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FTR #982 Manafort and the Snipers: The Azov Battalion and the “Russia-Gate” Psy-Op

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This broadcast was recorded in one, 60-minute segment.

Helmets of the Ukrainian Azov battalion

Introduction: Continuing and deepening analysis of the profound Ukrainian fascist connection to the “Russia-Gate” disinformation inundating the American political and journalistic landscapes, this program highlights circumstances surrounding the sniper shootings  at the Maidan demonstrations.

CORRECTION: Snipers highlighted in the story, such as Skillt, became members of the Azov Battalion. The unit had not formally coalesced as of the time of the Maidan demonstrations.

Those sniper shootings were the key circumstance generating international outrage against the Yanukovich regime and precipitating the rise of the OUN/B Ukrainain fascist successor organizations. Recorded the day after former Yanukovuch adviser and Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was indicted by [VERY] special prosecutor Robert Mueller, this program supplements discussion from FTR #981.

Distilling information concerning the sniper attacks, we review the possibility that Manafort might have played an advisory role in the sniper shootings, that the shootings might have been a provocation and examine the role of the Nazi Azov battalion and its proponents and component figures in connection with the Maidan shootings and the “Russia-Gate” propaganda. 

Emblem of the Ukrainian Azov Battalion

We wonder if recent attacks in Ukraine might be elements of a “sanitization” operation, aimed at eliminating participants in the Maidan shootings (provocation?), while blaming the violence (of course) on Russia.

Major considerations in the Azov Battalion/Maidan sniper/Manafort imbroglio include:

  1. Alleged “Russian agent” Paul Manafort–identified in FTR #919 as a probable “advance man” for regimes targeted for destabilization–may well have been the person who recommended to his “client” Yanukovich to fire on the Maidan demonstrators. It was that gunfire that signalled the end of Yanukovich’s government. This reinforces Mr. Emory’s take on Manafort. ” . . . . The lawyer’s demands for explanation spring from the hacking earlier this year of the iPhone of Mr Manafort’s daughter, [since confirmed as genuine, at least in part–D.E.] Andrea, with around 300,000 messages published in the dark web. One of the texts sent to her sister Jessica said: ‘Don’t fool yourself. That money we have is blood money.’ It continued ‘You know he has killed people in Ukraine? Knowingly, as a tactic to outrage the world and get focus on Ukraine. Remember when there were all those deaths taking place. A while back. About a year ago. Revolts and what not. Do you know whose strategy that was to cause that, to send those people get them slaughtered.’ . . . .”
  2. Reinforcing the hypothesis that the Maidan shootings were a provocation is the disclosure by Ukraine’s chief prosecutor that the rifles allegedly used to fire on the Maidan demonstrators were recovered by an alleged Yanukovich operative and leader of the snipers who was one of the demonstrators on the Maidan! “ . . . Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko says that the man who helped the so-called “black hundred” of police task force Berkut, who had been shooting at protesters during the Revolution of Dignity, flee Kyiv and deliberately drowned their weapons to conceal evidence, was himself one of the participants of the Maidan protests. ‘With the help of military counterintelligence, we have found weapons of the ‘black hundred,’ including a sniper rifle, which the entire country saw on footage showing the shooting at the protesters from outside the October Palace,” he told the 112 Ukraine TV channel. . . . ‘We found it with a large number of automatic rifles on the bottom of one of Kiev’s lakes. They were cut and drowned in one batch by a single group, whose leader is one of the targets of our investigation. Unfortunately, this man who, according to our version, upon the orders of [former Interior Minister Vitaliy] Zakharchenko helped the ‘black hundred’ flee Kyiv, destroyed and drowned their weapons, he, himself, was with us on the Maidan,’ Lutsenko said. . . . “
  3. The journalistic viewpoint on a Ukrainian hacker allegedly used by “Russian hackers” against the U.S. comes from  Anton Gerashchenko, part of the same milieu as Pravy Sektor, Azov, etc. Gerashchenko is, in fact, an apologist for Azov, as discussed in FTR #’s 803, 804, 808, 818:  . . . . Security experts were initially left scratching their heads when the Department of Homeland Security on Dec. 29 released technical evidence of Russian hacking that seemed to point not to Russia, but rather to Ukraine. . . A member of Ukraine’s Parliament with close ties to the security services, Anton Gerashchenko, said that the interaction was online or by phone and that the Ukrainian programmer had been paid to write customized malware without knowing its purpose, only later learning it was used in Russian hacking. . . . It is not clear whether the specific malware the programmer created was used to hack the D.N.C. servers. . . .”
  4. Exemplifying the Ukrainian fascists at the epicenter of “Russia-Gate” are a group of Ukrainian hackers, working in tandem with fascist politicians like the aforementioned Anton Gerashchenko. (This is discussed in FTR #981.) The hacker/Ukrainian fascist link spawned the “PropOrNot” list of “Russian/Kremlin/Putin” dupes in the U.S. media: This list was compiled by the Ukrainian intelligence service, interior ministry and–ahem–hackers: “. . . . One of the more frightening policies enacted by the current oligarch-nationalist regime in Kiev is an online blacklist [42] of journalists accused of collaborating with pro-Russian ‘terrorists.’ [43]  The website, ‘Myrotvorets’ [43] or ‘Peacemaker’—was set up by Ukrainian hackers working with state intelligence and police, all of which tend to share the same ultranationalist ideologies as Parubiy and the newly-appointed neo-Nazi chief of the National Police. . . . The website is designed to frighten and muzzle journalists from reporting anything but the pro-nationalist party line, and it has the backing of government officials, spies and police—including the SBU (Ukraine’s successor to the KGB), the powerful Interior Minister Avakov and his notorious far-right deputy, Anton Geraschenko. Ukraine’s journalist blacklist website—operated by Ukrainian hackers working with state intelligence—led to a rash of death threats against the doxxed journalists, whose email addresses, phone numbers and other private information was posted anonymously to the website. . . .”
  5. Anton Geraschenko is also a primary associate and defender of the Azov Battalion and the Nazi Social National Assembly that helped spawn it and overlaps its operations: ” . . . . The Azov Bat­tal­ion was formed and armed by Ukraine’s inte­rior min­istry. A min­is­te­r­ial adviser, Anton Gerashchenko [who is networking with Ukrainian hackers looming large in the “Russia-Gate” investigation–D.E.], got angry when I asked him if the bat­tal­ion had any neo-Nazi links through the Social National Assembly. ‘The Social National Assem­bly is not a neo-Nazi organ­i­sa­tion,’ he said. ‘It is a party of Ukrain­ian patri­ots who are giv­ing their lives while the rich Euro­peans are only talk­ing about sup­port­ing Ukraine. When, may I ask, will Eng­lish peo­ple come here and help us fight ter­ror­ists sent by Russia’s Pres­i­dent [Vladimir] Putin, instead of lec­tur­ing us on our moral val­ues or people’s polit­i­cal affiliations?’ Mr Gerashchenko was adamant, how­ever, that there were no for­eign cit­i­zens fight­ing in the Azov Battalion. ‘There are for­eign jour­nal­ists, from Swe­den, Spain and Italy, who have come to report on the heroic achieve­ments of the fight­ers in their strug­gle against ter­ror­ism,’ he said. . . .”
  6. Mikael Skillt (whom we discussed in FTR #803), alleges that he spoke to two apparent members of the unit contained at two snipers, some of whom were present during the Maidan protests and appeared to have fired at Ukrainian police units. This reinforces the view that the violence that led to the ouster of Yanukovych was the outgrowth of a provocation. Note that the Azov’s number two man–Ihor Mosiychuk–was sentenced to prison for a planned bombing in January 2014. His supporters demonstrated on his behalf on the Maidan, helping to create the turmoil that led to Yanukovich’s overthrowMight this have been part of the same gambit as the Maidan sniper attacks? ” . . . . He [Swedish army sniper Mikael Skillt] admits, however, to having spoken to at least two snipers, who, during the Maidan protests had shot at police from the Trade Union House in Kiev – at the time, the headquarters of the protestors. ‘Their mission was to take out Berkut’s snipers,’ explained Skillt.[7] The deadly shots from the Maidan, which in Western propaganda had been used to legitimize the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych, have never been investigated by the putsch regime, and Berlin has never applied pressure for an investigation. . . . [On] January 10, 2014, Mosiychuk and two other fascists had been found guilty and sentenced to several years in prison for a planned August 2011 bombing attack. On the evening of January 10, ultra-right-wingers staged demonstrations protesting the sentence. The demonstrations degenerated into violent confrontations with the police. These confrontations, in turn, were then used by Berlin, Brussels and Washington to accuse Yanukovych of excessive use of force on the ‘movement fighting for democracy.’ . . .”
  7. The assassination of a Chechyan sniper fighting in Ukraine suggests the possibility that the Maidan sniper dynamic may be in the process of being sanitized, after Mr. Manafort‘s indictment, yesterdayAre the assassination of Ukrainian sniper Amina Okuyeva and the bombing attack on Ihor Mosiychuk linked? (Mosiychuk was Azov’s second in command, for whom Okuyeve worked as an advisor.) Was a previous alleged attempt on the live of Okuyeva and her husband by an assassin pretending to be a “foreign journalist” linked? Might the “foreign journalist” have been connected to the Azov Battalion? ” . . . . A Ukrainian veteran sniper was killed, and her husband, who allegedly tried to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin, was wounded in a shooting on Monday near Kyiv. . . . Amina Okuyeva and Adam Osmayev were riding in a car past a railroad crossing in the village of Hlevakha when their vehicle came under heavy fire from someone in the bushes on the side of the road. . . . Osmayev, who was also shot in the leg, has since blamed Russia for the attack and said that it was connected to a car-bombing last week that wounded Ukrainian lawmaker Ihor Mosiychuk . . . Okuyeva had once worked for Mosiychuk as an adviser, according to Reuters. . . . This wasn’t the first assassination attempt the couple had faced. On June 1, Osmayev and Okuyeva were in a car with a man, Artur Denisultanov-Kurmakayev, masquerading as a French journalist named Alex Werner. [Was this one of the “foreign journalists” Anton Gerashchenko claimed were coming to Ukraine?–D.E.] At one point, Denisultanov-Kurmakayev asked them to pull the car over so that he could give them a gift from his editors. ‘When he opened it I spotted a Glock pistol,’Okuyeva told RFERL after the June attack. ‘He immediately grabbed it and started shooting at Adam.’ . . . “

