At least 55 journalists killed or died suspiciously in Ukraine since 1991
Since Russia started its war against Ukraine last year, the nation has become a more dangerous place for journalists. In 2014, eight journalists lost their lives in Ukraine during the EuroMaidan Revolution that ousted former President Viktor Yanukovych and reporting from the war in Donbas. Five were foreign correspondents. In total, 55 journalists have been murdered or died under suspicious in Ukraine since statehood in 1991. They include:
1992 Valery Hlezdeniov, a military journalist for Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) newspaper from Lviv. Hlezdeniov was killed in 1992 in Afghanistan. Myron Lyakhovych, an editor for Zhyttya I Pratsia (Life and Labor) newspaper in Lviv. He died in 1992 under unknown circumstances. Vadym Boiko, a journalist for Hart telecommunications company. Boiko died in an explosion in his apartment in Kyiv in 1992.
1993 Mykola Baklanov, a reporter for Izvestia newspaper. Baklanov died from head injuries after being beaten in Kyiv in 1993. Yury Osmanov, an editor for Crimean-based Areket newspaper. Osmanov was found dead in Sevastopol with head injuries in 1993. Serhy Shepelev, an editor for Vechirnya Vinnytsia (The Evening News of Vinnytsia) newspaper. Shepelev was burnt in his apartment in 1993.
1995 Viktor Frelikh (Frelix), a freelance reporter for Molody Bukovynets newspaper. Frelikh investigated a rocket fuel leak that reportedly caused an epidemic of alopecia. He died of poisoning with an unknown substance in Chernivtsi in 1995. He had also received death threats before his death. Yury Dzedzhula, a reporter for Kyivsky Visnyk newspaper. Dzedzhula was killed in Kyiv in 1995. Volodymyr Zhytarenko, a special correspondent for Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper. He was killed in Grozny, Chechnya in 1995. Anatoly Taran, an editor for Obolon newspaper. Taran was found dead in a Kyiv landfill in 1995. Volodymyr Ivanov, an editor-in-chief of The Glory of Sevastopol newspaper. Ivanov was badly injured when a bomb, triggered by remote control, exploded in a garbage can outside his apartment in 1995.
1996 Heorhy Ovcharenko, an editor for UT-3 TV channel, he was a host of the Black Square program. Ovcharenko was found dead in his neighbor’s apartment in 1996. Ihor Hrushetsky, a reporter for Ukraine-Center newspaper. Hrushetsky was found dead near his home in Cherkasy, killed by a blow to his head in 1996. He was known for his reports on political corruption. Ihor Kuzyk, an executive editor for Army of Ukraine newspaper. Kuzyk disappeared and was found months later in a Lviv city park in 1996. Anatoly Tanadaichuk, a reporter for Panorama newspaper. He was found dead with signs of needle injections on his body in Vinnytsia in 1996. Oleksandr Motrenko, a radio host at Trans-M-Radio based in Simferopol. He was attacked by three men, one of whom reportedly was a police officer. Motrenko died because of head injuries in 1996. Police later stated that Motrenko was drunk and attacked the police officer himself.
1997 Petro Shevchenko, a reporter for the Kyivskiye Vedomosti newspaper. He was found hanged in an abandoned building in 1997. Kyiv police labeled Shevchenko’s death a suicide, but his colleagues at the newspaper believe he was murdered because he had co-authored a series of articles published weeks before his death about disputes between the mayor of Luhansk and the local branch of Ukraine’s Security Service. Volodymyr Bekhter, a senior editor for State telecommunications company in Odesa. Bekhter died after he was beaten in the head by police officers in 1997. Borys Derevianko, a chief editor for Vechirnya Odesa newspaper. He was fatally shot at point-blank range on his way to work near the newspaper’s offices in 1997. The chief regional prosecutor declared the murder a contract killing. Local authorities announced that they had arrested a suspect who confessed to killing Derevianko. They gave no details about his confession. Svyatoslav Sosnovsky, an editor for Tavriya publishing house. He was stabbed close to his apartment by a group of unknown men in 1997.
1998 Mykola Rakshanov, a journalist for Fakty (Facts) newspaper based in Lutsk, Volyn Oblast. Rakshanov died because of traumatic brain injuries in 1998.
Albert Borysov, a chief editor of Shakhtarski Visti (Miners’ News) newspaper. He was killed in 1998.
1999 Myroslava Mayorchuk (Maryana Chorna) , a journalist for STB TV channel. She was found hanged in her apartment. Police labeled Chorna’s death a suicide in 1999. Vasyl Chudyk, a chief editor for Nezalezhnist radio station. Chudyk was found dead at the entrance hall of his apartment block in 1999.
2000 Georgiy Gongadze, editor of news website Ukrainska Pravda. He was kidnapped on Sept. 16, 2000. His headless corpse was found in Tarashcha town in November of that year. In 2013, a Ukrainian court sentenced a former police general, Oleksiy Pukach, to life in prison for the death of Gongadze. Mykhailo Kapulyak, a deputy editor at Svit Molodi newspaper in Ivano-Frankivsk. He was killed in 2000. Volodymyr Palchykov, a journalist for Dnipropetrovsk-based radio company. He was killed in 2000.
Yuliy Mazur, an editor of the Russian-Ukrainian Yug newspaper. He was found dead late at night near his house in Odesa in 2000. He died before an ambulance could take him to the hospital. Forensic experts attributed his death to “ethyl alcohol intoxication,” however, Mazur’s colleagues suspected their editor had been poisoned. Viktor Romanenko, a cameraman for “12 Minutes of News” program for Krym (Crimea) telecommunications company. He was found dead in the sea close to the city of Sudak in 2000.
Volodymyr Smyrnov, a reporter for Vremya (Time) newspaper. He was attacked in the streets of Mykolaiv and died in the hospital in 2000.
2001 Oleh Breus, a publisher of the XXI Vek (XXI Century) newspaper based in Luhansk. Breus was shot dead on June 24, 2001 while driving up to his house accompanied by his wife and a friend. As Breus exited his car, he was shot four or five times in the head and back at point-blank range. None of the passengers were harmed. Ihor Aleksandrov, a director of Tor, an independent television company based in Slovyansk, Donetsk Oblast was attacked on the morning of July 3, 2001. Unknown attackers assaulted Aleksandrov with baseball bats as he entered Tor’s offices. Aleksandrov never regained consciousness and died from head injuries on the morning of July 7. Oleksandr Kovalenko, a chief editor for Sotsialna Polityka (Social Policy) newspaper in Kyiv. He was found dead in a forest close to the city of Zhytomyr with signs of gunshot wounds in 2001.
Yury Honchar, freelance reporter for Fakty I Kommentarii (Facts and Comments) newspaper in Kyiv. He was found dead in his apartment with signs of of having suffered a violent death in 2001.
Yury Ivanov, a columnist for Odeski Visti newspaper. His body was found in an Odesa cemetery in late December 2001. Ivanov wrote a number of articles about the murder of Borys Derevianko, the late chief editor of Vechirnya Odesa newspaper. Oleh Chernyak, a cameraman for Odesa regional TV station. Chernyak was found dead in his apartment in 2001.