Vogue Ukraine editor-in-chief suspended for plagiarism

Olga Sushko Image copyright Olga Sushko

The editor-in-chief of Vogue Ukraine has been suspended while the publication investigates accusations of plagiarism against her.

In a Facebook post, Olga Sushko admitted to "sometimes" relying on a "freelance writer" to supply her articles.

She explained that she often "freezes" because of stress, and is sometimes overwhelmed by the amount of work she has to do.

Ms Sushko wrote: "It is truly a very difficult situation, I want to apologise to the readers and the editorial team."

"It happened, it is my mistake... we all make mistakes that we later regret," she added.

Her apology drew heavy criticism from many and, rather than ending the controversy, led to further accusations of plagiarism.

The controversy began after the Kiev Fashion Lavaz account on messaging app Telegram, compared an article by Ms Sushko to a piece written in 2006 by the journalist Shakri Amirkhanova for Harper's Bazaar Russia.

Image copyright Kiev Fashion Lavez
Image caption Ms Sushko's June 2018 article published in Vogue Ukraine (right) next to Ms Amirkhanova's editorial in 2006 Russian Harper's Bazaar (left)

Ms Sushko's apology was met with derision and anger by many online.

"Did you even bother to read the [plagiarised] columns, which you so carelessly signed?" one commenter wrote.

Another said Ms Sushko's apology was "rather mediocre", before joking it was a sign "she wrote that herself".

Journalist Oleksandr Holubov described the publication as "a black hole under a shiny branded cover".

Others joked that they had decided to "outsource" the writing of their Facebook comments.

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However, some seemed less angry about the issue.

One commenter replied to Ms Sushko's message with a shrugging emoji to suggest that the magazine had "doubled" its number of subscribers.

Another, who claims to have known Ms Sushko for a number of years, suggested that she was "very talented" and that "everyone makes mistakes".

Things went from bad to worse for Ms Sushko when a number of people responded to her apology to share further examples of supposed plagiarism.

Ukrainian blogger Aliona Melnyk compared a 2013 article by Ms Sushko with a passage from the book Best Hotels In The World by Zavyalova Viktoriya and Bashkirova Valeriya.

Ms Melnyk wrote that "it seems the visiting ghostwriter has messed up more than once", highlighting an identical passage in Ms Sushko's article.

Karina Kolomiets, another Ukrainian blogger, posted a number of examples of pieces which appear to have the same text as Vogue Ukraine articles.

Ms Kolomiets shared examples of work by "beloved" Russian journalist Marina Prokhorova and Gennady Yozefavichus.

In a joint statement, the magazine's owners Conde Nast and publishers Media Group Ukraine said they "are categorically against plagiarism" and have begun an "internal investigation to clarify all the circumstances and details of what happened".

The publishers added: "At the time of the investigation, Olga Sushko will be removed from the post of editor-in-chief of Vogue UA."

The BBC has contacted Conde Nast and Ms Sushko for further comment.

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