For the adherents of the Russian world, Pavel Sheremet was an annoying figure and could serve as a demonstrative victim.
Pavel Sheremet, 44, was behind the wheel of a red crossover when it exploded at around 7:45 a.m. on July 20 at the center of the Ukrainian capital. The car belonged to its co-founder, Alena Prytula, but she was not in the vehicle at the time.
Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko wrote in a Facebook post that an explosive device inside the car had been detonated and described Mr. Sheremet`s death as an assassination.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told law enforcement agencies to solve the case quickly.
As naviny.by recalls, Mr. Sheremet moved to Kyiv from Moscow five years ago, after working for Russia`s television Channel One for more than two decades.
In 1997, Mr. Sheremet was arrested while preparing a report on security gaps along Belarus` Lithuanian border and spent several months in prison. He headed the Russian channel`s Minsk bureau at the time.
The reporter, who moved to Moscow shortly after his release from prison, was beaten up by who appeared to be plainclothes policemen and jailed during his visits to Minsk in 2004 and 2006.
Mr. Sheremet co-wrote The Accidental President, an unflattering account of Mr. Lukashenka`s life which is banned in Belarus. He was also a co-founder of www.belaruspartisan.org, a news website highly critical of Mr. Lukashenka and his government.
He was stripped of Belarusian citizenship in March 2010. The formal reason for the move was his earlier acquisition of Russian nationality.
In 2014, Mr. Sheremet became the target of a harassment campaign in the Russian media for his criticism of Russia`s annexation of Crimea and pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine`s southeast. Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko considers the murder of an explosion. The investigation has voiced three versions of the murder: Russian trace, Ukrainian domestic situation, and murderous assault on Alena Prytula.
What stands behind the murder of Pavel Sheremet? Belarusian journalist Sviatlana Kalinkina shares her opinion with the “EuroBelarus” Information Service.
- I don’t know. In my opinion, all three versions have the right to exist: the Russian trace, Ukrainian domestic situation, and murderous assault on Alyona Pritula when Pavel was driving the car. I think we can only wait for the results of the investigation and for specifics. I wouldn’t exclude the Russian version of the murder and would consider it very seriously, because the adherents of the Russian world, Pavel Sheremet was an annoying figure and could serve as a demonstrative victim.
- Is it how we should be interpreting the statement of the Putin's press secretary?
- In general, we should be very skeptical about the statements made by Russian officials. First Russophobes fired Pavel from the First Channel, then from the Public Television, and now they claim that he was killed in Kiev for being a Russophobe. These people can say anything; we have repeatedly seen such transformations.
The only thing that unites Belarus, Russia and Ukraine – the three countries where Pavel worked - is that it’s extremely dangerous to be honest and have your own position.
- Sheremet’s murder will seriously weaken the Belarusian journalism, too...
- Of course, Pavel would have never left the Belarusian journalism: no matter where he worked, he always stayed in the profession, in the Belarusian media space. Of course, he was not just a journalist, but a phenomenon in the Belarusian journalism.
- Did you personally support professional contacts with Sheremet?
- Oddly enough, in recent years all of a sudden for no logical reason Pavel started being very concerned about the fate of the Belarusian partisan (an opposition online newspaper – EuroBelarus). He offered me to become the editor in chief of the Belarusian partisan and help the site. For some reason he has suddenly started worrying about the fate of the site, although he expressed no fears for himself, for his life. And now I’m also worried about the fate of the site, because it is unclear what will happen with the Pavel’s Belarusian media projects.
- What can happen to them?
- I don’t know, but all of his projects were not created for him but aimed at Belarus instead; and I think that we have to do everything possible so that they remain and work even better.
- Are you ready to take on the responsibility for Sheremet’s media projects?
- If such offer comes from his family, then, probably, yes.