Ukraine’s oldest English-language newspaper Kyiv Post ceases publication, whole team fired

The biggest Ukrainian English-language newspaper Kyiv Post ceases publication. It has closed immediately on the 8th of November, as said Adnan Kivan, the Kyiv Post publisher. 

“God bless all of us. One day, we hope to reopen the newspaper bigger and better,” Kivan said. “I thank the entire Kyiv Post team and Brian Bonner for his service to Ukraine and independent journalism in the past 25 years.”

Brian Bonner, the Kyiv Post chief editor, said that he would retire after closing down the operations of the newspaper and preserving its archives. Bonner thanked Kivan “for this strong support since he bought the newspaper.”

Beneath the scenes

The Kyiv Post employee Anna Myroniuk revealed that the team found out they all were fired when they came to work in the morning on the 8th of November. The decision to immediately close the Kyiv Post was made by its owner Adnan Kivan after the editorial staff expressed opposition to the changes, Kivan has announced.

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Photo credit: Anna Myroniuk

“Three weeks ago, the Kyiv Post’s owner, Odesa construction tycoon Adnan Kivan, had other plans: To expand the Kyiv Post and launch a Ukrainian-language outlet under the paper’s brand.

At the time, this news, as well as the appointment of a hand-picked chief editor to head this new section, were a total surprise to the newsroom.

We saw significant risks in the expansion format chosen by Adnan Kivan. We also saw it as an attempt to infringe on our editorial independence.

The newsroom’s attempt to save the editorial independence of the Kyiv Post elicited opposition from its owner.

We consider the cessation of publication and the dismissal of the paper’s staff to be an act of vengeance by Adnan Kivan. He has officially announced plans to “reorganize” the Kyiv Post and to restart operations in a month with a new team,” Anna wrote.

She also stated that from her and her colleagues’ point of view, this is how Kivan is getting rid of inconvenient, fair, and honest journalists.

The team asked Kivan to sell the paper or hand over the Kyiv Post trademark to the newsroom, but he did not agree. Kyiv Post ceases publication anyway.

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Photo credit: Anna Myroniuk

Sevgil Musaieva, a chief editor of one of the largest Ukrainian online newspapers, Ukrainska Pravda, assumed that all this happened due to the pressure on Kivan from the President’s Office.

“The Kyiv Post is the main source of information about Ukraine for embassies, international organizations, and ex-pats. The source that wrote about Wagnergate, the offshore scandal, anticorruption organizations, and reforms in general. Someone did not like it very much,” she said.

About Kivan

Adnan Kivan is the biggest real estate developer from Odesa, Ukraine. He is No. 42 in the list of the top-100 richest Ukrainians. His fortune is $42 million, as estimated by Forbes.

In 1986, Kivan established a company that mediated negotiations between the USSR and its Arab debtors. The company, according to Kivan, received 1.5-7% of the commission on each debt settlement agreement. Before 1990, the businessman, according to his estimation, earned more than $60 million. He launched the construction business in 2005.

Adnan Kivan acquired the Kyiv Post in 2018 from Mohammad Zahur, a Ukrainian-British businessman of Pakistani origin. At that time, the financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but Zahur claimed that the amount of the transaction was “much more than” $3.5 million. According to the service Opendatabot, the legal entity Kyiv Post — TOV Businessgroup — received ₴13,399 million of income in 2020. The losses reflected in the statements amounted to ₴10.9 million. Assets of Businessgroup are estimated at just over ₴4 million, liabilities — ₴22.5 million.