“If you can’t get it up, it’s Putin’s fault” – the last interview of the editor-in-chief of Ukrainian newspaper “Segodnya,” Oles Buzina, murdered today in Kiev
April 16, 2015
Radio Vesti (Ukr)
Translated from Russian by Kristina Rus
Y.K.: This is Radio Vesti, 12.16 pm in Ukraine, Yury Kulinich, Vasilisa Frolova, and our guest Oles Buzina, Ukrainian writer, host, journalist, blogger.
V.F.: Oles, how would you like to be introduced?
O.B.: More modestly, considering I wrote 8 books, and rather successful, which support my livelihood since I quit the position of editor-in-chief of “Segodnya”, I would prefer to be called a writer, what is a constant in my biography, rather then a host, blogger or a “bureaucrat” (scary to imagine) – “editor-in-chief” is a bureaucrat these days
V.F.: On Sundays (today is a Sunday-like Monday), we invite controversial guests to discuss the most important events of the week
Y.K.: The story with “Segodnya”, could you explain what happened, why did you decide to quit? Because there are conflicting reports, Ukrainian Pravda (“Ukrainian Truth”) reported that you couldn’t find a common ground, and you say there was a conflict related to censorship…
V.F.: We should remind our readers that Oles was editor-in-chief of “Segodnya” for one month
O.B. : Two months
V.F.: And you quit on your own initiative. Was 2 months enough?
O.B.: I didn’t work there for just two months. “Ukrainian Pravda” lies very often. I would change the name of this site … [To “Ukrainian Lies” ]
V.F.: Who doesn’t lie – Buzina.org? Should we only believe it?
O.B.: Buzina.org doesn’t lie, you can trust it
V.F.: Can you trust Radio Vesti?
O.B.: Yes, 100%. If I will believe any radio, I will believe Radio Vesti, this is not a compliment, it’s a fact.
Regarding whether we found common ground or not. Look, I worked at “Segodnya” since 2006, so since spring 2006 I had common ground with everyone, and suddenly in 2015, at least write: “Stopped finding common ground”, at least some truth, right? I left or a simple reason, because I didn’t want to be, speaking Ukrainina “tsapom vidbuvaemom ” And I wrote this on my site Buzina.org.
I was appointed editor-in-chief of the paper “Segodnya”, but I wasn’t in charge of the site. The site of “Segodnya” managed by Sveta Pancechkina regularly published all kinds of factual mistakes. But no one knows Sveta Panechkina, but everyone knows Oles Buzina. And t everyone thought Buzina is responsible. I asked the management, let’s write “The site is not subject to Buzina” No we will not write it. Why should I be responsible for the sins of Sveta Panechkina?
Materials were published, which I didn’t agree with that came from somewhere from above, from where it came, I didn’t even know, as a editor in chief, imagine that.
V.F.: Who did communicate with?
O.B.: Above me was a general director, I receive a material from the general director, I say, I don’t agree with this material.
V.F.: Do you not want to call his name?
O.B.: Why not, Potapov, everyone knows his name. I said, I will not post it. No, you must post it. Then I said, then I quit, you can be responsible for your editorial policy yourself. I will not be responsible for it. I am an author, I can survive without “Segodnya” and I hope “Segodnya” will survive without me.
Y.K.: Didn’t you know how the process works, when you accepted the position? Didn’t you have some negotiations, or did you just agree to the posittion?
O.B.: Some things you can only find out working there. Because when people say, according to a Ukrainian principle, didn’t you know? Many things you don’t know, and you can only find out on practice. And I made this experiment.
But I was hired for something else. I was hired to help increase sales, to increase the edge, this is what I was told. And on day 4 they were already trying to fire me, can you believe it?
V.F.: Vitaly from Lutsk, our regular listener, is offering to have a poll, to find out who people trust more, Oles Buzina or “Ukrainian Pravda”?
O.B.: You know this is a great idea, I support this poll. Ukrainian Pravda is a most powerful disinformation resource, this is my opinion.
V.F.: This is your personal opinion.
O.B.: If you compare Buzina to the entire Ukrainian Pravda, it’s a good compliment…
V.F.: Perhaps it would be a big honor for Oles?
