Ukrainian PEN-Club: On the Political Persecution of Writer Yury Vynnychuk

According to media reports*, on 23 January this year police officers arrived at the home of Lviv writer Yury Vynnychuk and demanded written explanation regarding a poem he read out a few months ago at the festival “Night of Erotic Poetry” in Kyiv. According to the police, the reason for this was a complaint lodged by Verkhovna Rada Deputy from the Communist Party Leonid Grach with the Prosecutor’s Office.  Grach asserted that the poem was pornographic and also contained calls to the violent overthrown of the current regime.

The writer rejects these allegations as totally absurd and considers interference by politicians, prosecutors and civil servants from the so-called “National Commission for the Protection of Public Morality” to be entirely unlawful.

The Ukrainian PEN Centre shares Yury Vynnychuk’s view that the actions of the authorities are unlawful. It would draw the attention of the Ukrainian and international community to the dangerous trend seen in the restoration of political censorship in Ukraine and the ever more numerous examples of pressure by the police, Prosecutor’s Office and Security Service on writers, journalists, academics and civic activists. Over the last 2 years under Viktor Yanukovych’s presidency, this has become a systematic trend.

The Ukrainian PEN Centre calls on the authorities to stop political persecution in Ukraine, restrictions on freedom of speech and interference in literary and artistic activities. We call on Ukrainian writers and artists, as well as our colleagues overseas to join their voices to our protest.

Vice Presidents of the Ukrainian Centre of the International PEN-Club, Andriy Kurkov and Mykola Riabchuk


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