The state employment agency had withdrawn the permission to work from regime-critical TV-host Shuster. The reason for this behaviour is an ongoing criminal proceeding because of tax avoidance, explained the authorities to local media in Kiev.
According to this announcement, Schuster tried to hide the investigations against him from the employment agency. He is charged for not having paid taxes for his production company “Savik Shuster Studio”, where the Ukrainian tax office carried out an investigation in 2015. He is accused of tax avoidance amounting to 13 million hryvnias.
As Shuster does not have a Ukrainian citizenship, those accusations justify, according to the relevant authorities, the annulation of his work permission: According to a decision of the Ukrainian Cabinet, a foreigner’s permission to work in Ukraine can be withdrawn in case he is convicted or undergoing criminal proceedings.
„State is unable to bear criticism"
However, Shuster rejects all allegations – and sees the events as sign of political pressure: “State authorities are obviously unable to bear any criticism. The people are coming to us [Shuster’s TV broadcasting] to express their criticism. And the authorities are struggling with this mirror that is held up to them. They will break this mirror, they will break all mirrors [which display criticism], they will destroy all journalists telling the truth and what people think about those in power. This is a threat to all of us”, the 63-year-old journalist said in Tuesday.
As consequence, he declared a hunger strike.
“I guess that those people who make such decisions will lead us to war and to bloodshed. I declare a hunger strike until I regain the right to work in a European country called Ukraine. I lived in Europe, there I got my education and I am ready to sacrifice much for the sake of the European values”,
Shuster explained his decision on 3S.TV.