Ukraine

Ukraine's First Casualties

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Ukraine, by far the biggest of the former Soviet satellites, continues to be rocked by a scandal over the murder of a journalist.

As in Russia, the government has encouraged brutal repression of the media - since 1991, 22 journalists have died in Ukraine because of their work.

The key case is that of Georgy Gongadze, an outspoken journalist who disappeared in Kiev four years ago in September. A few weeks later his headless corpse was found in a ditch. However, it soon emerged that a security guard had bugged the president's office. When the tapes were aired they revealed that the president, Leonid Kuchma, and his ministers had discussed 'crushing' Gongadze and getting rid of him.

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