Program and Written Description Highlights Include:

  1. Review of Ukraine’s lustration laws–the three-sided statute targeted corruption, enhanced “anti-Communism” and–most importantly–criminalized any critical commentary on the OUN/B and UPA’s collaboration with the Third Reich.
  2. The efforts by Ukrainian fascists of the Pravy Sektor milieu to oust Petro Poroshenko by reporting corruption to U.S. authorities.
  3. Review of the Ukrainian intelligence service’s collaboration with CIA on the Manafort investigation.
  4. The role of OUN/B devotee Valentyn Nalyvaichenko in governing the SBU (the Ukrainian intelligence service.)
  5. Review of the operational links between the Ukrainian UNO-UNSA (the latest iteration of the UPA) and anti-Russian Chechen Islamists.
  6. Review of Jaroslav Stetsko’s personal secretary–Roman Svarych–as spokesman for the Azov Battalion.

1. Alleged “Russian agent” Paul Manafort–identified in FTR #919 as a probable “advance man” for regimes targeted for destabilization–may well have been the person who recommended to his “client” Yanukovich to fire on the Maidan demonstrators. It was that gunfire that signalled the end of Yanukovich’s government. This reinforces Mr. Emory’s take on Manafort. ” . . . . The lawyer’s demands for explanation spring from the hacking earlier this year of the iPhone of Mr Manafort’s daughter, [since confirmed as being genuine, at least in part–D.E.] Andrea, with around 300,000 messages published in the dark web. One of the texts sent to her sister Jessica said: ‘Don’t fool yourself. That money we have is blood money.’ It continued ‘You know he has killed people in Ukraine? Knowingly, as a tactic to outrage the world and get focus on Ukraine. Remember when there were all those deaths taking place. A while back. About a year ago. Revolts and what not. Do you know whose strategy that was to cause that, to send those people get them slaughtered.’ . . . .”

“As the Russia Investigation Continues, the Focus Has Intensified on Ukraine”  by Kim Sengupta; The Independent; 9/21/2017.

. . . . Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Bureau, set up under Western supervision, has allegedly discovered secret accounts, the so-called “black ledger”, supposedly showing that in a period of five years, between 2007 and 2012, when Mr Manafort received $12.7m from Mr Yanukovych’s Party of Regions. Officials hold that the money was part of an illegal clandestine system which had been used to pay off a number of figures. Mr Manafort has insisted that he had not received the money.

Human rights groups in Ukraine also want to question Mr Manafort about killings during the Maidan protests in Kiev in 2014. Eugenia Zakrevska, a lawyer representing families of victims, is part of a team seeking information on who was complicit in President Yanukovych’s ordering security forces to open fire on demonstrators.

The lawyer’s demands for explanation spring from the hacking earlier this year of the iPhone of Mr Manafort’s daughter, Andrea, with around 300,000 messages published in the dark web. One of the texts sent to her sister Jessica said: “Don’t fool yourself. That money we have is blood money.” It continued “You know he has killed people in Ukraine? Knowingly, as a tactic to outrage the world and get focus on Ukraine. Remember when there were all those deaths taking place. A while back. About a year ago. Revolts and what not. Do you know whose strategy that was to cause that, to send those people get them slaughtered.” . . . 

2. It’s worth noting that Paul Manafort has confirmed that some of the hacked texts are real. As the following article also notes, Andrea Manafort was actually with her dad in Florida during the sniper attacks. Might he have shared details of his behavior visa

“Ukraine Lawyer Seeks Probe of Alleged Hacked Texts of Manafort’s Daughter” by Simon Ostrovsky; CNN; 03/11/2017

. . . . Manafort would not confirm whether the texts were genuine, but in a Politico story last month on the texts, he indicated that some of them were.

The texts suggest that Manafort and his daughter were together in Florida on the day of the worst violence in Kiev on February 20th, when close to 50 people died. . . . 

3. Reinforcing the hypothesis that the Maidan shootings were a provocation is the disclosure by Ukraine’s chief prosecutor that the rifles allegedly used to fire on the Maidan demonstrators were recovered by an alleged Yanukovich operative and leader of the snipers who was one of the demonstrators on the Maidan! “ . . . Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko says that the man who helped the so-called “black hundred” of police task force Berkut, who had been shooting at protesters during the Revolution of Dignity, flee Kyiv and deliberately drowned their weapons to conceal evidence, was himself one of the participants of the Maidan protests. ‘With the help of military counterintelligence, we have found weapons of the ‘black hundred,’ including a sniper rifle, which the entire country saw on footage showing the shooting at the protesters from outside the October Palace,” he told the 112 Ukraine TV channel. . . . ‘We found it with a large number of automatic rifles on the bottom of one of Kiev’s lakes. They were cut and drowned in one batch by a single group, whose leader is one of the targets of our investigation. Unfortunately, this man who, according to our version, upon the orders of [former Interior Minister Vitaliy] Zakharchenko helped the ‘black hundred’ flee Kyiv, destroyed and drowned their weapons, he, himself, was with us on the Maidan,’ Lutsenko said. . . . “

“Prosecutors say public to face unpleasant surprise in Maidan killings probe”; Unian.info; 07/24/2016

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko says that the man who helped so-called “black hundred” of police task force Berkut, who had been shooting at protesters during the Revolution of Dignity, flee Kyiv and deliberately drowned their weapons to conceal evidence, was himself one of the participants of the Maidan protests.

“With the help of military counterintelligence, we have found weapons of the “black hundred,” including a sniper rifle, which the entire country saw on footage showing the shooting at the protesters from outside the October Palace,” he told the 112 Ukraine TV channel.

“We found it with a large number of automatic rifles on the bottom of one of Kiev’s lakes. They were cut and drowned in one batch by a single group, whose leader is one of the targets of our investigation. Unfortunately, this man who, according to our version, upon the orders of [former Interior Minister Vitaliy] Zakharchenko helped the “black hundred” flee Kyiv, destroyed and drowned their weapons, he, himself, was with us on the Maidan,” Lutsenko said. . . .

. . . . Earlier, Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Chief Military Prosecutor Anatoliy Matios said: “When public learns who is involved in this, people will be very surprised.” According to him, information to be published may cause rejection, “but the truth is the truth.” . . . .

4a. Note the Ukrainian intelligence services’ apparent role in the “investigation” into Russia-Gate. Note the CIA’s role in this concatenation. (CIA is also deeply connected to Felix Sater, Trump’s point man for his dealings with Russia. ” . . . . . . . . While still politically influenced, Ukrainian law enforcement is no longer a swamp of incompetence and corruption. It has been able to monitor Mr. Manafort’s former business associates and turn up evidence of Russian hacking in the 2016 United States election, in part owing to American support. . . . [The “evidence” comes from Ukrainian security services–D.E.]”

“Schooled in Scandal: What Makes Ukraine a Hotbed of Intrigue” by Andrew Higgins and Andrew E. Kramer; The New York Times; 10/7/2017.

. . . . While still politically influenced, Ukrainian law enforcement is no longer a swamp of incompetence and corruption. It has been able to monitor Mr. Manafort’s former business associates and turn up evidence of Russian hacking in the 2016 United States election, in part owing to American support.

The C.I.A. tore out a Russian-provided cellphone surveillance system, and put in American-supplied computers, said Viktoria Gorbuz, a former head of liaison at the S.B.U.

Ms. Gorbuz’s department translated telephone intercepts from the new system and forwarded them to the Americans.

It is unclear whether any phone intercepts relevant to the election meddling investigation have gone to the American authorities. But a Ukrainian law enforcement official has given journalists partial phone records of former associates of Mr. Manafiort. . . .

