Article by: Antin Mukharsky
Antin Mukharsky is a well-known Ukrainian writer, musician, stage actor and television personality. His famous alter ego is Orest Liutyy, Professor of Anthropology, who appears on stage to sing Ukrainian patriotic and parody songs, what he calls “Fierce Ukrainization”. In February 2014, he performed on the Maidan, including clandestine concerts for Pravy Sektor, and by June 2014, concerts for soldiers of the Ukrainian army in eastern Ukraine. One of his popular songs is “There are no Russian soldiers in the Donbas”. His books include topics on the Maidan, patriotism in modern Ukraine, a novel entitled “I am not Russia”, and a graphic novel about a radioactive skeleton from Chornobyl that has the power to reunite a boy with his father, who died fighting in eastern Ukraine. About his past he says that he used to make a very good living in the Russian-speaking television community until he made a conscious decision to work as a professional artist in Ukrainian literature and entertainment. Mukharsky’s thesis is that the government’s approach to criminal investigations resembles a casting agency striving to find the closest possible fit.
In the wake of the recent shocking arrests of Riffmaster (Donbas war veteran and musician Andriy Antonenko), pediatric surgeon and volunteer Yuliya Kuzmenko, military nurse Yana Dugar, and the search of Mukharsky’s apartment, Mukharsky addresses his open letter to “Showman Zelenskyy” and not to President Zelynskyy. He asserts that Zelenskyy is “still an actor, one who speaks someone else’s words but with his own voice”. Mukharsky is clearly upset by the police raid on his apartment, leaving unasked and unanswered what would have happened to him had he been there. Some people speculate that Mucharsky could also have been an intended suspect, stating that in earlier times, first patriotic soldiers and volunteers were persecuted, and only then was the crackdown extended to cultural personalities. Antin Mukharsky makes the further point that he was also accused of being a neo-Nazi.
Dear Volodymyr Oleksandrovych, Volodienka, Vova…
On December 13, at 5:50 in the morning, at my apartment in Podil (district of Kyiv-Ed), which I have owned through a legal transaction since June 25, 2003, without any warning, a group of special armed forces in camouflage, masks, and protective vests broke down the doors to my place and rushed inside. They did not produce any search warrants or any other documents, justifying their actions as “an immediate necessity to conduct an urgent operation to search the premises.” They forced my tenants face down onto the floor, and spent the next five hours searching the apartment. These so-called “special forces” confiscated their cell phones and computer devices, and left without giving any explanation for their actions. They didn’t provide a search warrant, which is a major violation of existing laws on property and privacy rights, rights and freedoms of citizens in a democratic country. Are we still a democracy? That’s a good question! The details of this incident will be made clear through an investigation. There are already criminal lawyers working on this case.
My Open Letter has a different purpose… your professional abilities to produce a show that resembles something like 95 Kvartal (a production company founded by Volodymyr Zelenskyy-Ed). I am well versed in the television world, and I know the value of a strong production team to take a scenario from concept to completion, even when that project is called “The Pavlo Sheremet Affair”. In this case, I recognize all the elements of a show production, aimed at discrediting the entire civilian volunteer and volunteer fighter movement, gratuitously destroying people’s reputations and futures. At a most critical time for the country, these individuals carried on their backs the burden of the Russo-Ukrainian war, while you, to the satisfaction of the oligarchs and the “Russian world,” were spouting out whatever tunes they told you to sing, denigrating Ukraine as a “prostitute”.
Now, instead of characters like Yuzik, Zhenia and Liena, you have cast Avakov to play the role of Minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Riaboshapka in the role of Prosecutor General, and law enforcement officials to play before our eyes a farcical comedy about suspects in “sports jerseys embossed with logos”, tearing emotionally charged fragments of telephone conversations out of context and presenting them as “evident proof that the accused are guilty”. In addition, your cast of characters floods the information sphere with statements about the volunteers’ possessions – “vehicles-apartments-cottages” – demonstrating how those “terrible patriots enriched themselves during a time of war”!!!
However, in this world of character assassination, I have 100% more experience than you. I know how the government can make a public spectacle of a man’s life, shamelessly, cynically destroying the reputation of people they deem undesirable. I have been in court for over four and a half years, facing every form of antagonistic and unjust violations of law imaginable. I’ve been in first instance court cases where I have faced altered documents, forgeries, false witnesses, and illegal extensions to the procedures. The accusations against me in the pro-Russian and pop culture Ukrainian mass media (including a channel you’re familiar with, 1+1) continually accused me of being a “extreme neo-Nazi and a “delinquent in alimony payments”. And this at a time when I had NO history of bankruptcy and had turned over to my children both property and payments totalling over a million hryvnias!!! To top it all off, lobbyists from the organization “No children are strangers” joined against me, together with high ranking civil servants from the Ministry of Justice, Petrenko, and a representative of the president in the Verkhovna Rada, Iryna Lutsenko. By then I had had enough! You want a show? I’ll give you a show, I decided, and hung a pair of underwear on the doors of the Obolon district court. Then, something happened! Within six months, all the judges were dismissed and others were appointed, unjustly calculated debts were cancelled, and we were able to settle all my financial and legal affairs with the State.
Nonetheless, for a significant percentage of “ordinary people”, most of whom make up your constituency of voters, I remain a fraud and a nationalist-fascist. But, the people demand a show! The public loves a show! Look how happy they are to applaud a showman president. A famous person can work wonders! “It’s not important who you are, but what they say about you on television”. This is a simple formula that is more apropos than ever in today’s information wars.
You starred as a president in the television series, “Servant of the Nation”, and you became the President of Ukraine! Before the entire world you have accused Ukrainian soldiers, civilian volunteers, and medics of being the “murderers of Pavlo Sheremet”, and that is who they have become in the minds of your voters, the very people who chose as president, the hero of a comedy show. In fact, you are still an actor, one who speaks someone else’s words but with your own voice. Those who write your scripts know very well what fictitious scenario of “The Sheremet Affair” would work best to deflect attention away from the death of Artem Myroshnychenko, murdered for his Ukrainian speech, and from the new law on land sales, or even from the Katia Handziuk case.
By promoting peace with Russia, you have declared war against the citizens of your own country! From this moment on, we are all criminals as far as you are concerned… that means every Ukrainian fighter, civilian volunteer, or medic who know each other after just one handshake. Among the entire population of Ukraine, we account for perhaps two percent, an absolutely inconvenient segment of the voting population for those used to creating events whose understanding of the world is filtered through manipulated comedy-information broadcasts. What’s more, through their laziness, apathy, envy and disillusionment, they assume that everyone around them thinks the same, namely that “those who make the greatest show of being patriots are the ones doing the killing”.
You really don’t understand us at all… In fact, you have a poor understanding of real humour to the extent that you try to persecute people whose words you consider to be a threat to your superficial world.
Appropriately, I’ll end this letter with the words of someone you will be familiar with, a television personality from your childhood. “Volodia, Volodienka, you bumbling fool… your bite doesn’t scare me…”
And now you can officially file a case against me for threatening a government official. The show must go on!!!
The pleasure is all mine,
Writer, musician and Ukrainian showman,