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FTR #1022 “Edwin” Manafort, the Coming of Fascism to Ukraine and the “Russia-Gate” Psy-Op

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[6]

Vic­to­ria Nuland and Svo­bo­da’s Tihany­bok, left, and “Yats” Arsenyuk on the right.

Intro­duc­tion: In the wake of the high-pro­file con­vic­tion of for­mer Trump cam­paign aide Paul Man­afort, we present infor­ma­tion which great­ly flesh­es out his deal­ings with the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment of Vik­tor Yanukovich and the “Haps­burg Group” of Euro­pean politi­cians that were work­ing to tease Ukraine from the Russ­ian sphere of influ­ence into the West­ern orbit.

For pur­pos­es of this pro­gram, we have nick­named Man­afort “Edwin Man­afort,” cit­ing him in the con­text of the oper­a­tions of Edwin Wil­son, whose exploits we ana­lyzed at length in AFA #4 [7].

Far from being the “rogue” crim­i­nal he was report­ed as being, Wil­son was actu­al­ly oper­at­ing on behalf [8] of ele­ments of the CIA in his ter­ror­ist sup­port oper­a­tions. Short­ly before Wilson’s death, a judge sup­port­ed that con­clu­sion and Wil­son was even­tu­al­ly released from prison.

Far from being a “Russ­ian agent,” Paul Man­afort is a U.S. spook who was work­ing with a group of Euro­pean politi­cians known as the Haps­burg Group, as dis­cussed in FTR #1008 [9].

A sto­ry from BNE Intellinews [10], since tak­en down but avail­able via the Way Back Machine, details Man­afort’s net­work­ing with the Haps­burg Group milieu, pro­vid­ing more details that sup­ple­ment pre­vi­ous dis­cus­sion of the rela­tion­ship.

Most impor­tant­ly, how­ev­er, the arti­cle pro­vides impor­tant infor­ma­tion on Man­afort’s post-Maid­an doings in Ukraine! He spent more time in post-Maid­an Ukraine than before the coup.

[11]

Oleh Tihany­bok, leader of the OUN/B suc­ces­sor orga­ni­za­tion Svo­bo­da

Even more impor­tant­ly, the arti­cle pro­vides sig­nif­i­cant details on Man­afort’s pos­si­ble col­lab­o­ra­tors in arrang­ing the vio­lence that led to Yanukovy­ch’s ouster.

Before dis­cussing the sig­nif­i­cant details of Man­afort and his asso­ciates’ pos­si­ble roles in the vio­lence that led to Yanukovy­ch’s ouster, we present the first part of the arti­cle, in order to flesh out the Man­afort-Haps­burg net­work­ing.

Key points of infor­ma­tion include:

  1. Man­afort’s close rela­tion­ship with Ser­hiy Lovochkin, a key aide to Vik­tor Yanukovich and own­er of a pre­mier Ukrain­ian TV sta­tion, and his sis­ter Yulia Lovochk­i­na, who owns an air­line whose planes fer­ried Man­afort in his deal­ings with the Haps­burg group.
  2. The impor­tant role of Ser­hiy Lovochkin and his sis­ter in pro­mot­ing the EU Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment. It was Yanukovich’s even­tu­al rejec­tion of that agree­ment that led to the demon­stra­tions that led up to the Maid­an coup.
  3. The dual role played by Haps­burg Group mem­ber Alexan­der Kras­niews­ki, who was ran the EU’s Ukraine Obser­va­tion Group.
  4. The pro­found degree of involve­ment of Man­afort with the Haps­burg Group.

Of para­mount sig­nif­i­cance for our pur­pos­es, is the behav­ior of Man­afort, Lovochkin, Lovochk­i­na, Dmytro Fir­tash and Vic­to­ria Nuland.

Not­ing the pro­found rela­tion­ship between Man­afort, Ser­hii Lovochkin, Yulia Lovochk­i­na, the Haps­burg Group and the EU, it is impor­tant to eval­u­ate the Manafort/Lovochkin rela­tion­ship in the con­text of the Maid­an snipers. (In FTR #‘s 982 [12], 993 [13], we not­ed evi­dence that the Maid­an shoot­ings may have been a provo­ca­tion. This infor­ma­tion will be reviewed in our next pro­gram.)