4b. Next, we review an arti­cle about for­eign neo-Nazis in the ranks of the Ukrainian military formations. The neo-Nazi Azov Bat­tal­ion was formed and armed by the inte­rior min­istry. The bat­tal­ion leader–Andrei Biletsky is also the leader of the “Social National Assem­bly.” The number two man in Azov is Ihor Mosiychuk, now in Ukraine’s parliament. Swedish army veteran, sniper and Nazi Mikael Skillt serves with Azov. Note Anton Geraschchenko’s relationship with Azov, as well as his statement that “foreign journalists” are serving with Azov. ” . . . . Mikael Skillt is a Swedish sniper, with seven years’ expe­ri­ence in the Swedish Army and the Swedish National Guard. He is cur­rently fight­ing with the Azov Bat­tal­ion, a pro-Ukrainian vol­un­teer armed group in east­ern Ukraine. . . . The key fig­ures in the Azov Bat­tal­ion are its com­man­der, Andriy Bilet­sky, and his deputy, Ihor Mosiychuk. . . . Andriy Bilet­sky is also the leader of a Ukrain­ian organ­i­za­tion called the Social National Assem­bly. . . . The Azov Bat­tal­ion was formed and armed by Ukraine’s inte­rior min­istry. A min­is­te­r­ial adviser, Anton Gerashchenko [who is networking with Ukrainian hackers looming large in the ‘Russia-Gate’ investigation–D.E.], got angry when I asked him if the bat­tal­ion had any neo-Nazi links through the Social National Assembly. ‘The Social National Assem­bly is not a neo-Nazi organ­i­za­tion,’ he said. . . . Mr Gerashchenko was adamant, how­ever, that there were no for­eign cit­i­zens fight­ing in the Azov Battalion. ‘There are for­eign jour­nal­ists, from Swe­den, Spain and Italy, who have come to report on the heroic achieve­ments of the fight­ers in their strug­gle against ter­ror­ism,’ he said. . . .”

“Ukraine Con­flict: ‘White power’ War­rior from Swe­den” by Dina New­man; BBC News; 7/16/2014.

The appear­ance of far-right activists, both for­eign and home-grown, among the Ukrain­ian vol­un­teers fight­ing in east Ukraine is caus­ing unease.

Mikael Skillt is a Swedish sniper, with seven years’ expe­ri­ence in the Swedish Army and the Swedish National Guard. He is cur­rently fight­ing with the Azov Bat­tal­ion, a pro-Ukrainian vol­un­teer armed group in east­ern Ukraine. He is known to be dan­ger­ous to the rebels: report­edly there is a bounty of nearly $7,000 (£4,090; 5,150 euros) on his head.

In a tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion from an undis­closed loca­tion, Mr Skillt told me more about his duties: “I have at least three pur­poses in the Azov Bat­tal­ion: I am a com­man­der of a small recon­nais­sance unit, I am also a sniper, and some­times I work as a spe­cial coor­di­na­tor for clear­ing houses and going into civil­ian areas.” . . . . 

As to his polit­i­cal views, Mr Skillt prefers to call him­self a nation­al­ist, but in fact his views are typ­i­cal of a neo-Nazi.

“It’s all about how you see it,” he says. “I would be an idiot if I said I did not want to see sur­vival of white peo­ple. After World War Two, the vic­tors wrote their his­tory. They decided that it’s always a bad thing to say I am white and I am proud.”

‘One stray liberal’

Mr Skillt believes races should not mix. He says the Jews are not white and should not mix with white peo­ple. . . .

. . . . The key fig­ures in the Azov Bat­tal­ion are its com­man­der, Andriy Bilet­sky, and his deputy, Ihor Mosiychuk.

Andriy Bilet­sky is also the leader of a Ukrain­ian organ­i­sa­tion called the Social National Assem­bly. Its aims are stated in one of their online publications:

* “to pre­pare Ukraine for fur­ther expan­sion and to strug­gle for the lib­er­a­tion of the entire White Race from the dom­i­na­tion of the inter­na­tion­al­ist spec­u­la­tive capital”

* “to pun­ish severely sex­ual per­ver­sions and any inter­ra­cial con­tacts that lead to the extinc­tion of the white man”

This, accord­ing to experts, is a typ­i­cal neo-Nazi narrative.

‘For­eign journalists’

The Azov Bat­tal­ion was formed and armed by Ukraine’s inte­rior min­istry. A min­is­te­r­ial adviser, Anton Gerashchenko [who is networking with Ukrainian hackers looming large in the “Russia-Gate” investigation–D.E.], got angry when I asked him if the bat­tal­ion had any neo-Nazi links through the Social National Assembly.

“The Social National Assem­bly is not a neo-Nazi organ­i­sa­tion,” he said.

“It is a party of Ukrain­ian patri­ots who are giv­ing their lives while the rich Euro­peans are only talk­ing about sup­port­ing Ukraine. When, may I ask, will Eng­lish peo­ple come here and help us fight ter­ror­ists sent by Russia’s Pres­i­dent [Vladimir] Putin, instead of lec­tur­ing us on our moral val­ues or people’s polit­i­cal affiliations?”

Mr Gerashchenko was adamant, how­ever, that there were no for­eign cit­i­zens fight­ing in the Azov Battalion.

“There are for­eign jour­nal­ists, from Swe­den, Spain and Italy, who have come to report on the heroic achieve­ments of the fight­ers in their strug­gle against ter­ror­ism,” he said.

He insisted he had never heard of Mikael Skillt, the Swedish sniper. . . .

5. In numerous programs, we have highlighted the Azov Battalion, one of many Nazi/fascist combatant militias fighting as part of the Ukrainian military. Another useful post from german-foreign-policy.com highlights the fact that the Azov Battalion was formed by Oleh Lyashko, who also heads the Radical Party.

Mikael Skillt (whom we discussed in FTR #803), alleges that he spoke to two aparent members of the unit contained at two snipers, some of whom were present during the Maidan protests and appeared to have fired at Ukrainian police units. This reinforces the view that the violence that led to the ouster of Yanukovych was the outgrowth of a provocation.

Note that the Azov’s number two man–Ihor Mosiychuk–was sentenced to prison for a planned bombing in January 2014. His supporters demonstrated on his behalf on the Maidan, helping to create the turmoil that led to Yanukovich’s overthrow.

” . . . . He [Swedish army sniper Mikael Skillt] admits, however, to having spoken to at least two snipers, who, during the Maidan protests had shot at police from the Trade Union House in Kiev – at the time, the headquarters of the protestors. ‘Their mission was to take out Berkut’s snipers,’ explained Skillt.[7] The deadly shots from the Maidan, which in Western propaganda had been used to legitimize the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych, have never been investigated by the putsch regime, and Berlin has never applied pressure for an investigation. . . . [On] January 10, 2014, Mosiychuk and two other fascists had been found guilty and sentenced to several years in prison for a planned August 2011 bombing attack. On the evening of January 10, ultra-right-wingers staged demonstrations protesting the sentence. The demonstrations degenerated into violent confrontations with the police. These confrontations, in turn, were then used by Berlin, Brussels and Washington to accuse Yanukovych of excessive use of force on the ‘movement fighting for democracy.’ . . .”  

“Ukrainian Patriots”; german-foreign-policy.com; 7/30/2014.

. . . . He [Oleh Lyashko] is also co-founder and supporter of the Azov Battalion, a militia of over one hundred – mainly fascist – combatants, including a Swedish Neo-Nazi sniper. He has reported that other snipers had already been in action for the opposition during the Maidan protests.It has never been revealed, who fired the fatal shots on February 20. In this highly charged atmosphere, the Ukrainian government is taking steps that indicate a political cultural development even further to the right. It is planning to censure films and books from Russia or to restrict their sales. . . .

. . . .  The Swedish neo-Nazi Mikael Skillt is a member of the Azov Battalion. Skillt, a member of the fascist Svenskarnas Parti (Party of the Swedes), says that he has “at least” three purposes in the unit: commander of “a small reconnaissance unit,” a “sniper” and sometimes he works “as a special coordinator for clearing houses and going into civilian areas.” The person, who is rumored to have been captured by East Ukrainian insurgents, had been a sniper for six years in the Swedish military. He says, he has only been engaged in the Ukrainian conflict since March. He admits, however, to having spoken to at least two snipers, who, during the Maidan protests had shot at police from the Trade Union House in Kiev – at the time, the headquarters of the protestors. “Their mission was to take out Berkut’s snipers,” explained Skillt.[7] The deadly shots from the Maidan, which in Western propaganda had been used to legitimize the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych, have never been investigated by the putsch regime, and Berlin has never applied pressure for an investigation.

Political Prisoners

The Azov Battalion has close ties to Oleh Lyashko, whose “Radical Party,” would currently be able to poll a fourth of the votes if elections were held. Lyashko is considered to be one of the Azov’s founders. For internet videos, he allows himself to be filmed at joint actions with Asov combatants. The Azov Battalion’s second in command, Ihor Mosiychuk, had been elected to Kiev’s Municipal Council on the electoral list of Lyashko’s Radical Party. This was not the first time Lyashko had intervened on his behalf. January 10, 2014, Mosiychuk and two other fascists had been found guilty and sentenced to several years in prison for a planned August 2011 bombing attack. On the evening of January 10, ultra-right-wingers staged demonstrations protesting the sentence. The demonstrations degenerated into violent confrontations with the police. These confrontations, in turn, were then used by Berlin, Brussels and Washington to accuse Yanukovych of excessive use of force on the “movement fighting for democracy.” The protests were unsuccessful. However, immediately after the Kiev coup, Mosiychuk and his accomplices profited from the amnesty, the pro-western Ukrainian parliament granted on February 24, 2014 to “political prisoners”. Due to Lyashko’s decisive engagement, Mosiychuk profited from the amnesty, was liberated from prison and could participate in the organization the Azov Battalion. . . .

