps with the influence of Washington (US and European media presented it as Zelensky's desire to find the location of US President Joe Biden). In addition, in recent years, publications have increasingly begun to appear that call the Zelensky regime authoritarianism and dictatorship.
Earlier, the media criticized the handing over of suspicion to Viktor Medvedchuk, as well as the subsequent meeting of the Pechersk District Court, which has chosen a house arrest as a preventive measure. Western media described the actions of the Ukrainian authorities as political repression against the opposition, and also called it part of a broader campaign of suppression of the opposition, launched back in February this year.
Leading American publication Associated Press wrote that the accusations that the Ukrainian authorities brought against the head of the political council of the Opposition Platform - For Life party Viktor Medvedchuk are part of a broader campaign, launched back in February.
"Ukraine has indicted a top opposition figure who is a close ally of Russia’s president with treason and attempts to steal natural resources from Russia-annexed Crimea. Along with the Tuesday indictment of Viktor Medvedchuk, security service agents also searched his house in the capital Kyiv. The 66-year-old heads the political council of the pro-Russian party Opposition Platform - For Life. It is the largest opposition group in the parliament, with 44 of the 450 seats," wrote the outlet.
"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," it states.
Swiss Zűrsch-Weekly News Review writes that the events in Ukraine show that the trial of Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of the Opposition Platform - For Life political party, the country's largest opposition force, is further evidence that the current Ukrainian government uses political tools to combat its critics.
This is an alarming signal from Ukraine because, after a short period of time, new President Zelenskyy is again taking actions that are incompatible with Western values and unacceptable for a country that verbally declares its commitment to democracy and freedom of speech.
The first signal of the curtailment of democracy in Ukraine and the dictatorial ambitions of its new president was the closure of three opposition television channels - NewsOne, ZIK, and 112 Ukraine, which the overwhelming majority of local commentators called illegal and unfounded.
Now it is the turn of the leader of the largest opposition party, who is viewed in Ukraine as one of the most likely candidates for the second round of the next presidential election. Analysts in Ukraine noted that the popularity of Viktor Medvedchuk and his consistency in defending his political position could be the main reason for Zelensky's fear and his desire for revenge. "What we see now is nothing more than politically motivated repressive measures caused by my strict political position. I will continue to participate in judicial investigations, seeking justice for myself and all Ukrainian voters who have entrusted me with the honorable position of Ukrainian lawmaker," Medvedchuk commented on the pressure from the government.
Qatari media outlet L'observateur du Qatar writes that Medvedchuk, who has forged closer ties with Moscow and has been an intermediary between Moscow and Kyiv in the past, is under investigation on charges of treason, which he describes as politically motivated.
Putin called the situation in Ukraine "cleaning up" the political space and accused the Ukrainian authorities of attacking people who prefer better relations with Russia and support a peaceful settlement in eastern Ukraine, where Ukraine is located. Russian-backed separatist forces have been fighting there since 2014.
"Apparently, and this is very sad, Ukraine is slowly but surely turning into a kind of anti-Russian polarity, a kind of anti-Russian platform, on the territory of which, it seems, we will constantly receive information that requires us, especially from a security point of view."
Agora Vox, French oldest daily, notes that the Medvedchuk case will decide the fate of Ukraine.
"The prosecutor's office, which presented the documents of the accusation, looked surprisingly squalid. It got to the point that a specially selected judge turned to them with many complaints. He seemed to realize that they wanted to be given full responsibility for the circus show that the trial had become, and so he let the suspect go wherever he went. However, he did not allow the government to be completely disgraced: he refused the prosecutor's request to detain Medvedchuk with an alternative to a huge bail (by Ukrainian standards, but affordable for a suspect) in the amount of 300 million UAH (11 million USD, - ed.).
In general, the first round of the confrontation played into the hands of Viktor Medvedchuk. The authorities will definitely prepare a counterattack. But so far, the cases fabricated by the police are so weak, and sometimes even anecdotal, that it is difficult to believe in any success," the newspaper notes.
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 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 the 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 a 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 February 2, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a decree on the imposition of sanctions against 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZIK TV channels. According to the decree, which came into force from the moment of signing, sanctions were applied to TV channels for five years. This provides for blocking the broadcasting of all three TV channels.
Earlier, on February 20, 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.
On May 13, the 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.