O.B.: No I think it would be a big honor for “Ukrainian Pravda”, for Alena Pritula it would be a big honor, the owner of this site
V.F.: I don’t know, I think we need a permission of our editor-in-chief if we can hold such a poll…
O.B.: You know I can tell you a simple thing, what you can compare, you can compare the editorial policy of Buzina.org and Ukrainina Pravda, I function a moderator ….
V.F.: Your site is personal, it’s about you, your travels, your pictures, your photos, its not a news resource …
O.B.: And including news, it has news about Buzina and news from Buzina. I talk about current events in the country, I publish all my blogs, all my texts about politics, this is why it turned into a very popular site. And besides me, a huge number of other people are published on my site. I don’t ban any comments, except profanity. So we can compare …
V.F.: I knew that we are going to have such a provocation, ok, our editor in chief agrees to have such a vote ….
Y.K.: Ok, please call … to vote for Buzina.org or … to vote for Ukrainian Pravda. Who do you trust more?
V.F.: Do we have a right as the hosts and employees of Radio Vesti to make Radio Vesti a third option?
Y.K.: You know, may be it’s not a good idea…
O.B.: Radio Vesti will win for sure, it’s a powerful resource. It covers everything in Ukraine.
V.F.: Thanks you very much
Ok, we started the voting, please call … for Ukrainian Pravda or … for Buzina.org
O.B.: A modest site, which no one finances
V.F.: We will do a good PR for you, so why don’t you reciprocate, and we begin to discuss the pressing issues of the day. We would like to start with Oleg Sentsov, Ukrainian director who is facing 20 years in Moscow, which he had announced at the trial in Lefortovo courthouse in Moscow, we planned to begin with this subject, but you told me that you don’t know who it is, is that a joke?
O.B.: No, when you said, lets discuss Oleg Sentsov, I asked, who is it, and this was a very sincere question, and you told me that this is a famous Ukrainian director who has been jailed in Lefortovo. Lets be honest, he became famous after he was put in jail. I am not familiar with his work as a director, as probably the majority of citizens of Ukraine, who are more familiar with him as a prisoner.
If you ask about my opinion, I will say this is a sad promotion for Mr. Sentsov, but if he is smart he may use it for publicity. Just like Solzhenitsyn who became a great writer just because he spent time in jail. Just like 10 years of service of Taras Shevchenko lead to his huge post-mortem fame. For Sentsov, this is a giant opportunity.
If you ask, is it worth it, I will tell you it’s a heavy price. In the place of Russian authorities I would immediately let Sentsov and Savchenko go. And no more questions. It could be done by any means, amnesty, personal order from the president. When they say it’s impossible, there are many loopholes in legal matters. Then the person is free, clear and happy. It would help improve relationship between Russia and Ukraine. And I am for maximally warm kind relationship with Russia. We cannot run away from each other, and we need normal good relations.
Y.K.: Oles, you said that you are for friendlier relationship with Russia, our listeners ask, how can you improve this relationship after what’s going on in the East, after the arrest of Oleg Sentsov, is it acceptable to arrest a person, take him to Russia, call him a member of the “Right Sector” and make up false accusations. How can you improve relations with this state?
O.B.: Why is there a conflict between Russia and the West on the territory of Ukraine? Whats going on, is not a conflict between Ukraine and Russia, it’s between the West and Russia.
Y.K. : Please explain concretely
O.B.: I will explain. For many years the West increased its positions in Ukraine, created groups of influence, pumped money into grant-eating sites, organizations, pro-Western lobby in the sphere of ideology, journalism , sphere that affects the minds. These people received grants, traveled to the USA, they were spoofed.
Real Ukraine lived below. The real Ukraine depends for its economic livelihood on Russia. Not just about selling cheese to Ryazan region, but we had a very close cooperation in high tech industries. For example, recently Uzhmash stopped producing rockets in Dnepropetrovsk, because cooperation with Russia was severed. That Poroshenko promised them to order some trolleys or some military orders… I am very skeptical about military orders, but about trolleys…
Kiev airplane factory also produced trams and baby carriages in the 90’s, but it was supposed to produce airplanes. Its a very profitable product. These airplanes were produced in cooperation with Russian Federation. We have a large enterprise “Motorsich” in Zaporozhye, owned by Bogislaev. Russian aviation building cannot exist without Ukrainian engines, all of this is produced in a closest cooperation with RF.
In order to continue our close cooperation with Russia, Ukraine had to be preserved as a state, which would not aspire to join NATO, or become a pro-Western state, practically a US satellite, as the Ukraine has become.