. . . . . [1] Jakov Devcic: Jazenjuks Rücktrittsversuch. www.kas.de 29.07.2014.
[2] Ukraine will russische Kultur zurückdrängen. www.n-tv.de 29.07.2014.
[3] S. dazu Termin beim Botschafter.
[4] Dina Newman: Ukraine conflict: “White power” warrior from Sweden. www.bbc.co.uk 16.07.2014.
[5] Daniel McLaughlin: Foreigners join far-right militias in Ukraine’s fight against rebels. www.irishtimes.com 17.07.2014.
[6] Hal Foster: A special-forces unit, started from scratch, wins a key battle in Ukraine. en.tengrinews.kz 21.06.2014.
[7] Swede Patrols Ukraine’s Streets with Right-wing Paramilitaries. www.friatider.se 26.03.2014.

6. Illustrating the direct line of institutional evolution from the OUN/B to the present, Pravy Sektor is the political arm of the UNA-UNSO, the latest iteration of the OUN/B’s military cadre, the UPA. It elected Yuriy Shukheyvch as its head. Shukheyvch is the son of OUN/B commander Roman Shukhevych, declared a “Hero of Ukraine” by the Yuschenko government. Roman also headed the Nachtigall Battalion in their liquidation of the Lvov Ghetto in 1941.

In FTR #967, we noted that the city of Lviv (Lvov) has initiated a festival in honor of Shukhevych on the anniversary of Nachtigall Battalion’s liquidation of the Lvov ghetto!

Note that the UNA/UNSO organization–the political parent of Pravy Sektor–has apparently been active in Chechnya as well. This is a precursor to the Chechnyan participation in the Ukraine conflict, discussed in–among other programs–FTR #862.

“The Durability of Ukrainian Fascism” by Peter Lee; Strategic Culture; 6/9/2014.

. . . . One of Bandera’s lieutenants was Roman Shukhevych.  In February 1945, Shukhevych issued an order stating, “In view of the success of the Soviet forces it is necessary to speed up the liquidation of the Poles, they must be totally wiped out, their villages burned … only the Polish population must be destroyed.”

As a matter of additional embarrassment, Shukhevych was also a commander in the Nachtigall (Nightingale) battalion organized by the Wehrmacht.

Today, a major preoccupation of Ukrainian nationalist historical scholarship is beating back rather convincing allegations by Russian, Polish, and Jewish historians that Nachtigall was an important and active participant in the massacre of Lviv Jews orchestrated by the German army upon its arrival in June 1941. . . .

. . . . Yuriy Shukhevych’s role in modern Ukrainian fascism is not simply that of an inspirational figurehead and reminder of his father’s anti-Soviet heroics for proud Ukrainian nationalists.  He is a core figure in the emergence of the key Ukrainian fascist formation, Pravy Sektor and its paramilitary.

And Pravy Sektor’s paramilitary, the UNA-UNSO, is not an “unruly” collection of weekend-warrior-wannabes, as Mr. Higgins might believe.

UNA-UNSO was formed during the turmoil of the early 1990s, largely by ethnic Ukrainian veterans of the Soviet Union’s bitter war in Afghanistan.  From the first, the UNA-UNSO has shown a taste for foreign adventures, sending detachments to Moscow in 1990 to oppose the Communist coup against Yeltsin, and to Lithuania in 1991.  With apparently very good reason, the Russians have also accused UNA-UNSO fighters of participating on the anti-Russian side in Georgia and Chechnya.

After formal Ukrainian independence, the militia elected Yuriy Shukhevych—the son of OUN-B commander Roman Shukhevych– as its leader and set up a political arm, which later became Pravy Sektor. . . .

7. An interesting assassination of a Chechyan sniper fighting in Ukraine suggests the possibility that the Maidan sniper dynamic may be in the process of being sanitized, after Mr. Manafort‘s indictment, yesterdayAre the assassination of Ukrainian sniper Amina Okuyeva and the bombing attack on Ihor Mosiychuk linked? (Mosiychuk was Azov’s second in command, for whom Okuyeve worked as an advisor.) Was a previous alleged attempt on the live of Okuyeva and her husband by an assassin pretending to be a “foreign journalist” linked? Might the “foreign journalist” have been connected to the Azov Battalion? ” . . . . A Ukrainian veteran sniper was killed, and her husband, who allegedly tried to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin, was wounded in a shooting on Monday near Kyiv. . . . Amina Okuyeva and Adam Osmayev were riding in a car past a railroad crossing in the village of Hlevakha when their vehicle came under heavy fire from someone in the bushes on the side of the road. . . . Osmayev, who was also shot in the leg, has since blamed Russia for the attack and said that it was connected to a car-bombing last week that wounded Ukrainian lawmaker Ihor Mosiychuk . . . Okuyeva had once worked for Mosiychuk as an adviser, according to Reuters. . . . This wasn’t the first assassination attempt the couple had faced. On June 1, Osmayev and Okuyeva were in a car with a man, Artur Denisultanov-Kurmakayev, masquerading as a French journalist named Alex Werner. [Was this one of the “foreign journalists” Anton Gerashchenko claimed were coming to Ukraine?–D.E.] At one point, Denisultanov-Kurmakayev asked them to pull the car over so that he could give them a gift from his editors. ‘When he opened it I spotted a Glock pistol,’Okuyeva told RFERL after the June attack. ‘He immediately grabbed it and started shooting at Adam.’ . . . “

“A Veteran Ukrainian Sniper Whose Husband Allegedly Plotted to Kill Putin Was Shot Dead Near Kyiv” by Daniel Brown; Business Insider; 10/31/2017.

  • A Ukrainian veteran sniper was shot dead, and her husband, who allegedly tried to kill Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2012, was wounded near Kyiv.
  • The Chechen couple had both fought against Russian-backed separatists in the Donbas and were considered heroes in Ukraine.
  • The incident is the latest of more than a dozen assassinations or attempted assassinations in Ukraine since 2014.

A Ukrainian veteran sniper was killed, and her husband, who allegedly tried to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin, was wounded in a shooting on Monday near Kyiv.

Amina Okuyeva and Adam Osmayev were riding in a car past a railroad crossing in the village of Hlevakha when their vehicle came under heavy fire from someone in the bushes on the side of the road.

“She was shot in the head. I drove as much as I could until the car stopped, I don’t know, the engine was also hit. I tried to give her first aid, but she was shot in the head,” Osmayev told Lb.ua, a Ukrainian media outlet.

Osmayev, who was also shot in the leg, has since blamed Russia for the attack and said that it was connected to a car-bombing last week that wounded Ukrainian lawmaker Ihor Mosiychuk, who routinely insulted Russian politicians and once posted a video on YouTube threatening to kill Ramzan Kadyrov, Putin’s hand-picked leader of Chechnya.

Okuyeva had once worked for Mosiychuk as an adviser, according to Reuters.

This wasn’t the first assassination attempt the couple had faced. On June 1, Osmayev and Okuyeva were in a car with a man, Artur Denisultanov-Kurmakayev, masquerading as a French journalist named Alex Werner.

At one point, Denisultanov-Kurmakayev asked them to pull the car over so that he could give them a gift from his editors.

“When he opened it I spotted a Glock pistol,” Okuyeva told RFERL after the June attack. “He immediately grabbed it and started shooting at Adam.”

Okuyeva then pulled out her own gun and shot the would-be assassin three times before, as she told RFERL, “I pounced on him with my bare hands and he gave up the gun.”

Osmayev was shot in the chest, but his wife treated “Adam’s wound immediately” and he survived that attack as well. Ukraine has since blamed Russia for orchestrating the hit.

In 2012, Osmayev was accused by Moscow of plotting to kill Putin. He was arrested in Kyiv in February 2012 for possession of illegal explosives and was even charged with the plot by Ukrainian authorities at the behest of Russia.

But Kyiv refused to extradite Osmayev, and the charges were eventually dropped. He was released from custody in November 2014 – just months after former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich had fled to Russia and fighting started in the Donbas, in eastern Ukraine.

Okuyeva and Osmayev – both Muslims and ethnic Chechens – have been celebrated in Ukraine as heroes, having served in Chechen volunteer battalions fighting against Russian-backed separatist in the Donbas.

Okuyeva, who reportedly wore her hijab in battle and fought for equality among men and women in the military, was a paramedic and sniper. Osmayev became commander of the volunteer Dzhokhar Dudayev battalion in 2015.

“I declare a war on the Russian Empire,” Okuyeva told Politico in 2014. “If Russian forces continue to fight in Ukraine, thousands of Chechen immigrants living in Europe, who had been ousted of their land during the two Chechen wars, will come to Ukraine to fight a war to defend this country.”

8a. Andrei Artemenko wasn’t the only Ukrainian politician to approach the Trump administration with a peace plan in early 2017. Yulia Tymoshenko did the same thing in February, saying Trump promised her that he would “not abandon Ukraine.”

Additionally, Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, the former head of the Security Service of Ukraine and a political ally of Tymoshenko, claims he traveled to the US in December and January and delivered to the U.S. Department of Justice proof of “political corruption by (Ukraine’s) top officials.” And he apparently gave the same material to Artemenko in 2015. And while Nalyvaichenko says he doesn’t back Artemenko’s peace plan, he did admit to submit a peace plan of his own to the US government.

Nalyvaichenko is a direct heir to the OUN/B, having run Ukrainian intelligence (the SBU) along the lines of the OUN/B. Nalyvaichenko is very close to Pravy Sektor and Dimitry Yarosh.

Peace proposals by anti-Russian figues include one by Viktor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian oligarch who also a member of the anti-Russian Atlantic Council.

