Several members of Ukrainian parliament from the Svoboda (Freedom) Party, led by a top member of the nation’s Free Speech Committee, video-taped themselves violently beating Alexsandr Pantelymonov, the CEO of Ukraine’s First National TV company, and forcing him to sign a letter of resignation.
Pantelymonov had been criticized for being supportive of the ousted elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych, and the attacking MPs condemned him as “Moscow trash” during the beating.
Svoboda is a race-driven party, whose policies include banning immigration and insisting only ethnic Ukrainians be allowed to hold government jobs. The party has also pushed to acquire nuclear weapons. Since the protests, they are a key portion of the “interim” government, holding several key positions, including Defense and Finance portfolios.
Though in Ukraine the Cabinet of Ministers can theoretically force TV broadcasters to resign, the attacking MPs assured Pantelymonov that the era of the cabinet was over and that they were calling the shots.
The Svoboda leaders said the attack was retaliation for First National TV broadcasting footage of Russia’s parliament signing off on the accession of Crimea, saying it amounted to “Russian propaganda.”