The change of course was immediately followed by severing ties with Russia in high tech industries.
Another point. For example, there is a ship building program in Russia, and this is fresh information, and I am sharing this for the first time here.
Those ships which were supposed to be built in Russia cannot be built in the near future for a simple reason, they needed gas turbines which were produced only on the territory of Ukraine by our plants. But due to political events, and the pro-Western course which was chosen by Ukraine after the Maidan coup … Lets call a spade a spade, a state coup took place in Ukraine. After that it was legalized, made it look acceptable. Yanukovich ran away, there is a huge blame on Yanukovich for this coup, who didn’t fulfill his presidential duties, he made a huge number of political mistakes, made promises, made deals with everyone. As a result of the coup the new political clan came to power, which chose a pro-Western course. Immediately all cooperation with Russian Federation in the spheres of ship building, aircraft building, machine building – everywhere where we had very strong position went down the drain. Immediately unemployment shot up, people are left with no money, what to do for them is not clear, because all manufacturing was destroyed. All Maidan’s promises turned out to be lies. Let’s call it what it is. Because the West will not purchase Ukrainian engines, Ukrainian gas turbines, Ukrainian airplanes, the West has their own. On Maidan the entire Ukraine was taken for a ride, including the heavenly hundred, which was slain for nothing.
V.F.: This is your personal opinion, why don’t we switch to the topics that we were supposed to discuss …
O.B. But I think this opinion is most close to reality. If you ask how to improve relations with RF, we need to admit that we had made a mistake, all of us, the entire country had made a mistake.
Y.K: Wait, “we made a mistake.” Look, Russia has shown itself lately as an unreliable partner, whose decisions in trade and economic spheres depend on what Kiev does. I understand we have a lot of economic ties left after the fall of the USSR, and we were supposed to continue cooperation, but lets take the gas industry, when there is a dictate from the Kremlin, and Ukraine is expected to perform some duties, and to pay fines just by the decision of the Kremlin, I don’t think these are normal relations between two countries. And if Ukraine has chosen a pro-Western course, does this allow Russia to annex Crimea, to bring troops to the East? You say, Ukraine has to say, sorry, Moscow, we made a mistake, how, do you think this is possible after thousands killed in the East?
V.F.: Speaking of business, Russia makes parts for Boeing, and Superjet is built from European and American details, I am told….
O.B.: Who cares that the Superjet is built from American and European parts? I am not worried about America and Europe, I am worried about Ukraine.
V.F. : Who you are offering to raise a white flag and surrender?
O.B: I am worried about our collective fate, I am not saying we should surrender, I am for a smart policy. We have to understand if we live next door to a Russian bear, we should not tease this bear endlessly. No we received what we received, and this is very bad.
We talked about gas. Can you tell me, did anyone force Timoshenko to make that gas deal? This deal was made by Timoshenko, who always talked about a pro-Western course of Ukraine.
Y.K.: Do you remember under which conditions this deal was made? The country had a few days left of gas …
O.B.: This deal, again, was signed not by Oles Buzina, but Yulia Timoshenko. This deal was a surrender of Ukrainian positions overall. There was a long pre-history before this deal. Should I tell you that we used to pay $50 in 2004, and as soon as Yushchenko came to power we started paying $150? Let me remind you…
Y.K. So in order to have cheaper gas we should dance to the tune of the Kremlin?
O.B.: That part of Ukrainian elite, which calls themselves pro-Western, pro-European, they like to call themselves “democratic” and “progressive” betray Ukrainian interests like no one else. Ask Yushchenko, or Poroshenko with all his prosecutors (everyone is his), how did we go from $50 to $150?
V. F.: Meanwhile we are moving away from the subject of our conversation, which we had planned
O.B.: When a country is ruled by thiefs it is easy to say that it is all Putin’s fault. If you can’t get it up, it’s Putins fault. That’s the logic.
V.F.: Oles, we did not want to talk about this. I must shut off your microphone, because you don’t listen to us, we need to discuss other topics, and we ask you to answer specific questions, and not to switch to a monologue.
We are live on Radio Vesti with Oles Buzina, whose appearance caused a storm. We understand that this question was a provocation, but we got more then 400 calls, the results will be announced in 15 minutes. That means you are really interested in this topic. Who do you trust more, Buzina or “Ukrainian Pravda”? Please call … If it was up to me, I would add a few more options …
I am told by the producer we are joined by the editor-in-
chief of Radio Vesti, Saken Murzaev.