  1. ” . . . . The pri­vate jet flights and per­son­al con­nec­tions show that Manafort’s part­ner in this lob­by­ing effort was Yanukovych’s chief of staff Lovochkin. . . . Manafort’s Ukraine engage­ments actu­al­ly increased fol­low­ing Yanukovych’s ouster in Feb­ru­ary 2014. In March to June 2014, he spent a total of 27 days in Ukraine, where­as dur­ing the four pre­ced­ing Euro­maid­an months, Novem­ber-Feb­ru­ary 2014, Man­afort only vis­it­ed Ukraine three times for a total of nine days. . . .”
  2. ” . . . . Lovochkin is the junior part­ner of bil­lion­aire oli­garch Dmytro Fir­tash . . . . Lovochkin and Fir­tash togeth­er also con­trol Ukraine’s largest TV chan­nel, Inter. . . .”
  3. ” . . . . Manafort’s con­tin­ued par­tic­i­pa­tion in post-Yanukovych Ukraine also points to his ties to Lovochkin and Fir­tash. While most mem­bers of the Yanukovych admin­is­tra­tion fled to Rus­sia or were arrest­ed after Feb­ru­ary 2014, Lovochkin has con­tin­ued his polit­i­cal career with impuni­ty, despite hav­ing served at the heart of Yanukovych’s regime for four years. . . .”
  4. ” . . . . Euro­maid­an was trig­gered by events in Kyiv on the night of Novem­ber 29, when police vio­lent­ly dis­persed a small demon­stra­tion of pro-EU stu­dents who were protest­ing after Yanukovych refused to sign the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment. The vio­lence prompt­ed a huge demon­stra­tion occu­py­ing the heart of Kyiv on Decem­ber 1. . . .”
  5. ” . . . . Accord­ing to mes­sages between the sis­ters dis­cussing Manafort’s actions in Ukraine, it was Manafort’s idea ‘to send those peo­ple out and get them slaugh­tered. Do you know whose strat­e­gy that was to cause that Revolts [sic] and what not […] As a tac­tic to out­rage the world and get focus on Ukraine.’ Manafort’s daugh­ter called her father’s mon­ey ‘blood mon­ey.’ . . .”
  6. ” . . . . The remarks were made by those privy to the deep­est secrets of Manafort’s per­son­al life. They evoke the sus­pi­cion that Man­afort manip­u­lat­ed the Maid­an protests and the police vio­lence to influ­ence inter­na­tion­al opin­ion. The appear­ance of the Man­afort mes­sages in 2016 reignit­ed spec­u­la­tion in Ukraine that none oth­er than Lovochkin insti­gat­ed the attack on the stu­dents’ demon­stra­tion on Novem­ber 29, 2013, to trig­ger out­rage against Yanukovych. . . .”
  7. ” . . . . Some of the time­line fits this inter­pre­ta­tion: On the day before the police attack, reporters not­ed Yulia Lovochk­i­na open­ly frater­nising with the stu­dents on the Maid­an. Lovochkin’s TV crews cov­ered the 4am events close­ly, and Lovochkin imme­di­ate­ly ten­dered his res­ig­na­tion in protest at the police vio­lence. . . .”
  8. ” . . . . The next day, Lovochkin’s TV chan­nel played footage of the worst of the police vio­lence on heavy rota­tion on prime time news. News anchors intoned that Yanukovych had ‘shed the blood of Ukrain­ian chil­dren.’ Where­as the stu­dent protests had attract­ed hun­dreds, protests on Sun­day Decem­ber 1 against the police vio­lence attract­ed hun­dreds of thou­sands. This was the start of Euro­maid­an. . . .”
  9. Of great sig­nif­i­cance as well, is the maneu­ver­ing around a war­rant for the arrest of Ukrain­ian oli­garch and Lovochkin part­ner Dmytro Fir­tash. The role of Vic­to­ria Nuland in this maneu­ver­ing is par­tic­u­lar­ly sig­nif­i­cant: ” . . . . On Octo­ber 30 2013 — as Yanukovych was waver­ing over the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment with the EU — the US issued an arrest war­rant for Fir­tash. The US with­drew the arrest war­rant four days lat­er [14] — after US deputy sec­re­tary of state Vic­to­ria Nuland met Yanukovych in Kyiv, and received assur­ances that Yanukovych would sign the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment, Fir­tash said dur­ing extra­di­tion hear­ings [15] in Vien­na in 2015 that first revealed the details of the case. But come the Vil­nius Sum­mit, Yanukovych failed to sign. The arrest war­rant was reis­sued in March 2014, and Fir­tash was arrest­ed in Vien­na on March 12, 2014. . . . .”
[16]

The wed­ding of Prince Max Egon von Hohen­loe-Lan­gen­burg

We also review (in the descrip­tion only) the rela­tion­ship between mem­bers of the Haps­burg fam­i­ly and Euro­pean inte­gra­tion, the Cold War against the Sovi­et Union, con­tem­po­rary Ukraine and the OUN/B.

1a. Begin­ning the descrip­tion, we review links of mem­bers of the Haps­burg dynasty to the events around Man­afort’s deal­ings with Ukraine, for the ben­e­fit of read­ers.

In FTR #1009 [17], we set forth the col­lab­o­ra­tion between the U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment and the Haps­burgs, a rela­tion­ship dat­ing to the imme­di­ate post World War I peri­od and cement­ed in the con­text of anti-Com­mu­nis­m/an­ti-Sovi­et activism. Note that Prince Egon Von Hohenloe–who mar­ried into the Haps­burg family–was the key go-between in nego­ti­a­tions between U.S. intel­li­gence, Allen Dulles in par­tic­u­lar and Wal­ter Schel­len­berg of SS intel­li­gence.

