Yevheniy Murayev: The Pro-Russia Enigma in Ukrainian Politics

Yevheniy Volodymyrovych Murayev is a pro-Russian Ukrainian politician and media owner. He was the head of the now-outlawed political party Nashi. Following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Murayev faded and was whispered to be in Russia, while other sources asserted he lived in Austria

The British government alleged before the attack that Murayev was selected by the Kremlin to be the next president of Ukraine under a new government. Murayev believed the February 2014 Maidan revolution was a Western-funded coup d’etat. He argued that the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation is acknowledged by the world and that the annexation is advantageous to the government of Ukraine.

In 2014, Murayev became the proprietor of the Kharkiv Internet channel “Robinson TV”, the MIGnews website and the news channel NewsOne. He is the creator of the pro-Russian TV channel NASH, which was possessed by his father Volodymyr Murayev, and at 6 am on 7 November 2018, NASH declared it would begin airing in the fall under the supervision of the former owner of NewsOne. TV channel NewsOne was prohibited by a decree of President Volodymyr Zelensky in February 2021. Since then, NASH has taken the position of the banned pro-Russian TV channels as it mainly features the same guests and similar messages.

In January 2022, the British government blamed Russia for seeking to supplant Ukraine’s government through military force and replace it with a pro-Russian regime possibly led by Murayev. British Foreign Minister Liz Truss noted on Twitter that the UK “will not tolerate Kremlin plot to seat pro-Russian leadership in Ukraine.”

On 24 February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that Russia was executing a “special military operation in Donbas”; soon after Russia began a massive invasion of Ukraine. On 24 February Murayev published on Facebook “All these years, our country has lived by war, built all its guidelines around it, and now the war is on the doorstep of each of us. These are the results of wrong and stupid decisions that everyone will have to unravel.”

He did not cite Russia in this post. Murayev’s latest Facebook post was on 25 February 2022. His whereabouts (and views) since are unknown. Ukrainian Internet publication Obozrevatel declared in early April 2022 that Murayev had moved to Russia with the help of Russian special services. Obozrevatel went on to argue that Russian authorities had assumed Murayev as a possible “Gauleiter” of Kharkiv if the Russians had organised to occupy the city or as a new “president of Ukraine” if Kyiv had been seized.

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