S.M.: Hello, good morning, Happy Easter, I remember Oles called me once live on air, and now I would like to talk to Oles live on air, hello, Oles!
O.B.: Hello, Saken!
S.M.: Happy Easter! Regarding the voting, with due respect to the work of our colleagues, we as journalists have a right to ask any question, but since you mentioned aviation, comparing airplanes, can I ask you, would you prefer to fly over a Black Sea in a Boeing 737 or U2, an old small airplane? A small plane or a big plane? With navigation systems or a plane which depends on enthusiasm and talent of one person? These are very different things, and it’s not correct to trust this one or that one. I read this and that, but trust myself. Regarding your discussion, I would like to ask, what are your thoughts about Eduard Limonov?
O.B.: Hmm, as a writer, I think he is one of the most talented modern Russian writers on the 20th century
V.F.: Why Russian, he is from Kharkov…?
O.B.: And Bulgakov was from Kiev…
S.M.: You are very correct by saying “as a writer”, I respect you very much as a writer for your talent for provocations, but when you begin to preach about politics not in your book, it is very inflammatory …
O.B.: Because it doesn’t match your views? That’s easy to say … Was I wrong when I said that Maidan will lead to a break up of the country was it not true? Look at my columns, which I wrote in 2013, when I said that the Hryvnia will fall, when I said there will be a total mess. I could not forecast some things, i don’t pretend to be smarter then I am, I could not predict a civil war in Ukraine, I was sure it will not come to this …
S.M.: You are blaming an abstract conflict between the West and Russia on the territory of Ukraine for everything, although …
O.B.: This is not an abstract conflict, I think as a political observer, as a person holding such a high position on Radio Vesti, you know very well that there is a geopolitical conflict between the West and Russia on the territory of Ukraine, first of all the US. If this wasn’t true then Kolomoisky would not be fired after a conversation with Geoffrey Payett, American ambassador, he would not explain to Kolomoysky that he has to go, and Kolomoisky would not listen to him…
V.F.: If we quote your interview from 2009 you said “My dream is to recreate a Russian Empire, and I must adjust to ugly conditions of building independent Ukraine”
O.B.: This is a fake that is disseminated through the Internet. Finally the time has come to address this fake. I never said this. Please, find any recording of where I said that.
V.F.: Wikipedia has a link
O.B.: God knows how many things are said about me, I am tired of suing everyone, I sued “The Evening Kiev”
V.F.: I have to shut off Oles microphone
S.M.: It is very difficult to talk to Oles, because you always have a response to everything, because you deal with words professionally, please don’t look for political reasons. I saw you on Russian TV in a very bad moment for all of us, you said some very bad things, you were used, as an honest person who lives here now, unlike all of your likeminded friends who have fled and leave in Moscow, and receive a salary there.
O.B.: You are a Russian citizen, working in Ukraine, so what?
S.M.: I don’t say that Poroshenko sold his soul to the devil, Oles
O.B.: Have I ever written that Poroshenko sold his soul to the devil?
S.B.: No, not you, but those Ukrainian citizens who fled to Russia, live there, work there, received apartments there and a status…
I don’t want to take your time, I just want to ask, as I asked Limonov, whom I also respect as a writer, please write books and don’t concern yourself with Putin and Obama. I ask you very much! Good luck, Happy Easter
O.B.: Sure, why don’t you also write books and don’t concern yourself with Putin and Obama, I ask you very much
V.F.: Thank you, it was a direct connection with Sakim Murzaev. Lets lower the intensity a little. But your presence on Russian TV channels is surprising, softly speaking. I watched the news about you yesterday. I will not name these Russian channels. Every week you participate in 2-3 big Russian TV shows, where you are surrounded by some interesting people, who I would also like to ask what are they doing there. Do they invite you on purpose, how do you decide where to go or not?
O.B.: Look, you are exaggerating by saying you see me on 3-4 Russian shows per week. In January, February I wasn’t there at all, in March I went to a talk show. Don’t exaggerate.