1b. Most impor­tant­ly, how­ev­er, the BNE Intellinews arti­cle pro­vides impor­tant infor­ma­tion on Man­afort’s post-Maid­an doings in Ukraine! He spent more time in post-Maid­an Ukraine than before the coup.

Even more impor­tant­ly, the arti­cle pro­vides sig­nif­i­cant details on Man­afort’s pos­si­ble col­lab­o­ra­tors in arrang­ing the vio­lence that led to Yanukovy­ch’s ouster.

Before dis­cussing the sig­nif­i­cant details of Man­afort and his asso­ciates’ pos­si­ble roles in the vio­lence that led to Yanukovy­ch’s ouster, we present the first part of the arti­cle, in order to flesh out the Man­afort-Haps­burg net­work­ing.

Key points of infor­ma­tion include:

  1. Man­afort’s close rela­tion­ship with Ser­hiy Lovochkin, a key aide to Vik­tor Yanukovich and own­er of a pre­mier Ukrain­ian TV sta­tion, and his sis­ter Yulia Lovochk­i­na, who owns an air­line whose planes fer­ried Man­afort in his deal­ings with the Haps­burg group.
  2. The impor­tant role of Ser­hiy Lovochkin and his sis­ter in pro­mot­ing the EU Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment. It was Yanukovich’s even­tu­al rejec­tion of that agree­ment that led to the demon­stra­tions that led up to the Maid­an coup.
  3. The dual role played by Haps­burg Group mem­ber Alexan­der Kras­niews­ki, who was ran the EU’s Ukraine Obser­va­tion Group.
  4. The pro­found degree of involve­ment of Man­afort with the Haps­burg Group.

“Wheels up: Paul Manafort’s flight records show how he super­vised EU top brass in the run-up to Ukraine rev­o­lu­tion” by Gra­ham Stack in Berlin; BNE Intellinews; 07/02/2018 [10]

Infa­mous US lob­by­ist Paul Man­afort organ­ised EU lumi­nar­ies to plead with Brus­sels to sign off on an Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment with Ukraine with­out the free­ing of jailed oppo­si­tion leader Yulia Tymoshenko in 2012–2013, his flight records, revealed by bne IntelliNews for the first time, show.Man­afort organ­ised the lob­by­ing cam­paign on the orders of Ukrain­ian pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych, who was oust­ed by mass demon­stra­tions in Kyiv when he even­tu­al­ly failed to sign the deal.

The infor­ma­tion backs up alle­ga­tions made by US spe­cial con­sul Robert Mueller that, as part of the cam­paign to do an Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment deal, Man­afort retained EU “super VIPs” to lob­by for Yanukovych.

The flight records also reveal Man­afort remained a play­er in Ukraine after the Maid­an rev­o­lu­tion until as late as 2015 – only months before he signed up as US pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign man­ag­er.

And Manafort’s rela­tion­ship to a top Yanukovych aide, who turned against his mas­ter dur­ing the Euro­maid­an move­ment, rais­es ques­tions about the spin doctor’s role in Ukraine’s 2013–14 rev­o­lu­tion.

VIP trips

The sto­ry starts with a key meet­ing in Rome in 2013. Flanked by EU elder states­men, all for­mer heads of their respec­tive states, Yulia Lovochk­i­na, a Ukrain­ian MP, addressed a select gath­er­ing in Rome [27] on the top­ic of Ukraine’s goal of sign­ing an Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment with the EU.

“Ukraine has made its irrev­o­ca­ble choice and is com­mit­ted to being a part of Europe, part of the Euro­pean Union,” she said, refer­ring to plans to sign an Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment with the EU at a sum­mit in Vil­nius slat­ed for Novem­ber 2013. “The pres­i­dent of Ukraine reit­er­at­ed that he is ready to imple­ment all the nec­es­sary mea­sures,” she added.

The date of the Rome meet­ing was March 6, 2013, and the speak­er Yulia Lovochk­i­na was none oth­er the sis­ter of Ser­hii Lovochkin, Yanukovych’s pow­er­ful chief of staff. Despite the assur­ances of com­mit­ment to the EU, less than a year lat­er, Yanukovych’s secu­ri­ty forces would mas­sacre 100 pro-EU pro­tes­tors in the heart of Kyiv. Three days lat­er he fled Ukraine for Rus­sia.

Tymoshenko, leader of Ukraine’s oppo­si­tion at the time, was lan­guish­ing in prison. She had lost to Yanukovych in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tions of 2010 – and Yanukovych prompt­ly jailed her in 2011. The inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty were out­raged, call­ing her jail­ing polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed and link­ing her release to the pas­sage of the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment deal.

All the speak­ers at the Rome meet­ing were unit­ed by a desire to do the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment deal, but the under­cur­rent to their speech­es was an insis­tence that the sign­ing of the agree­ment and Tymoshenko’s fate were two sep­a­rate issues, which was in stark con­trast to Brus­sels’ ini­tial line.

