Support openDemocracy’s Coverage of Russia and Ukraine!

My name’s Tom and I run openDemocracy’s coverage of Russia and Ukraine.

Do you remember where you were when Putin’s invasion started? I do: I remember texting friends and colleagues in Ukraine, who were in the middle of packing their bags. In the space of a few hours in February, I tore up my plans for the year. I knew our incredible team would face a challenge like no other.

It’s a nightmare that has taken all their skills and contacts to cover for you.

I’m not going to lie, it’s been a very difficult year. But our coverage has been so effective that it’s got our website blocked in Russia. (Don’t worry, we’ve found other ways to get our news to readers there.)

Will you please set up a regular donation to help our team in Ukraine keep covering the war? We’re a small, independent, non-profit news site and we rely on the generosity of readers to keep going.

Yes, I’ll set up a donation

One of our long-standing journalists in Kyiv somehow wrote an article on that first day of the Russian invasion – a day, she said, that felt like a week.

While some Ukrainian journalists took up arms to defend their country, others braved bombs, bullets and capture to tell the world about the Russian invasion.

To support journalists in the Ukrainian media, we asked readers to help them through some of the most difficult months of their lives. We raised £40,000 – money from openDemocracy readers to support journalists from other organisations as they were forced to relocate, cover new costs and advertising dried up. Those funds went to media outlets and journalists who don’t usually get grants or international support.

Now, we need your support for our work. Could I ask you to set up a regular donation to support our team as they face another difficult year, please? The hard truth is that without reader donations we will have to scale back our reporting of the war. But with your help we can keep telling the truth about Putin’s aggression. Every donation will make a real difference to our work.

Yes, I’ll support you

Thank you for helping openDemocracy,

Tom Rowley
Lead editor on Eastern Europe and Central Asia, openDemocracy

PS: openDemocracy relies on our supporters to spread the word about our work. Can you help by sharing the links below with friends and colleagues?

Read more

Thank you for helping raise £42,000 for journalists in Ukraine

Roubles and repression: how life in Russian-occupied Kherson is changing

Ukrainian prisoners of war reveal torture and humiliation in Russian jails

Russia forced them to fight. Ukraine tried them for treason

Source: openDemocracy email newsletter, 8 December 2022

Writers of Mariupol

This photo shows six members of the National Writers’ Union of Ukraine from Mariupol in 2019. In 2022, the Russian World killed three of them.

Natalia Kharakoz, Evgen Bal, and Bohdan Slyushchynsky all died in March or April.

The story of Evgen Bal’s death is quite terrible. An elderly former submariner, the famous writer was tortured by the Russians over photos with guys from the Azov Battalion. They beat the elderly man with their rifle butts, breaking several ribs.


Source: We Survived in Mariupol, Telegram, 25 July 2022, 1:09 p.m. & 1:28 p.m. Translated by the Russian Reader

78-year-old Ukrainian military pensioner, journalist and writer Evgen Bal died on April 2 after being tortured for days in captivity by the Russian military. The reason for the detention and bullying was the journalist’s friendly relations with Ukrainian servicemen.

The aggressor seeks to wipe out any mention of his crimes from the face of the earth. Therefore, they kill all possible witnesses — military, civilians and journalists.

If Yevgeny [sic] Bal had not died, he could have told about the crimes of the Russian army in Mariupol and its environs.

He would talk about the inhuman conditions in which the Russians are holding captured Ukrainian soldiers and civilians.

Through his articles and books, the world would know how the Ukrainian military, his friends, resisted the Russian invasion of the besieged Mariupol.

He could show how barbaric Russians behaved in the homes of ordinary Ukrainians.

Killings and shootings of journalists are a gross violation of international law. The enemy can turn a blind eye to laws, but he will not be able to close the eyes of the world to crimes. After all, honouring the memory of those who died for the truth, we will continue to tell their immortal stories.

Source: Media Memorial Day

Natalia Kharakoz, journalist, author, member of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine and the National Writers’ Union of Ukraine, and head of the Azov Literary Club, died in the russian-blockaded Mariupol in Donetsk region.

This was announced by her relative, Mariupol journalist Anna Kotykhova.

In her comment to an IMI representative, Anna Kotykhova told that Natalia Kharakoz’s house burned down and collapsed. After that, the woman had to live and hide in the basement. In early April, the relatives learned about the woman’s death from her neighbors, but tried to find out the circumstances and causes of death. The lack of communication made it difficult to obtain this information.

“An author of countless books and the editor of my books, on the first day of the invasion she emailed me the draft of my next book with the postscript ‘Sending this while there is still Internet access, save it.’ I did.

But I did not save any of her books. The apartments – both mine and hers – burned to the ground along with all the books. And I don’t know if her lines have survived in at least one library, at least one museum, at least in someone’s intact house.

Now I really want to reread her short story ‘Anyuta’s Letters,’ about how Anyuta lived through the Second World War – same Anyuta after whom I was named. But I can only snatch fragments from memory,” Kotykhova wrote.

As IMI reported, as of April 29, 22 journalists had been killed in shelling by the russian occupiers since the beginning of their full-scale offensive in Ukraine.

Source: Institute of Mass Information, 3 May 2022

The Russian occupiers killed Bohdan Slyushchynsky, a doctor of sociology and professor at Mariupol State University.

This was reported on Facebook by the Department of Philosophy and Sociology of Mariupol State University, Censor.NET informs.

“The Department of Philosophy and Sociology, Mariupol State University and the entire Ukrainian sociological community have suffered irreparable losses — as a result of Russian aggression, Doctor of Sociology, Professor Bohdan Slyushchynsky died.

“Bohdan Vasyliovych was the man who created and actively developed the specialty ‘Sociology’ in the industrial city of Mariupol from scratch. He managed to create a unique atmosphere at the department, when all teachers and students really felt like one family. They came to him with good news and support in difficult times, shared their victories and complained about failures. Bohdan Vasyliovych could find his own approach to each of those words. He raised many real professionals and just decent people. Scientist, teacher, musician, poet, talented manager — it is difficult to list all the talents of Bohdan Vasyliovych.

“On this tragic day, the MSU sociological family longs for its mentor. He will always remain in our hearts! Kingdom of Heaven!” said [the]statement.

Source: “Rashists killed Bohdan Slyushchynsky, professor at Mariupol State University,” Censor.Net, 8 May 2022