Of paramount significance, here, are the lustration law–a triple-faced entity. The law is “anti-corruption,” anti-Communist, and also criminalizes telling the truth about the collaboration between the OUN/B, its military wing the UPA and the Third Reich.

Elements of the Ukrainian fascist milieu have been attempting to oust Poroshenko in favor of elevating a fellow fascist to head of the government. The lustration law looms large in this context, as does the fact that Poroshenko was Yanukovych’s finance minister and, as such, undoubtedly involved with Mr. Manafort and whatever he did, or did not do in that benighted country.

“Artemenko Goes from Obscurity to Notoriety” by Melkorezeva, Oksana Grytsenko; Kyiv Post; 02/24/2017

. . . . But Artemenko is not the only Ukrainian politician to reach out to the White House behind President Petro Poroshenko’s back.

Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister and leader of Batkivshchyna Party, had a brief meeting with U.S. President Donald J. Trump before the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington on Feb. 3, during which Trump reportedly promised her that he would “not abandon Ukraine.”

And Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, the former head of the Security Service of Ukraine and a political ally of Tymoshenko, says he visited the U.S. in December and January.

Nalyvaichenko told the Kyiv Post he met there with former Republican Senator Jim DeMint, a Trump advisor and president of the conservative the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, and Bob Corker, a Republican senator from Tennessee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman.

Nalyvaichenko said he delivered to the U.S. Department of Justice proof of “political corruption by (Ukraine’s) top officials.” He said also delivered to Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office materials about alleged money laundering and the illegal use of offshore companies by Poroshenko’s business partner and lawmaker Ihor Kononenko.

Back in 2015, Nalyvaichenko gave the compromising materials on Poroshenko to Artemenko, which he claimed to also give to the U.S. authorities. . . .

8b. Pravy Sektor associate Valentyn Nalyvaichenko had been the head of the SBU (Ukrainian intelligence service) since the Maidan Coup, up until his ouster in June of 2015. Not surprisingly, he had operated the organization along the lines of the OUN/B.

Previously, he had served in that same capacity under Viktor Yuschenko, seeing the outfit as a vehicle for rewriting Ukraine’s history in accordance with the historical revisionism favored by the OUN/B.

Very close to Pravy Sektor head Dymitro Yarosh, Nalyvaichenko employed Yarosh while serving in the Ukrainian parliament.  Yarosh claims that the two collaborated on “anti-terrorist” operations conducted against ethnic Russians.

Bear in mind that the SBU has been the “cognitive window” through which the events in Ukraine have been processed.

 “The Return of the Ukrainian Far Right: The Case of VO Svoboda,” by Per Anders Rudling;  Analyzing Fascist Discourse: European Fascism in Talk and Text edited by Ruth Wodak and John E. Richardson;  Routledge [London and New York] 2013; pp. 228-255, more.

. . . A reconstructed historical memory is created as ‘true memory’ and then contrasted with ‘false Soviet history’ ”(Jilge, 2007:104–105). Thus, Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, SBU director under Yushchenko, described the task of his agency as being to disseminate “the historical truth of the past of the Ukrainian people,” to “liberate Ukrainian history from lies and falsifications and to work with truthful documents only” (Jilge, 2008:179). Ignoring the OUN’s antisemitism, denying its participation in anti- Jewish violence, and overlooking its fascist ideology, Nalyvaichenko and his agency presented the OUN as democrats, pluralists, even righteous rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust. . . .

8c. Nalyvaichenko’s SBU has manifested a fundamentally revisionist stance with regard to the OUN/B’s World War II genocidal attacks on ethnic Poles in Ukraine–a bloody campaign that claimed up to 100,000 lives.

Poland Stretches Out Its Hands to the Freedom Fighters” by Rob Slane; The Blogmire; 4/11/2015.

. . . . Unfortunately, the Ukrainian authorities show no signs whatsoever that they are about to abandon their admiration of those responsible for these horrific crimes. To the contrary, they seem to be intent on admiring them all the more, as the SBU head Valentyn Nalyvaichenko’s recent words indicate: “SBU does not need to invent anything extra — it is important to build on the traditions and approaches of the OUN-UPA security service. It [the OUN-UPA security service] worked against the aggressor during the temporary occupation of the territory, it had a patriotic upbringing, used a counterintelligence unit, and had relied on the peaceful Ukrainian population using its support.” . . . .

8d. Very close to Pravy Sektor head Dymitro Yarosh, Nalyvaichenko employed Yarosh while serving in the Ukrainian parliament.  Yarosh claims that the two collaborated on “anti-terrorist” operations conducted against ethnic Russians.

Bear in mind that the SBU has been the “cognitive window” through which the events in Ukraine have been processed.

“Yarosh Comments on Dismissal of His ‘Friend’ Nalyvaichenko;” EurAsia Daily; 6/25/2015. 

The leader of the Right Sector extremist group Dmytro Yarosh believes that the dismissal of Chief of the Security Service Valentyn Nalyvaichenko was illogical and untimely. He writes in Facebook that Nalyvaichenko is his friend, who has raised the Security Service from zero and has neutralized lots of terrorist threats all over the country. “I know what I am talking about as my Right Sector was involved in many of his special operations against Russian terrorists,” Yarosh said. . . . . . In the past Yarosh was Nalyvaichenko’s advisor.

8e. Exemplary of the Nazification of Ukraine is the elevation of Pravy Sektor’s Yarosh to being an advisor to the chief of the Ukrainian general staff.

” . . . . Yarosh is now a member of parliament and an advisor to the chief of general staff of the Ukrainian army. In other words, Yarosh has been legitimized by the political establishment. . . .”

“Switching Spymasters Amid War Is Risky” by Brian Mefford; Atlantic Council; 6/18/2015.

Valentin Nalyvaichenko, head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), is in trouble again. On June 15, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he was “unsatisfied” with Nalyvaichenko’s work. Three days later, Ukraine’s parliament dismissed him. . . . . . . . Poroshenko Bloc MP Serhiy Leshchenko released a document confirming old rumors that Right Sector’s Dmitro Yarosh worked for Nalyvaichenko when he was a member of parliament from 2012 to 2014. While the connection between the two raises some questions about the events of Euromaidan and the origins of Right Sector, this attack alone wasn’t enough to discredit Nalyvychenko. Yarosh is now a member of parliament and an advisor to the chief of general staff of the Ukrainian army. In other words, Yarosh has been legitimized by the political establishment.. . .

8f. It is not surprising that Kristofer Harrison (the author of an apologia for the Nazi Azov Battalion in Ukraine) is a former Defense Department and State Department advisor to George W. Bush. Noteworthy in his propaganda piece dismissing Representative John Conyers (D-MI) as “the Kremlin’s Man in Congress” and discounting anyone else discussing the ascension of the OUN/B fascists in Ukraine in a similar vein, is the identity of his source for assurances that Azov is not a Nazi unit.

The Azov’s spokesman is Roman Zvarych, the personal secretary to Jaroslav Stetsko in the 1980’s. Stetsko was the head of the World War II OUN/B government that collaborated with the Nazis!

After emigrating to Ukraine in the early ’90’s Zvarych and forming the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists with Slava Stetsko (Jaroslav’s widow) Zvarych became: Justice Minister (the equivalent of Attorney General of the United States) under the governments of Viktor Yuschenko and both Yulia Timoshenko governments. He has been serving as an adviser to president Poroshenko.

“Putin’s Man in Congress” by Kristofer Harrison; The Huffington Post; 8/7/2015.

. . . .The Azov’s spokesman, Roman Zvarych, told me that the battalion has a selective screening program that accepts only 50 out of almost 300 recruits each month. He says they have a thorough background check and reject members for various reasons, including having fascist leanings. . . .

. . . . Rep. Conyers played an important role in helping the Russian Nazi meme evolve from the stuff of conspiracy theorists, kooks and fellow-travelers into something the mainstream press happily prints. Rep. Conyers took to the floor of the House to submit his amendment and label the unit, “The repulsive Neo-Nazi Azov Battalion.” From there, the Daily Beast ran a story titled “Is America Training Neonazis in Ukraine?” using Conyers’ bill as factual support. The day after the amendment’s passage, Leonoid Bershidsky ran a Bloomberg View article titled “Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis Won’t Get U.S. Money.” Even the Canadians have been affected. On June 16th, the National Post ran a story titled “Fears that Canadian Mission in Ukraine May Unintentionally Help Neonazi Groups.”. . . .

 

Discussion

3 comments for “FTR #982 Manafort and the Snipers: The Azov Battalion and the “Russia-Gate” Psy-Op”

  1. Here’s something worth noting about the charges against Paul Manafort issued in the Mueller investigation related to Ukrainian money-laundering along with the lingering questions over whether or not Manafort played a role in Maidan sniper attacks. As expected, many in Ukraine are thrilled to see Manafort prosecuted given his public ties to the Yanukovych government. Less expected is the Russian government line on Manafort’s troubles which appears to be amusement seeing the US prosecute someone Moscow views as a CIA agent.

    It represents what could be a fascinating new chapter in the Adventures of Paul Manafort: The race to disown Manafort and prove he’s working for the other team. And given how the evidence that Manafort really did play a role in the sniper shootings suggests that he was trying to ensure the Maidan revolution succeeded, this could end up being a very interesting phase of the Manafort’s adventures:

    The Daily Beast

    Ukraine Believes Paul Manafort’s Crimes Go Way Beyond Money Laundering
    Ukrainian investigators who helped collect evidence used to indict President Trump’s former campaign chairman also want to look at Manafort’s possible role in a 2014 massacre.

