Two Top Journalists Leave Forbes Ukraine in Protest
Deputy editor Oleksandr Akymenko and investigative journalist Sevgil Musaeva resigned from Forbes Ukraine following its purchase by gas mogul Sergei Kurchenko, according to the Kyiv Post. Kurchenko, head of Ukrainian gas giant GazUkraine-2009, acquired Forbes Ukraine parent organization UMH Group in June.
Forbes.ua editor-in-chief Vladimir Fedorin announced plans to resign over the acquisition in October two months ahead of his contract. Fedorin said that his remaining four months with the publication were to give "the people [he] hired the time to decide, whether to leave or to stay," reported The Economist.
Akymenko and Musaeva subsequently announced their resignations. Akymenko, a partner of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, described the purchase of Forbes.au by Kurchenko as a "personal tragedy," in a post on Facebook.
Musaeva said that she could not work for a man she spent six months investigating. She reported on GazUkraine-2009 and Kurchenko for Forbes up until the purchase, saying that both she and Akymenko came under pressure from the publication's management.
Kurchenko, 27, is a mysterious figure who emerged to prominence in the Ukrainian gas industry. FOCUS magazine estimated his net worth to be at least US$650 million.
GazUkraine-2009 has risen to one of Ukraine's largest petroleum entities. The purchase of UMH Group is estimated to have cost US$400-500 million.
Fedorin called the purchase a grab for media influence ahead of the 2015 presidential elections.