In her speech, Lovochk­i­na was explic­it: the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment should be signed inde­pen­dent­ly from Tymoshenko’s case. “It [sign­ing the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment] can­not be held hostage by a sin­gle crim­i­nal case […] by the future of Yulia Tymoshenko because it is an issue con­cern­ing the future of Ukraine,” she said.

As a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Yanukovych admin­is­tra­tion, Lovochkina’s line was pre­dictable. But more sur­pris­ing­ly was the sup­port she got from the emi­nent Euro­pean VIPs who backed her up. Using a vari­ety of euphemisms, they pushed essen­tial­ly the same argu­ment: that the issue of the EU-Ukraine Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment, and the issue of Tymoshenko’s impris­on­ment, should be kept sep­a­rate from each oth­er.

“The ques­tion of the des­tiny of Ukraine and its Euro­pean future can­not depend on one sin­gle case,” Alfred Gusen­bauer, for­mer chan­cel­lor of Aus­tria, said. “In the case of Tymoshenko it is nec­es­sary to look for solu­tions with­out mak­ing a com­pli­cat­ed sit­u­a­tion more com­pli­cat­ed,” said Alexan­der Kwas­niews­ki, for­mer pres­i­dent of Poland, who was also the senior part­ner in the Euro­pean Parliament’s “mon­i­tor­ing mis­sion” to Ukraine that had been tasked with resolv­ing the impasse caused by Tymoshenko’s impris­on­ment.

Con­clud­ing the con­fer­ence, Roman Pro­di, for­mer prime min­is­ter of Italy and pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, argued that the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment mon­i­tor­ing mis­sion to Ukraine — run by Kwas­niews­ki — should exam­ine the Tymoshenko case as “the cor­rect frame­work for a Euro­pean Union that helps pro­motes rights, but at the same time does not close off a rela­tion­ship which is valu­able for Ukraine and Europe.”

As the audi­ence applaud­ed the awk­ward group­ing on the podi­um, one man in the audi­ence may have been par­tic­u­lar­ly hap­py: US spin doc­tor Paul Man­afort, who had flown to Rome that day with Lovochk­i­na in one of the Lovochkin family’s pri­vate jets. Man­afort had assem­bled the speak­ers sit­ting in front of him on the podi­um, and was pulling the strings at the meet­ing.

Jail­ing Yulia Tymoshenko

A few months ear­li­er West­ern lead­ers and EU offi­cials had made Ukraine’s sign­ing of an Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment con­di­tion­al on the release of Tymoshenko.

Man­afort was Yanukovych’s ace in the cam­paign to win over the west.

In part as a result of Manafort’s lob­by­ing efforts, by Novem­ber 2013 the EU had agreed to sign the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment with Ukraine in Vil­nius, with­out hav­ing secured Tymoshenko’s release. Instead she was to be allowed to leave Ukraine for med­ical treat­ment, exil­ing her from Ukraine.

This was Manafort’s hour of tri­umph. But Russ­ian fury at the thought of Ukraine slip­ping from its grasp meant that it was short-lived. On Novem­ber 21, 2013, Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment announced it would not sign the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment with the EU on Novem­ber 28.

The Haps­burg PR

On Feb­ru­ary 28, US Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller indict­ed Man­afort for ille­gal lob­by­ing. The details of the indict­ment [28] point to Man­afort pulling the strings at the March 6 Rome con­fer­ence.

Mueller’s indict­ment states that Man­afort “secret­ly retained a group for for­mer senior Euro­pean politi­cians to take posi­tions favourable to Ukraine. The plan was for the for­mer politi­cians, infor­mal­ly called the “Haps­burg Group,” to appear to be pro­vid­ing an inde­pen­dent assess­ment of the gov­ern­ment of Ukraine actions, when in fact they were paid lob­by­ists for Ukraine.”

Accord­ing to the indict­ment Man­afort paid over €2mn to the “super VIPs” from off­shore accounts in 2012 and 2013.

While the politi­cians were unnamed, the indict­ment spec­i­fies a Euro­pean “chan­cel­lor” as head­ing the group. An ini­tial­ly unredact­ed doc­u­ment filed on June 13 iden­ti­fied for­mer Aus­tri­an chan­cel­lor Gusen­bauer by name as part of the Haps­burg group.

The doc­u­ment was a mem­o­ran­dum to Man­afort [29] authored in June 2012 by Ital­ian-based US jour­nal­ist Alan Fried­man — the man who chaired the March 2013 con­fer­ence in Rome.

In the memo, Fried­man sug­gest­ed recruit­ing Kwas­niews­ki to the group. But he not­ed that Kwas­niews­ki would have a con­flict of inter­ests because Kwas­niews­ki was the lead­ing fig­ure in the Euro­pean Parliament’s mon­i­tor­ing mis­sion to Ukraine.

The mon­i­tor­ing mis­sion was tasked with judg­ing whether Ukraine was fit to sign an Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment with the Euro­pean Union. A leader of the mon­i­tor­ing to mis­sion could hard­ly also pub­licly lob­by in favour of Ukraine.

