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In the last 18 months he has taken over the 112, Zik and News One television channels, swiftly changing their output to his favor, with rumors of moves on at least two other major broadcasters in the works.
Ihor Krymov, a broadcast editor at Zik, told the independent Hromadske TV channel that channel bosses had banned coverage of protests against the registration of pro-Russian candidates for upcoming parliamentary elections as they were “not interesting.” Krymov defied the order and relayed Hromadske’s own coverage of the protest on the channel. While the Ukrainian government and several other parties in parliament have roundly condemned Medvedchuk’s growing influence on the media, some Western politicians have ridden to his aid, most notably members of the UK Independence Party, which has often sided with Russia in international affairs.
Medvedchuk was most notably central to the release of Nadia Savchenko, a Ukrainian officer and former pilot who was captured in 2014 and finally released following a long hunger strike and trumped-up conviction for murder in 2016.During his closing speech at the trial, Medvedchuk denounced his client and said that all of Stus’s “crimes” deserved punishment and further claimed that his serious health problems did not affect his ability to work.Stus was sentenced to 10 years of forced labor in the notorious Perm-36 Gulag camp where he died, while on hunger strike, in 1985.Savchenko herself returned a hero but soon became more erratic and was transformed into a pariah after making anti-Semitic statements and holding unauthorized meetings with Russia-backed separatists across the front line.In 2018, she was arrested and charged with plotting an armed coup d’état.