    Anna Nemtsova
    10.31.17 1:00 AM ET

    MOSCOW—Many of Kiev’s journalists, investigators, and officials felt genuinely happy on Monday when they heard Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, had been indicted on charges of laundering more than $18 million from Ukraine.

    Most of the 12 counts of the indictment pulled together by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team spoke about Manafort’s illegal financial deals when he was working for Ukraine’s pro-Kremlin Party of Regions from 2006 onward. It also accused him of “conspiracy against the United States,” since Manafort allegedly used multiple shell companies to hide his money, and never bothered to inform U.S. authorities about the true size of his income.

    Manafort had racked up this fortune as an adviser to the infamously corrupt Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled into exile in Russia in 2014. So, to see Manafort brought up on charges and threatened with jail time was considered a triumph for Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity, which overthrew Yanukovych. During the uprising, which centered on Kiev’s central square, the Maidan Nezalezhnosti, more than 100 people lost their lives in 2014.

    “It is very important for Ukraine to never see such a phenomenon as Manafort on its soil ever again,” journalist and commentator Ekaterina Sergatskova told The Daily Beast. “He symbolizes the ‘old regime’ of money laundering, corrupt lobbying, dirty scams—the regime that made millions suffer—both in Ukraine and in United States. Manafort served a regime that worked under Russia’s total control—that regime should never come to power in Ukraine again.”

    In the past year, Ukrainians have constantly heard sinister news about Manafort. But the investigation conducted in the U.S. raised even more questions for people who want to know how he was advising Yanukovych as political opponents were rounded up and violent attacks mounted against the opposition.

    “Well done,” the head of Ukraine’s special prosecutions office, Serhiy Gorbatyuk, told The Daily Beast as he looked through the indictment. “We find item number 22 especially important: It confirms our own investigation was on the right track.”

    Paragraph 22 of the indictment says that Manafort and his associate Richard W. Gates III directed the lobbyists they’d retained in Washington to lobby in connection with the roll out of a report commissioned by the government of Ukraine about the trial of Yulia Tymoshenko, a former prime minister of Ukraine who spent three years in prison. The international democratic community, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, supported Tymoshenko in jail, while Manafort and Gates advised Yanukovych about his repressive politics.

    Over the past year, as The Daily Beast reported in May, Ukraine’s politicians have cooperated with the FBI while civil society groups and prosecutors have been working hard, conducting several independent investigations into the alleged corruption of Paul Manafort. Members of Ukraine’s parliament, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, prosecutors, and journalists were analyzing the list of 22 Manafort payments in 2007-2012 totaling more than $12 million.

    As a result of Ukraine’s cooperation with Western media, the information about the “Black Ledger,” an accounting document found among the Yanukovych papers, exposed corruption in great detail, including some that involved Manafort. As a result, he had to quit Trump’s campaign.

    “We hope that with the help of American investigators we’ll find what role Manafort’s friends among the Ukrainian oligarchs… played in money laundering,” prominent Ukrainian journalist Khristina Berdynskykh told The Daily Beast. “We are happy that it’s been proved that our former politicians threw away millions of dollars—it shows the scale of corruption; although we also wonder, of course, why for all these years American authorities have ignored Manafort’s actions.”

    Was Manafort backing all the decisions by Yanukovych, including the murders of protesters in Maidan square? Many in Ukraine suspect that was the case.

    Manafort returned to Kiev even after the horrible violence on its central square to help re-form the Party of Regions into a new organization. His representatives, including his current lawyer, insist he is innocent of charges in the U.S. indictment and that his role in Ukraine was to encourage pro-European Union democratic government. But investigators in Kiev aren’t buying that for a minute.

    In March this year The Daily Beast reported that Yevgenia Zakrevskaya, an attorney in the Ukrainian capital, and one of the strongest liberal voices in the country, focused attention on Manafort after text messages between his daughters were hacked and released in February. One of them, from Andrea Manafort to her sister, read “Don’t fool yourself. The money we have is blood money.”

    “All Mr. Yanukovych’s allies, supporters of the former regime, should be questioned on this case as potentially responsible for the mass killings during the Maidan protests; including, if the facts get proved, Mr. Manafort,” Ukrainian legal expert Mikhail Zhernakov told The Daily Beast.

    The Kremlin’s advisers who advised Yanukovych together with Manafort were also happy about the investigation for their own reasons.

    “We feel malevolent joy about Manafort’s arrest,” Sergei Markov, Russia’s spin doctor during the Yanukovych presidential campaign, told The Daily Beast. “We Russians who worked with him in Kiev are gloating, as he was a CIA agent and it is fun to see America investigating its own former agents.”

    Markov offered no proof of the CIA allegation, but he did reinforce the argument that Manafort was paid with dirty funds. “Of course Manafort was paid grey money and sent it to offshore accounts—that is what everybody does. Ukraine has always been corrupt.”

    Moscow’s mainstream media, meanwhile, continued to deny Russia’s involvement with the U.S. election last year, pushing the story about fake news. On Monday one of the most popular news shows, Vesti, reported that Hillary Clinton paid $6 million for a campaign to discredit Trump. But even in Moscow nobody seemed too enthusiastic about defending Manafort.

    ———-

    “In March this year The Daily Beast reported that Yevgenia Zakrevskaya, an attorney in the Ukrainian capital, and one of the strongest liberal voices in the country, focused attention on Manafort after text messages between his daughters were hacked and released in February. One of them, from Andrea Manafort to her sister, read “Don’t fool yourself. The money we have is blood money.”

    A lot of eyes in Ukraine are keenly interested in Andrea Manafort’s hacked texts. And the keen interest in Ukraine is extremely understandable given the nature of those texts and all the people gunned down in that sniper attack.

    But let’s not forget that those texts indicated that Manafort pushed for people to be killed in Ukraine (around the time of the Maidan protests) in order to bring international attention to the situation which did not make sense unless Manafort really was working for the CIA or some other third party (not necessarily US) who wanted to see the Maidan revolution succeed.

    And let’s also not forget that Manafort was an advisor-for-hire and it’s pretty apparent from his history that he might be the kind of guy that could be secretly hired to work against his current clients. After all, he apparently pushed to have people killed for political effect. That seems like the kind of person who might work for Yanukovych while simultaneously working for someone trying to get Yanukovych overthrown which is a big reason why the spin from Moscow might end up being a lot more than just spin:


    The Kremlin’s advisers who advised Yanukovych together with Manafort were also happy about the investigation for their own reasons.

    “We feel malevolent joy about Manafort’s arrest,” Sergei Markov, Russia’s spin doctor during the Yanukovych presidential campaign, told The Daily Beast. “We Russians who worked with him in Kiev are gloating, as he was a CIA agent and it is fun to see America investigating its own former agents.”

    Markov offered no proof of the CIA allegation, but he did reinforce the argument that Manafort was paid with dirty funds. “Of course Manafort was paid grey money and sent it to offshore accounts—that is what everybody does. Ukraine has always been corrupt.”

    Moscow’s mainstream media, meanwhile, continued to deny Russia’s involvement with the U.S. election last year, pushing the story about fake news. On Monday one of the most popular news shows, Vesti, reported that Hillary Clinton paid $6 million for a campaign to discredit Trump. But even in Moscow nobody seemed too enthusiastic about defending Manafort.

    That’s all part of what could make the Manafort-disownership phase of this nightmare so fascinating: He really might have been working for all sides. He may have legitimately been advising Yanokovych for years while secretly working with the forces behind the Maidan movement, especially the far-right forces who represent the prime suspects for actually carrying out the sniper attacks for every effective political effect. And who knows who else may have secretly bought him out at that point because that appears to be the kind of guy Manafort is: a guy for hire to advice in the dark arts of politics. The kind of dark arts that might involve killing people for political effect if Andrea Manafort’s hacked texts are to be believed. That’s the kind of kind of guy who could be working for all sorts of sides simultaneously which is what’s going to make the unfolding of Manafort’s story so fascinating.

    And if Russia really has felt Manafort was CIA all alone it would raise the question of what Manafort’s presences at the June 9th, 2016 meeting in Trump Tower with the Russian delegation. Given that Manafort joined the Trump campaign on March 29th, right around when George Papadopoulos was engaged in his Russian outreach with Joseph Mifsud the Maltese Professor. So Manafort’s presence overlapped heavily with the period when the Trump campaign was playing footsie with Russians. If the Kremlin really did view Manafort as a US/EU agent that would presumably alter the behavior of Russian government cutouts when it comes to Manafort. Perhaps the outreach to Don Jr. by Rob Goldstone was an attempt to get around Manafort and straight to the Trump family? encouraging them to reach o. It’s an example of why the question of who Manafort was working, or at least who the Russians thought he worked for, is actually a pretty important question.

    Who will end up holding the Manafort hot potato once this is all over? Given the range of clients one could reasonably imagine court someone like Manafort he had to be getting courted by all sorts of intelligence agencies during his years working for Yanukovych – the answer to the question of who Manafort may have been working for isn’t entirely obvious because he was probably a hot commodity. A very corrupt American advisor in Ukraine with ties to the Party of Regions. He was definitely working for the Party of Regions on some level. And eventually Trump. But who else? The CIA? EU intelligence agencies? Organized crime? European fascists? Ukrainian neo-Nazis? All of the above? It’s not like Manafort is choosy with his clients so it’s hard to rule anyone out. But we’re going to have to find out more about Manafort and who he was working for in Ukraine and elsewhere because we can’t really understand #TrumpRussia until we understand Paul Manafort.

