Yet another Ukrainian exile gets political asylum abroad

The former owner of Prostoprint, the firm which produced T-shirts with the ironical slogan “Thank You, Residents of Donbas” reports that he and his family have been granted political asylum in Croatia.

“Yet another European country has de facto admitted that there is political repression in Ukraine”. he writes.

He says that a group of European investigators took 14 months to examine all the material, video and audio recordings, etc which he provided. Since they now have asylum, presumably the investigators were convinced.

As reported, Denis Olejnykov left Ukraine on 21 September 2011. He asserted that the police were harassing him because of his firm’s production of T-shirts with an enormously popular slogan. The words say: “Thank You, Residents of Donbas” and became popular after a soccer match on 7 August in Kyiv. Fans of the Dynamo soccer club chanted “Thank You, Residents of Donbas for the President … followed by an obscene word insulting the President”. The President and a large number of those presently in power are from Donetsk and thereabouts.. The video clip on YouTube was viewed by more than a million people. Variants elaborated on specific social and economic ills that are attributed to the residents of Donbas.

Berkut riot police on 15 September had tried to stop a “charity people’s fair” on Independence Square where products carrying the caption “Thank You, Residents of Donbas” were sold (or given away, with a donation sought). The police explained their actions as being to counter infringement of vending laws. They also confiscated the products, supposedly because of the investigation into alleged unlawful use of the Euro 2012 log.

The Department for Fighting Organized Crime [UBOZ] also carried out a check of the firm, allegedly because of unlawful use in other products of the Euro 2012 logo. ProstoPrint maintained that this was linked with the “Thank You, Residents of Donbas” T-shirts.

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