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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 October 2006, 11:12 GMT
The press in Ukraine
Ukraine press graphic

Ukraine has a vibrant and politically diverse newspaper industry, which played an important role in the "Orange Revolution" and is largely free from censorship and government interference. All the main titles are privately owned and offer a wide range of opinions as well as straight factual reporting.

Publicly available information about ownership structure is patchy, unreliable and hard to come by. Political affiliations, on the other hand, are often prominently on display, with all but a handful of titles showing preferences in favour of one of the pro-government groupings or opposition blocs.

Western Ukraine in particular has a strong tradition of critical newspaper journalism. In other parts of the country, such as the industrialised Donetsk region in the east, papers toed the line of the government of former president Leonid Kuchma. They offered strong support to the defeated presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych, who hails from Donetsk.

Their tone remained critical of President Viktor Yushchenko's administration up until Yanukovych's comeback as prime minister in August 2006, whereupon the Donetsk media started focusing their criticism on Yanukovych's opponents in parliament.

With the arrival of the Yanukovych cabinet, seen by many as a reversal of the achievements of the Orange Revolution, it will be interesting to see whether elements of the old Kuchma-era elite now returning to power will try to renew their pressure on the media. So far, there have been no indications that press freedom is being curtailed.

Many titles have a Ukrainian and Russian edition, in order to cater to Ukraine's large Russian-speaking population. Several big-selling tabloids publish only in Russian. All major national papers are based in Kiev, but local papers also have a lot of clout in their home regions. Many Russian tabloids have local editions in Ukraine, but their popularity seems to be declining.

Main papers

Zerkalo Nedeli

Based: Kiev
Founded: 1994
Circulation: 57,000 (2006)

Zerkalo Nedeli is Ukraine's most influential analytical weekly, published in Ukrainian and Russian. Widely read by the Ukrainian elite, the paper is non-partisan. Lately it has been highly critical of both the president's team and its opponents in the camp of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, lamenting the low political standards in Ukraine. It employs high journalistic standards and offers political analysis, exclusive interviews and opinion.

Fakty i Kommentarii

Based: Kiev
Founded: 1997
Circulation: 761,000 (2006)

A very popular Russian-language tabloid offering straight news and interviews, but little analysis. It is controlled by the influential businessman Viktor Pinchuk, who is the son-in-law of former president Leonid Kuchma, and who also owns several national TV channels.


Based: Kiev
Founded: 1996
Circulation: 62,000 (2006)

The centrist broadsheet offers serious political and economic analysis, coming out in Russian and Ukrainian. It is edited by Larysa Ivshyna, the wife of the former defence minister Yevhen Marchuk. The paper has long been campaigning for NATO membership and closer ties with the West. Den journalists rebelled against the owner's attempts to use the paper against Viktor Yushchenko during the election marathon, and Den has maintained a fairly neutral stance since then.


Based: Kiev
Founded: 1997
Circulation: 849,000 (2006)
Probably Ukraine's biggest-selling Russian-language tabloid is linked to the Donetsk political and business group. It was seen to be loyal to Viktor Yanukovych throughout his time in the political wilderness and welcomed his comeback as prime minister. Lately it has been positioning itself as more of a tabloid, focusing on human interest stories and offering little political coverage.

Ukrayina Moloda

Based: Kiev
Founded: n/a
Circulation: 163,000 (2006)

The leading Ukrainian-language pro-Yushchenko daily is geared mostly towards a young audience. It supported Viktor Yushchenko in his bid for the presidency, and is critical of the Yanukovych cabinet. It offers prompt news reporting, both domestic and international, as well as analysis and interviews.

Vecherniye Vesti

Based: Kiev
Founded: 1999
Circulation: 500,000 (2006)

The popular Russian-language tabloid's trademarks are aggressive writing and fierce criticism of both President Viktor Yushchenko and his main rival Viktor Yanukovych. The daily is controlled by a former Yushchenko ally Yuliya Tymoshenko, who was prime minister from February to September 2005, and whose bid for another term as prime minister failed in July 2006.

Silski Visti

Based: Kiev
Founded: 1920
Circulation: 430,000 (2006)

The Ukrainian-language daily targets Ukraine's rural population and boasts the largest number of subscribers. It supports parliament speaker and Socialist leader Oleksandr Moroz, Viktor Yushchenko's former ally who joined the Yanukovych camp after the March 2006 parliamentary election.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.


Country profile: Ukraine
04 Feb 05 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Ukraine
04 Feb 05 |  Country profiles

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