Arson at Inter TV – кому это выгодно?

September 5, 2016

The late afternoon/early evening of 4th September bore witness to another mindless and self-defeating act.

A TV studio used by Dmitry Firtash’s Inter TV channel in Kyiv was subject to arson.  The fire it appears caused by a smoke grenade igniting surrounding material.  It may be that those responsible had no intention in causing a fire, but recklessness is no defence.

Injuries, by way of smoke inhalation, and also reports of a broken limb, circulate.

The editorial line of Inter is consistent with that of the Opposition Block political outlook – which comes as no surprise considering the ownership of the channel – and therefore perceived by many as somewhat less that patriotic.  It clearly causes angst within those of a nationalist disposition – perhaps sometimes quite deliberately.

Six individuals have been arrested quite rightly – whether they are part of a group of 20 pickets (seemingly compromised of members of the 30th Brigade) is as yet to be clarified.


In fact clarification of events may take longer than it should, for it appears Inter are not (yet) willing to provide CCTV footage of the incident to law enforcement officials – despite the damage to their property and injury to their employees.

Naturally a reader may ponder – why would Inter refuse to provide possible CCTV evidence to a crime of which it is the victim?

“кому это выгодно?” – (Who benefits?)

Perhaps the CCTV footage will eventually be provided – after Inter, the Opposition Block and The Kremlin has used this incident to its maximum PR potential possible.  Then again perhaps it simply won’t be supplied (for any number of reasons – what else is recorded?), or simply doesn’t exist (or soon won’t exist).

Those that clearly do not benefit from this incident are the Ukrainian State, the Ukrainian government, law abiding activists, lawful protesters and society – whether they be those that watch Inter and are sympathetic to its narrative or not.

President, Prime Minister, and Cabinet Ministers necessarily have to be swift and public in their condemnation of this incident despite any ripples Inter may cause in the political and societal pond.  Those arrested if indeed responsible will have to be subject to due process and proportionate sentencing.

This was not a criminal act aimed at making a statement about omnipresent oligarchy owned media (and readers would be perhaps wise to keep a watchful eye upon the ownership (or changing thereof) relating to Kolomoisky’s 1 + 1 media in the near future).

It is not a criminal act aimed at the Opposition Block or changing its political outlook – and it will not return to power any time soon (even if it manages to avoid a seemingly inevitable split).

It is not a criminal act that will diminish the Kremlin narrative that increasingly forcefully spews forth via Inter.

If this be a criminal act by those that consider themselves to be genuine patriots, rather than “patriots”, then it has accomplished nothing more than sufferance of a serious and unnecessary self-inflicted wound.

That said, as has been written here on many occasions, to incite, provoke, and influence the more extreme (of any flavour) is bread and butter security services work, ergo such involvement also cannot be excluded – but nevertheless any such possible involvement does not mitigate the fact that those responsible for this act have failed to ask themselves the most basic question – “кому это выгодно?” (Who benefits?)

Perhaps their picket would have been far better placed outside of the National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine, or the Ministry of Information of Ukraine, if it was felt – and perhaps rightly – that Inter had crossed any broadcasting regulatory red lines?

If it was not felt that regulatory red lines had been crossed, even if ethical lines had, and their picket was thus an exercising of their rights to assembly and peaceful protest, (and peaceful some clearly found too difficult), then the fundamental right of Inter to free speech/expression also requires upholding (unless it too is unable to remain from incitement) in equal measure.

“… tolerance and respect for the equal dignity of all human beings constitute the foundations of a democratic, pluralistic society. That being so, as a matter of principle it may be considered necessary in certain democratic societies to sanction or even prevent all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify hatred based on intolerance…”

”the Court is also careful to make a distinction in its findings between, on the one hand, genuine and serious incitement to extremism and, on the other hand, the right of individuals (including journalists and politicians) to express their views freely and to “offend, shock or disturb” others.” – (ECHR Chamber judgment Erbakan v. Turkey, no. 59405/00, § 56, 6.07.2006) 

The weak grip upon rule of law held by the Ukrainian State was today subjected to an incident that will further reinforce that perception – and over the most fundamental of rights and against one of the necessary pillars of democracy (a free (if often unpalatable and reckless) media).

“кому это выгодно?” – (Who benefits?) – From this incident, nobody that should!

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