    And given the hints from Ukrainian prosecutors last year that someone working with the Maidan protestors helped the snipers escape from Kiev, it seems like much of the final verdict on Manafort will depend on the resolution of what role he may or may not have case and what role he may have played. And it’s a mystery that can’t be solved without investigating the meaning of those hacked text messages and which deaths in Ukraine were the ‘blood’ in Andrea Manafort’s ‘blood money’ texts and more information about what is else known about the sniper attacks. Part of what made attribution of those attacks so difficult was that it made no sense for Yanukovych to do it, and two years later then we get hacked texts from Andrew Manafort about her dad being involved with what sounds like those attacks. It’s kind of amazing but here we are: the mystery of who was behind the Maidan sniper attacks, and who Paul Manafort may have been working for if he ended up playing a role, are now part important points in recent history for understanding #TrumpRussia.

    He probably wasn’t the best pick for campaign manager.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 6, 2017, 11:38 pm
  2. Great information, especially regarding WACL. The lustration laws have their roots in the Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church and have a semi-religious character. It has an older history with the Ancient Romans, who, for example, used a lustration ritual to “purify” the followers of the Druids under their occupation. Their word ‘lustratio’ meant “purification (or a city or community) by ritual sacrifice”.

    Posted by Atlanta Bill | November 7, 2017, 2:14 pm
  3. Here’s a look at the growing number of obstacles Ukraine’s government is facing in its investigations of Paul Manafort over corruption charges. Investigations that go back to 2014 in some cases: First, there’s the obstacle of the US not actually cooperating with those investigations in Manafort:

    Reuters

    Ukraine prosecutor says puzzled by lack of U.S. help on Manafort case

    Matthias Williams, Pavel Polityuk
    November 14, 2017 / 1:57 PM

    KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine is puzzled by the lack of a U.S. response to requests it has made to question former Donald Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort as a witness over two cases involving misuse of Ukrainian state funds, the chief investigator said.

    Manafort was indicted last month in Washington on charges he denies ranging from money laundering to acting as unregistered agent of former pro-Kremlin president Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of Regions. The charges, some going back more than a decade, mention neither Trump nor his campaign.

    Serhii Horbatiuk, head of special investigations at the general prosecutor’s office, told Reuters Ukraine had sent requests in 2014 and 2015 to question representatives of a law firm and Manafort.

    He said Ukraine had received reassurances from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that the requests would be met, but without result.

    “Of course it’s not normal,” Horbatiuk said in an interview at his office.

    “I would not say that we are upset, I would not say officially that we are upset, but it’s not clear why it is so,” he said. “Even the results they have got so far, we could have got them back in 2015 or 2016 with their help. But during these years there was no cooperation for unknown reasons.”

    In Washington, the FBI and the Department did not immediately respond to requests from Reuters for comment.

    Horbatiuk is investigating two cases.

    One relates to the suspected illegal use of Ukrainian state funds by justice ministry officials to pay a U.S. law firm for a report used to justify the imprisonment of former prime minister and political rival Yulia Tymoshenko during Yanukovich’s rule.

    The second relates to a so-called ‘Black Ledger’ discovered after Yanukovich’s 2014 ouster by street protests, a book supposedly listing payments from a slush fund by Yanukovich’s Party of Regions to their associates, including Manafort.

    Yanukovich denies corruption accusations.

    Manafort denies all wrongdoing and in Ukraine he is at this stage only wanted as a witness.

    Horbatiuk said he had not been contacted for assistance by the team of Special Council Robert Mueller, who indicted Manafort during an investigation into alleged Russian efforts to swing the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favor.

    Manafort’s attorney says his work for the Ukrainians ended in 2014, two years before he joined the Trump campaign.

    But the indictment sheds new light on the Ukrainian cases: the allegation that Manafort used offshore accounts to funnel $4 million to pay for the Tymoshenko report was news to Horbatiuk’s team, who thought the report had cost around $1 million.

    He will submit a new request for help to the U.S. within weeks.

    “It is important to combine our investigations so that we can obtain information to determine the origin of this money ($4 million),” he said.

    “And the general information allows us to say that the investigation could be promising provided that the law enforcement agencies of the United States and Ukraine cooperate in what we are interested in.”

    ———-

    “Ukraine prosecutor says puzzled by lack of U.S. help on Manafort case” by Matthias Williams, Pavel Polityuk; Reuters; 11/14/2017

    “Serhii Horbatiuk, head of special investigations at the general prosecutor’s office, told Reuters Ukraine had sent requests in 2014 and 2015 to question representatives of a law firm and Manafort.”

    So the head of special investigations at Ukraine’s general prosecutor’s office, Serhii Horbatiuk, sent requests to question Manafort back in 2014 and 2015, but to no avail:


    He said Ukraine had received reassurances from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that the requests would be met, but without result.

    “Of course it’s not normal,” Horbatiuk said in an interview at his office.

    “I would not say that we are upset, I would not say officially that we are upset, but it’s not clear why it is so,” he said. “Even the results they have got so far, we could have got them back in 2015 or 2016 with their help. But during these years there was no cooperation for unknown reasons.”

    And keep in mind that the “black ledger” scandal that abruptly ended Manafort’s role as Donald Trump’s campaign chairman didn’t happen until 2016. So the 2014 and 2015 requests to question Manafort were presumably over payments to Manafort’s lawfirm to produce a report used to justify the jailling of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko:


    Horbatiuk is investigating two cases.

    One relates to the suspected illegal use of Ukrainian state funds by justice ministry officials to pay a U.S. law firm for a report used to justify the imprisonment of former prime minister and political rival Yulia Tymoshenko during Yanukovich’s rule.

    The second relates to a so-called ‘Black Ledger’ discovered after Yanukovich’s 2014 ouster by street protests, a book supposedly listing payments from a slush fund by Yanukovich’s Party of Regions to their associates, including Manafort.

    Also note that the Associated Press confirmed this year that $1.2 million in “black ledger” payments to Manafort’s firm really did happen. So putting aside the serious potential mega-crime of Manafort’s involvement in the Maidan sniper attacks, the other more mundane corruption charges against Manafort appear to have teeth. And, obviously, it’s entirely possible that evidence related to the sniper attacks could be uncovered in either of these other investigations, so when they other investigations get blocked that’s effectively like blocking the investigation into Manafort’s potential role in the sniper attacks.

    So that’s one of the obstacles facing Ukraine’s investigation in Manafort. Here’s another one: when the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) got up and running in late 2015, the NABU wasn’t going to be be responsible for investigations that preceded its creation. But that all just changed thanks to new legislation that was passed that will transfer 3,500 corruption cases from the prosecutor’s office to the NABU. And as Serhii Horbatiuk of the prosecutor’s office warns, this move could effectively kill a large number of those investigations simply due to the NABU not having the staff required to carry out these investigations. The NABU itself also requested that this transfer not happen over manpower concerns. And the investigations that are getting transferred include the investigations into Manafort:

    Reuters

    Ukraine investigators fear corruption cases could get buried

    Matthias Williams, Pavel Polityuk
    November 16, 2017 / 10:51 AM / Updated

    KIEV (Reuters) – Ukrainian investigators fear corruption probes could get buried because the national anti-corruption bureau will soon be flooded by thousands of old cases and recently passed legislation could further hobble their work.

    Their comments spotlight Kiev’s patchy record on fighting corruption, which has delayed billions in aid from international donors who have supported Ukraine since the 2014 Maidan protests brought pro-Western forces to power.

    They come after the NABU anti-corruption bureau launched an investigation this week into an allied crime-fighting agency over extortion allegations.

    From Monday, 3,500 cases that were registered before December 2015 will be transferred from the prosecutor’s office to NABU, which include for example investigations that may pertain to former Donald Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort.

    NABU began life in late 2015 and was given an exemption on investigating cases that opened before its creation, which expires on Monday. NABU wants the exemption extended, saying its 200-strong team of detectives cannot cope with the extra work.

    In an interview with Reuters on Thursday, NABU spokeswoman Svitlana Olifira said there was a risk that “all current investigations by (NABU) detectives may be blocked”.

    Serhii Horbatiuk, head of special investigations at the general prosecutor’s office, said the old cases would be sent to NABU to ensure no-one looks at them. His investigations include two cases related to Manafort’s work in Ukraine.

    “They will simply lie around and not be looked at,” he said in an interview at his office. “My opinion is that this is done deliberately to ensure that crimes linked to former senior officials are either simply not investigated, or obstacles are created that prevent it (the investigation).”

    “The restructuring (of law enforcement) is being used to ensure investigations don’t take place,” he added.

    Neither NABU nor Horbatiuk accused anyone by name of trying to block investigations.

    NABU appealed to President Petro Poroshenko to veto legislation passed in October which it believes will also harm investigations.

    The law, according to NABU, will put too strict limits on the time allowed for an investigation before it can be dismissed, while also making it more cumbersome for police to obtain permission from courts to open probes.

    “We urge the president to examine this bill thoroughly and to refrain from signing the current version,” Olifira said, saying the bill could “bring about the collapse of Ukraine’s whole law enforcement system.”