Fried­man then sug­gest­ed to Man­afort that Kwas­niews­ki appear at con­fer­ences togeth­er with Gusen­bauer, with con­fer­ences planned for Berlin, Rome and Brus­sels. Those recruit­ed for the group would “take direc­tion from us infor­mal­ly and via Alfred [Gusen­bauer].”

“I par­tic­i­pat­ed in sev­er­al inter­na­tion­al con­fer­ences as a speak­er and for this rea­son, like oth­er par­tic­i­pants, I have received a hon­o­rar­i­um,” Kwas­niews­ki acknowl­edges. “I have not received any finan­cial grat­i­fi­ca­tion from the [Man­afort-linked lob­by­ists] Cen­tre for Mod­ern Ukraine or Mer­cury, I have nev­er received any sug­ges­tions for my con­tri­bu­tions from Mr. Man­afort, Mr. Fried­man or any­one else. In all my polit­i­cal activ­i­ties I have pre­sent­ed my own opin­ions,” Kwas­niews­ki added.

In Kwasniewski’s ghost-writ­ten account of his activ­i­ties in Ukraine 2012–2014, he describes hav­ing had a “dou­ble-hat­ted role … as Ukraine’s ambas­sador in Europe and the Unit­ed States and as ambas­sador of the transat­lantic com­mu­ni­ty in Ukraine.”

“It [the mon­i­tor­ing mis­sion] always kept an eye on its inde­pen­dence and impar­tial­i­ty […] not allow­ing any side to use the mis­sion for its own pur­pos­es […] it is our belief that this inde­pen­dence and impar­tial­i­ty was ful­ly achieved,” Euro­pean Par­lia­ment press offi­cer Sanne De Ryck said.

”Alexan­der Kwas­niews­ki had a dou­ble role, work­ing for Ukrain­ian oli­garchs and the EU […] This cre­ates con­flicts of inter­est, which is indeed prob­lem­at­ic,” Ste­fan Meis­ter, expert at the Ger­man Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions told bne IntelliNews.

Flight-track­ing Man­afort

bne IntelliNews obtained flight data for Manafort’s Ukraine vis­its for those years. His flight data made it pos­si­ble to track his lob­by­ing activ­i­ties in 2012–2015, in the run-up to the Euro­maid­an rev­o­lu­tion of Feb­ru­ary 2014 and its after­math.

The flight data points to inten­sive Man­afort super­vi­sion of the “Haps­burg Group” mem­bers such as Gusen­bauer, Kwas­niews­ki, and Pro­di. Man­afort fre­quent­ly flew on the Lovochkin family’s per­son­al jets between Ukraine and Europe to attend their con­fer­ences or meet indi­vid­u­al­ly.

Manafort’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jason Mal­oni declined to com­ment on the flight data. A source close to Man­afort, how­ev­er, argued that he had “con­sis­tent­ly advo­cat­ed for Ukraine to have clos­er ties to the West.”

Kwas­niews­ki con­firmed this. “He [Man­afort] was in favour of sign­ing the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment.”

Yulia Lovochk­i­na acknowl­edged own­ing an exec­u­tive jet busi­ness. “Its ser­vices were open to every­one on the mar­ket,” she said. She also acknowl­edged fly­ing with Man­afort to the Rome con­fer­ence on one of the planes. She “paid for the tick­et her­self and had her own agen­da for the trip,” she said.

Man­afort lost lit­tle time after the cre­ation of the Haps­burg group in June 2012. On Sep­tem­ber 20, 2012, Gusen­berg and Pro­di spoke at a con­fer­ence organ­ised by the Otto Ren­ner Insti­tut. Man­afort flew to Vien­na on its con­clu­sion the fol­low­ing day.

On Octo­ber 23, 2012, he flew on a one-day trip from Kyiv to Berlin, where the Haps­burg group — includ­ing Kwas­niews­ki — were appear­ing at a con­fer­ence organ­ised by the East­ern Econ­o­my Com­mit­tee. Kwas­niews­ki con­firmed a meet­ing with Man­afort here.

By the end of 2012, the lob­by­ing effort was begin­ning to pay off. The crown­ing came on Decem­ber 18, 2012, when Manafort’s vis­it to Kyiv coin­cid­ed with the 11th Cox-Kwas­niews­ki mis­sion vis­it. Kwas­niews­ki con­firmed meet­ing Man­afort on this occa­sion.

Yanukovych, orig­i­nal­ly sched­uled to be vis­it­ing Moscow, can­celled on the Krem­lin with no notice to meet Cox and Kwas­niews­ki

In return, Cox and Kwas­niews­ki heaped praise on Ukraine’s then prime min­is­ter Myko­la Azarov on the occa­sion of his birth­day in an open let­ter. This was a huge turn­around com­pared to sev­en months ear­li­er, when Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Coun­cil Her­man van Rompuy had told jour­nal­ists that Azarov “should stay at home” instead of vis­it­ing Brus­sels.