V.F.: And last week you went to St. Petersburg
O.B.: Last week I was in St. Petersburg, and took part in one show. Why do I participate in Russian talk shows, because it is my only opportunity to express my position. And I always advocate for the unity of Ukraine on Russian talk shows. I go to Russia and say this. When one guest of the show said that Ukraine doesn’t exist as a state, I took out my Ukrainian passport, and said look, Ukraine exists as a state, and 40 million Ukrainian citizens agree with me. The Ukrainian state exists, and this must be taken into account. I go there to express a firm and balanced position.
Moreover, the reason I go there is because I am banned in Ukraine…
V.F.: What do you mean you are banned, you are talking here, and we don’t interrupt you!
O.B.: Do you know ho many times I was invited in Ukraine in the last year, I will tell you, this is my 3rd radio interview in a year on Radio Vesti. Last year neither Shuster or Kiselev invited my even once. I am a person non grata, I am banned.
V.F.: May be you just want to believe that. You are not banned…
O.B.: This started when I said live on one channel that I don’t agree with a term “Anti-terrorist Operation.”
V.F.: Today is a one year anniversary, by the way
O.B.: You don’t shell cities from cannons to fight with terrorists. And I said very honestly on Esspresso TV, imagine if there is a terrorist among us, and in order to find a terrorist they would start firing at us from artillery guns? After that they didn’t even let me finish the show. This is why. Because my position is not wanted by the current Ukrainian authorities
V.F.: You also said in the interview with “Reporter”, that you don’t participate in this war: “I cannot kill my friends, I have friends on each side, in DPR and LPR.”
Who are your friends in DPR and LPR?
O.B.: My friend who left Kiev to go to fight for LPR was killed, and my other friend who was in the Right Sector was also killed. And this is very difficult for me to talk about. I begged each one of them not to take up arms. The one who was in the Right Sector, he was captured then came back, , look, I begged him, if you have problems with money, he didn’t have a job…
When they talk about the people from the Right Sector, those who never saw a live member of the Right Sector, they imagine these people as if they have horns and tails. And before me stands my friend Seva, a former Russian spetsnaz, former Soviet officer, who at 47 years old became a Right Sector fighter. I never had a bad relationship with him. I begged him, don’t take up arms, this conflict will not be solved by force. It’s very bad that it took a violent path.
Y.K.: What does Ukraine has to do with it, Oles, we were forced to..
O.B.: Do you live in Ukraine?
Y.K.: Of course
O.B.: Please tell me those people who are in the volunteer battalions and in the Ukrainian Armed Forces, can you tell me, are they citizens of Ukraine?
Y.K.: Of course …
O.B.: According to my data on the territory of LPR and DPR there are 100,000 people comprising two corps in Eastern Ukraine
Y.K.: How come the General Staff doesn’t have this data?
V.F.: This is according to the data of Oles Buzina, the author?
O.B.: Besides Oles Buzina, the author, there is also Oles Buzina, a journalist…
V.F.: Well I think we had an agreement to represent you as an author …
O.B.: Why I didn’t talk about this before, I didn’t have an opportunity to talk about it, because I am not invited anywhere, only Lyashko and Timoshenko are invited everywhere
What do you think, this 100,000 army is formed from Buryats?
Y.K.: For some reason NATO and Pentagon talk about 13 – 14 000 military.
V.F.: Meanwhile, Oles, we are out of time, we did not discuss any of our planned subjects and for some reason I was expecting that, we must announce the results of the voting, please tell us would you like to learn the results of the voting, who is trusted more, you or Ukrainian Pravda? It’s time for the news, and our discussion is coming to the end
We have 30 seconds left
O.B.: Zakharchenko at the head of DPR, is he a citizen of Ukraine? Yes. Plotnitsky – is he a citizen of Ukraine? Yes. People who support them, are they citizens of Ukraine? Yes.
Y.K.: You think they are all citizens of Ukraine? I am not quite sure about that. Because we heard some reports that those guys who fight there are not quite citizens of Ukraine…
V.F.: We must end, I am sorry, or we will have to go to commercial
O.B.: This version is very convenient for the authorities
V.F.: Our listeners want to find out the results of the voting, Yura please go ahead
Y.K.: We asked who do you trust more: “Ukrainian Pravda” or Buzina. org. The results are 44 – 56%, practically half and half
V.F.: You have divided our audience, as you have intended
O.B.: Damn, its because I don’t receive any grants, from the US or from Russia
Y.K.: Regarding grants, there is information that American organizations spent most money in Russia, it was in first place
V.F.: I am sure you will post the results of this voting on your site. We must end here, thank you very much.