    ———-

    “Ukraine investigators fear corruption cases could get buried” by Matthias Williams, Pavel Polityuk; Reuters; 11/16/2017

    “From Monday, 3,500 cases that were registered before December 2015 will be transferred from the prosecutor’s office to NABU, which include for example investigations that may pertain to former Donald Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort.”

    Yep, those investigations into Manafort that the general prosecutor’s office has been trying and failing to get US help on are now about to be shifted over to the NABU. Even those the NABU says it can’t handle all these new cases:


    NABU began life in late 2015 and was given an exemption on investigating cases that opened before its creation, which expires on Monday. NABU wants the exemption extended, saying its 200-strong team of detectives cannot cope with the extra work.

    In an interview with Reuters on Thursday, NABU spokeswoman Svitlana Olifira said there was a risk that “all current investigations by (NABU) detectives may be blocked”.

    “In an interview with Reuters on Thursday, NABU spokeswoman Svitlana Olifira said there was a risk that “all current investigations by (NABU) detectives may be blocked”

    There’s a risk that “all current investigations by (NABU) detectives may be blocked”. And that’s according to the NABU spokeswoman. And it’s a sentiment Serhii Horbatiuk, head of special investigations at the general prosecutor’s office, clearly agrees with:

    Serhii Horbatiuk, head of special investigations at the general prosecutor’s office, said the old cases would be sent to NABU to ensure no-one looks at them. His investigations include two cases related to Manafort’s work in Ukraine.

    “They will simply lie around and not be looked at,” he said in an interview at his office. “My opinion is that this is done deliberately to ensure that crimes linked to former senior officials are either simply not investigated, or obstacles are created that prevent it (the investigation).”

    “The restructuring (of law enforcement) is being used to ensure investigations don’t take place,” he added.

    And note that while Serhii Horbatiuk was previously complaining about a lack of US help on two investigations into Manafort that involve financial corruption, don’t forget that the general prosecutor’s office is also the office that’s been investigating the sniper attacks. For instance, he’s an article from 2016 about the discovery of the weapons used in the sniper attack. It’s special investigations department at the prosecutor general’s office who found those weapons:

    Ukrinform

    Weapons used against Euromaidan activists found in Kyiv pond

    14.07.2016 16:54

    Representatives of the Special Investigations Department at the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine have found the remains of a sniper rifle, used by officers of the Berkut riot police force against the Euromaidan activists.

    Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko posted this on his Facebook page.

    “Today, the officers of the Special Investigations Department at the Prosecutor General’s Office searched the apartments of those involved in taking Berkut officers out of Kyiv after bloody shootings on Maidan and subsequent destroying of their weapons. The elements of a sniper rifle and machine guns, which have been recently found in a pond, will become additional evidence at the trial,” he wrote.

    In turn, MP from the BPP faction Volodymyr Aryev said that the elements of weapons had been found in one of the ponds in a residential district in Kyiv. He added that the names of people, who have been searched today, were not disclosed in the interests of the investigation.

    ———-

    “Weapons used against Euromaidan activists found in Kyiv pond”; Ukrinform; 07/14/2016

    “Representatives of the Special Investigations Department at the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine have found the remains of a sniper rifle, used by officers of the Berkut riot police force against the Euromaidan activists.”

    So it raises the question of whether or not the sniper attack investigation is also getting transferred to the NABU. But, again, even if that’s not the case and it’s only the financial investigations into Manafort that are getting transferred to the NABU, those financial investigations could still provide key evidence in terms of who Manafort may have been secretly working with in the lead up to the 2014 Maidan protests.

    But there’s one more twist to all this: The NABU just launched an investigation into the prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko:

    Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

    Ukraine’s Anticorruption Bureau Investigating Prosecutor-General

    November 17, 2017 11:53 GMT

    KYIV — Ukrainian anticorruption investigators have opened a criminal case into suspected unlawful enrichment by the country’s powerful prosecutor-general, Yuriy Lutsenko.

    The case against Lutsenko was opened by the National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) on October 30, after it was presented with an order from the Solomyansky District Court of Kyiv, NABU spokeswoman Svitlana Olifira told RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service on November 17.

    Olifira said that no person in particular had spurred the court into action and that the pretrial investigation is ongoing.

    But Renat Kuzmin, the former Ukrainian deputy prosecutor-general under former President Viktor Yanukovych, wrote on Facebook that the case was opened at his written request.

    Yanuovych fled from Ukraine to Russia in February 2014 following months of Euromaidan street protests.

    Kuzmin followed in June 2014 after he became a suspect in the criminal probe of the unlawful arrest of Lutsenko in 2010 when he was an opposition politician.

    “Pursuant to my statement, NABU registered the case and began a criminal investigation into Lutsenko’s illegal enrichment,” Kuzmin said in a post that included a copy of his letter to NABU.

    NABU is an independent investigative body created to stamp out entrenched corruption among Ukraine’s public servants.

    Lutsenko had no legal experience prior to taking the job as head of the Prosecutor-General’s Office in May 2016.

    He was the personal choice of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

    Parliament had to pass a law removing a requirement that only a person with a legal background could fill the post before Lutsenko was appointed.

    ———-

    “Ukraine’s Anticorruption Bureau Investigating Prosecutor-General”; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; 11/17/2017

    “The case against Lutsenko was opened by the National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) on October 30, after it was presented with an order from the Solomyansky District Court of Kyiv, NABU spokeswoman Svitlana Olifira told RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service on November 17.”

    So on top of the 3,500 new cases transferred from the prosecutor general’s office to the NABU, the NABU is also going to be investigating the prosecutor general. It’s quite a twist. And while the NABU is saying that there’s no person in particular who got this probe launched against Lutsenko, the former Ukrainian deputy prosecutor-general under Viktor Yanukovych is claiming that he is actually the person who spurred this into action:


    Olifira said that no person in particular had spurred the court into action and that the pretrial investigation is ongoing.

    But Renat Kuzmin, the former Ukrainian deputy prosecutor-general under former President Viktor Yanukovych, wrote on Facebook that the case was opened at his written request.

    Yanuovych fled from Ukraine to Russia in February 2014 following months of Euromaidan street protests.

    Kuzmin followed in June 2014 after he became a suspect in the criminal probe of the unlawful arrest of Lutsenko in 2010 when he was an opposition politician.

    “Pursuant to my statement, NABU registered the case and began a criminal investigation into Lutsenko’s illegal enrichment,” Kuzmin said in a post that included a copy of his letter to NABU.

    So the investigation into Lutsenko was prompted by a guy who fled to Russia in 2014?! Wow, now that’s a twist. Adding to the twist is that that Renat Kuzmin was actually the person in charge of the case against former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the same case that Paul Manafort’s firm is charged with fueling by producing a report justifying Tymoshenko’s jailing.

    But perhaps it’s not much of a twist. According the NABU, Renat Kuzmin frequently makes requests for investigations and the NABU is obligated to open an investigation or Kuzmin will take them to court:

    112.UA

    Anti-Corruption Bureau investigates illicit enrichment of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General

    Former Deputy Prosecutor General, himself on the wanted list as a suspect of crimes, says the investigation is started on his request
    11:26, 17 November 2017

    The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) started criminal proceedings on the possible illicit enrichment of Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko, as NABU speaker Svitlana Olifira says, the Ukrainian News reports.

    Svitlana Olifira says the investigation commenced on October 30 due to the court decision to look into a possible bribe.

    Former Deputy Prosecutor General Renat Kuzmin writes on his Facebook that the investigation started after his inquiry. The NABU told INSIDER that Kuzmin submits tons of such inquiries, and when the Bureau doesn’t grant them, he goes to court, which makes the Bureau start an investigation.

    Kuzmin was the one who advocated for imprisoning Lutsenko in the past. In 2012, the ECHR found that imprisoning Lutsenko contradicted human rights, and stated that the Ukrainian government was to compensate Lutsenko 15.00 euro for moral damage.


    ———-

    “Anti-Corruption Bureau investigates illicit enrichment of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General”; 112.UA; 11/17/2017

    “Former Deputy Prosecutor General Renat Kuzmin writes on his Facebook that the investigation started after his inquiry. The NABU told INSIDER that Kuzmin submits tons of such inquiries, and when the Bureau doesn’t grant them, he goes to court, which makes the Bureau start an investigation.

    So based on the comments from the NABU it sounds like this might just be routine investigation they are obligated to conduct. Although it would be interesting to know if this was the fist time since Kuzmin fled the country that he was able to successfully get one of his requests turned into an actual probe.

    Also keep in mind that it was Lutsenko who made the ominous public warning to the Ukrainian public about the sniper attack and the discovery of the weapons in the lake: “We found it with a large number of automatic rifles on the bottom of one of Kiev’s lakes. They were cut and drowned in one batch by a single group, whose leader is one of the targets of our investigation. Unfortunately, this man who, according to our version, upon the orders of [former Interior Minister Vitaliy] Zakharchenko helped the “black hundred” flee Kyiv, destroyed and drowned their weapons, he, himself, was with us on the Maidan.” So Lutsenko has already demonstrated a willingness to ‘go there’ and hint to the public that his investigators have discover something very shocking in relation to the sniper attacks.

    Given that, and given the broader context of a larger move by the Ukrainian legislature to move a large number of investigations out of the prosecutor general’s office to the NABU where these cases are expected to die from a lack of manpower, you have to wonder if we’re about to see a lot of Ukrainian corruption cases suddenly fade away. Including the various investigations into Paul Manafort.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 17, 2017, 3:42 pm

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