The road to Vil­nius

The lob­by­ing effort accel­er­at­ed in 2013, start­ing with the March 2013 Rome con­fer­ence. The EU’s Vil­nius sum­mit slat­ed for Novem­ber 2013 was approach­ing where Ukraine was expect­ed to sign the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment.

On May 15–17, 2013, Man­afort flew again for a week­end in War­saw and Brus­sels, return­ing on a Lovochkin exec­u­tive jet. In War­saw he met one-on-one with Kwas­niews­ki. On May 17, Pro­di and Gusen­bauer were in Brus­sels for the Ukraine on the road to Vil­nius con­fer­ence.

Two months lat­er, Man­afort was again air bound on a Lovochkin plane, on a one day vis­it from Frank­furt, land­ing from the US, bound for the Crimea on July 29. He flew back from Crimea to Frank­furt on the same day.

One day before, Rus­sia and Ukraine had joint­ly cel­e­brat­ed the Sovi­et-era Navy Day with a shared dis­play of their two fleets that was attend­ed by Putin and Yanukovych. Join manoeu­vres dis­played the close con­tacts between the top brass of the two fleets that pre­fig­ured Russia’s annex­a­tion of the Crimean penin­su­la only nine months lat­er.

But it was not for Navy Day that Man­afort flew to Crimea, togeth­er with his assis­tant Kon­stan­tin Kil­imnik, one day lat­er. His mis­sion was to bol­ster Yanukovych’s deci­sion to go for Europe.

Cox and Kwas­nievs­ki arrived in Crimea on the same day as Man­afort. On the morn­ing of July 30, they were sched­uled to meet with Yanukovych in Crimea for anoth­er ses­sion on Tymoshenko’s fate. Kwas­niews­ki said Man­afort did not meet with the mon­i­tor­ing mis­sion in Crimea that day.

But as the pace of events quick­ened in sum­mer and autumn 2013, Man­afort had a series of one-to-one meet­ings with Kwas­niews­ki in War­saw, the for­mer Pol­ish pres­i­dent acknowl­edged.

These cul­mi­nat­ed in Man­afort fly­ing to War­saw on Octo­ber 18 — on Lovochkin’s plane — to meet Kwas­niews­ki. Lat­er the same day Yanukovych said he would be ready to let Tymoshenko depart to Ger­many for treat­ment, as soon as Ukraine’s par­lia­ment passed leg­is­la­tion enabling this.

1b. Not­ing the pro­found rela­tion­ship between Man­afort, Ser­hii Lovochkin, Yulia Lovochk­i­na, the Haps­burg Group and the EU, it is impor­tant to eval­u­ate the Manafort/Lovochkin rela­tion­ship in the con­text of the Maid­an snipers:

  1. ” . . . . The pri­vate jet flights and per­son­al con­nec­tions show that Manafort’s part­ner in this lob­by­ing effort was Yanukovych’s chief of staff Lovochkin. . . . Manafort’s Ukraine engage­ments actu­al­ly increased fol­low­ing Yanukovych’s ouster in Feb­ru­ary 2014. In March to June 2014, he spent a total of 27 days in Ukraine, where­as dur­ing the four pre­ced­ing Euro­maid­an months, Novem­ber-Feb­ru­ary 2014, Man­afort only vis­it­ed Ukraine three times for a total of nine days. . . .”
  2. ” . . . . Lovochkin is the junior part­ner of bil­lion­aire oli­garch Dmytro Fir­tash . . . . Lovochkin and Fir­tash togeth­er also con­trol Ukraine’s largest TV chan­nel, Inter. . . .”
  3. ” . . . . Manafort’s con­tin­ued par­tic­i­pa­tion in post-Yanukovych Ukraine also points to his ties to Lovochkin and Fir­tash. While most mem­bers of the Yanukovych admin­is­tra­tion fled to Rus­sia or were arrest­ed after Feb­ru­ary 2014, Lovochkin has con­tin­ued his polit­i­cal career with impuni­ty, despite hav­ing served at the heart of Yanukovych’s regime for four years. . . .”
  4. ” . . . . Euro­maid­an was trig­gered by events in Kyiv on the night of Novem­ber 29, when police vio­lent­ly dis­persed a small demon­stra­tion of pro-EU stu­dents who were protest­ing after Yanukovych refused to sign the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment. The vio­lence prompt­ed a huge demon­stra­tion occu­py­ing the heart of Kyiv on Decem­ber 1. . . .”
  5. ” . . . . Accord­ing to mes­sages between the sis­ters dis­cussing Manafort’s actions in Ukraine, it was Manafort’s idea ‘to send those peo­ple out and get them slaugh­tered. Do you know whose strat­e­gy that was to cause that Revolts [sic] and what not […] As a tac­tic to out­rage the world and get focus on Ukraine.’ Manafort’s daugh­ter called her father’s mon­ey ‘blood mon­ey.’ . . .”
  6. ” . . . . The remarks were made by those privy to the deep­est secrets of Manafort’s per­son­al life. They evoke the sus­pi­cion that Man­afort manip­u­lat­ed the Maid­an protests and the police vio­lence to influ­ence inter­na­tion­al opin­ion. The appear­ance of the Man­afort mes­sages in 2016 reignit­ed spec­u­la­tion in Ukraine that none oth­er than Lovochkin insti­gat­ed the attack on the stu­dents’ demon­stra­tion on Novem­ber 29, 2013, to trig­ger out­rage against Yanukovych. . . .”
  7. ” . . . . Some of the time­line fits this inter­pre­ta­tion: On the day before the police attack, reporters not­ed Yulia Lovochk­i­na open­ly frater­nising with the stu­dents on the Maid­an. Lovochkin’s TV crews cov­ered the 4am events close­ly, and Lovochkin imme­di­ate­ly ten­dered his res­ig­na­tion in protest at the police vio­lence. . . .”
  8. ” . . . . The next day, Lovochkin’s TV chan­nel played footage of the worst of the police vio­lence on heavy rota­tion on prime time news. News anchors intoned that Yanukovych had ‘shed the blood of Ukrain­ian chil­dren.’ Where­as the stu­dent protests had attract­ed hun­dreds, protests on Sun­day Decem­ber 1 against the police vio­lence attract­ed hun­dreds of thou­sands. This was the start of Euro­maid­an. . . .”
  9. Of great sig­nif­i­cance as well, is the maneu­ver­ing around a war­rant for the arrest of Ukrain­ian oli­garch and Lovochkin part­ner Dmytro Fir­tash. The role of Vic­to­ria Nuland in this maneu­ver­ing is par­tic­u­lar­ly sig­nif­i­cant: ” . . . . On Octo­ber 30 2013 — as Yanukovych was waver­ing over the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment with the EU — the US issued an arrest war­rant for Fir­tash. The US with­drew the arrest war­rant four days lat­er [14] — after US deputy sec­re­tary of state Vic­to­ria Nuland met Yanukovych in Kyiv, and received assur­ances that Yanukovych would sign the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment, Fir­tash said dur­ing extra­di­tion hear­ings [15] in Vien­na in 2015 that first revealed the details of the case. But come the Vil­nius Sum­mit, Yanukovych failed to sign. The arrest war­rant was reis­sued in March 2014, and Fir­tash was arrest­ed in Vien­na on March 12, 2014. . . . .”

“Wheels up: Paul Manafort’s flight records show how he super­vised EU top brass in the run-up to Ukraine rev­o­lu­tion” by Gra­ham Stack in Berlin; BNE Intellinews; 07/02/2018 [10]

. . . . The Fir­tash con­nec­tion

The pri­vate jet flights and per­son­al con­nec­tions show that Manafort’s part­ner in this lob­by­ing effort was Yanukovych’s chief of staff Lovochkin.

Lovochkin said that he had also “always been a strong sup­port­er of the Euro­pean inte­gra­tion of Ukraine,” but denied that he had super­vised Manafort’s lob­by­ing. Kwas­niews­ki con­firmed that Lovochkin was in the pro-EU camp.

Lovochkin is the junior part­ner of bil­lion­aire oli­garch Dmytro Fir­tash who made his for­tune trad­ing gas via noto­ri­ous com­pa­ny Rosukren­er­go, who had made his for­tune trad­ing gas via noto­ri­ous com­pa­ny Rosukren­er­go, that alleged­ly skimmed off hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars for the Russ­ian and Ukrain­ian elite. Lovochkin and Fir­tash togeth­er also con­trol Ukraine’s largest TV chan­nel, Inter.

Manafort’s con­tin­ued par­tic­i­pa­tion in post-Yanukovych Ukraine also points to his ties to Lovochkin and Fir­tash. While most mem­bers of the Yanukovych admin­is­tra­tion fled to Rus­sia or were arrest­ed after Feb­ru­ary 2014, Lovochkin has con­tin­ued his polit­i­cal career with impuni­ty, despite hav­ing served at the heart of Yanukovych’s regime for four years.

Post Yanukovych’s oust­ing, Man­afort may have attend­ed top-lev­el Ukrain­ian polit­i­cal meet­ings where the oli­garchs decid­ed who would gov­ern.

On March 25 he flew out of Vien­na to Kyiv. His vis­it to Vien­na had coin­cid­ed with a cru­cial meet­ing between Petro Poroshenko and Vien­na-based Fir­tash in that city. Lovochkin had also attend­ed the meet­ing at which Fir­tash agreed to back Poroshenko for the post of pres­i­dent, rather than for­mer box­er Vitaly Klichko, effec­tive­ly crown­ing Poroshenko pres­i­dent.

In Novem­ber 13, 2014, as details of a new gov­ern­ment were being ham­mered out after the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, the flight data records that Man­afort flew from Kyiv to Nice, France, on a pri­vate jet with Ihor Tara­siuk, the busi­ness part­ner of Poroshenko’s first deputy chief of staff, Yuri Kosiuk. Tara­siuk denied tak­ing the flight to bne IntelliNews, although he con­firmed the per­son­al data pro­vid­ed was cor­rect.

