Profile: Tetyana Chornovol

Journalist and opposition activist Tetyana Chornovol, who was severely beaten after her car was rammed on a road outside Kiev on the night of 24-25 December, is one of the more colourful figures on the Ukrainian media scene.

Pictures of Tetyana Chornovol on the signboard of Ukraine's Interior Ministry Pictures of Tetyana Chornovol have been posted by protesters onto the signboard of Ukraine's Interior Ministry in Kiev

Ms Chornovol, who was born in Kiev in 1979, is known for her investigative reports on the murky business affairs and conspicuous wealth of Ukraine's top officials, published regularly by the pro-opposition websites Ukrayinska Pravda and Levyy Bereg, as well as for her sometimes daring direct action stunts.

In a blog entry published on Ukrayinska Pravda on the evening of 24 December under the headline "A hangman lives here", Ms Chornovol posted photographs of what she said was the out-of-town residence of Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko in Kiev Region.

On the morning of 25 December, Ukrayinska Pravda quoted fellow activist Oleksiy Hrytsenko as saying that Ms Chornovol had called him the previous evening to say that she had been followed by Berkut riot police officers while taking photographs at the residence of Prosecutor-General Viktor Pshonka.

In earlier blogs, Ms Chornovol described visits by activists to the residences of other senior officials, including Prime Minister Mykola Azarov. In one, she reported that she had personally thrown eggs and written slogans on the fence at the home of Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of the pro-Russian public organization Ukrainian Choice.

Tetyana Chornovol has also organised several marches on foot to the gates of President Viktor Yanukovych's out-of-town residence at Mezhyhirya.

Video footage

On 25 November, Ms Chornovol was involved in an incident during a pro-EU rally on Kiev's European Square in which opposition supporters attacked a van that they suspected was carrying out covert surveillance.

In video of the incident, Ms Chornovol was seen climbing onto the roof of the van and smashing the roof-window with a heavy object before climbing inside. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) later said that its employees were using the van for standard anti-terrorism precautions.

In August 2013, Ms Chornovol was detained for "disorderly conduct" after she spent six hours on a cornice in the Kiev city hall during a protest intended to draw attention to the "illegitimacy" of the Kiev council.

In August 2012, she was detained by guards for trespassing on the territory of Yanukovych's Mezhyhirya residence after she gained entrance by scaling a high fence. Although most of her photographs were deleted, she still managed to post several shots of Mr Mezhyhirya's golf-course and a vast house-boat in ornate "galleon" style.

In the October 2012 election, Ms Chornovol unsuccessfully ran for parliament as a candidate of the opposition Fatherland party in a Lviv Region constituency.

In 2008, she was at the centre of a libel case in which Donetsk tycoon Rinat Akhmetov sued the Obozrevatel website in a London court over "false allegations" in her reports on his early career. The court awarded Mr Akhmetov $100,000 in damages.

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