Manafort’s Ukraine engage­ments actu­al­ly increased fol­low­ing Yanukovych’s ouster in Feb­ru­ary 2014. In March to June 2014, he spent a total of 27 days in Ukraine, where­as dur­ing the four pre­ced­ing Euro­maid­an months, Novem­ber-Feb­ru­ary 2014, Man­afort only vis­it­ed Ukraine three times for a total of nine days.

Accord­ing to the Mueller indict­ment, Man­afort was engaged as lob­by­ist for Lovochkin’s new par­ty Oppo­si­tion Bloc, wide­ly regard­ed as fund­ed by Fir­tash. This explains Manafort’s long stays in Ukraine dur­ing the post-Maid­an elec­tion cam­paigns, accord­ing to the flight data: one week pri­or to the pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in May 2014, and one month pri­or to the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions in Octo­ber 2014.

Manafort’s flight data con­cludes with a four-week stay in Ukraine through to Octo­ber 27, 2015. This peri­od coin­cides with the cam­paign for region­al elec­tions, which cement­ed Lovochkin’s Oppo­si­tion Bloc as a dom­i­nant force across south and east Ukraine. Only months after the close of elec­tion­eer­ing in con­flict-wracked Ukraine, Man­afort was elec­tion­eer­ing in the US, on behalf of the con­tro­ver­sial can­di­date for the world’s most pow­er­ful office.

Maid­an mys­tery

Manafort’s flight data sheds no light how­ev­er on his rela­tion­ship, if any, to the Euro­maid­an rev­o­lu­tion. Euro­maid­an was trig­gered by events in Kyiv on the night of Novem­ber 29, when police vio­lent­ly dis­persed a small demon­stra­tion of pro-EU stu­dents who were protest­ing after Yanukovych refused to sign the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment. The vio­lence prompt­ed a huge demon­stra­tion occu­py­ing the heart of Kyiv on Decem­ber 1.

All we have are cryp­tic mes­sages exchanged between Manafort’s daugh­ters, one of whose phones was hacked in 2016. Man­afort con­firmed the hack and cor­rob­o­rat­ed some of the mes­sages to Politi­co [30].

Accord­ing to mes­sages between the sis­ters dis­cussing Manafort’s actions in Ukraine, it was Manafort’s idea “to send those peo­ple out and get them slaugh­tered. Do you know whose strat­e­gy that was to cause that Revolts [sic] and what not […] As a tac­tic to out­rage the world and get focus on Ukraine.” Manafort’s daugh­ter called her father’s mon­ey “blood mon­ey.”

The remarks were made by those privy to the deep­est secrets of Manafort’s per­son­al life. They evoke the sus­pi­cion that Man­afort manip­u­lat­ed the Maid­an protests and the police vio­lence to influ­ence inter­na­tion­al opin­ion.

The appear­ance of the Man­afort mes­sages in 2016 reignit­ed spec­u­la­tion in Ukraine that none oth­er than Lovochkin insti­gat­ed the attack on the stu­dents’ demon­stra­tion on Novem­ber 29, 2013, to trig­ger out­rage against Yanukovych.

Some of the time­line fits this inter­pre­ta­tion: On the day before the police attack, reporters not­ed Yulia Lovochk­i­na open­ly frater­nising with the stu­dents on the Maid­an. Lovochkin’s TV crews cov­ered the 4am events close­ly, and Lovochkin imme­di­ate­ly ten­dered his res­ig­na­tion in protest at the police vio­lence.

The next day, Lovochkin’s TV chan­nel played footage of the worst of the police vio­lence on heavy rota­tion on prime time news. News anchors intoned that Yanukovych had “shed the blood of Ukrain­ian chil­dren.” Where­as the stu­dent protests had attract­ed hun­dreds, protests on Sun­day Decem­ber 1 against the police vio­lence attract­ed hun­dreds of thou­sands. This was the start of Euro­maid­an.

Author­i­ta­tive chron­i­cler of the Euro­maid­an rev­o­lu­tion Sonya Koshk­i­na, as well as Ukrain­ian pros­e­cu­tors, have argued it was anti-EU hard­lin­ers who were respon­si­ble for attack­ing the stu­dents.

But on the third anniver­sary of events, Novem­ber 29, 2016, Ukraine’s inte­ri­or min­is­ter Arsen Avakov told the BBC [31] that “Lovochkin was the author of the dis­per­sal of the [stu­dents’] Maid­an, and should be in prison, not in par­lia­ment.”

Lovochkin denies any role in the attack on the stu­dents. “I sub­mit­ted my res­ig­na­tion because of Pres­i­dent Yanukovych’s deci­sion to decline sign­ing the Deep and Com­pre­hen­sive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) […] and the use of force against peace­ful pro­test­ers in Kyiv fol­low­ing it,” he said.

What was Lovochkin’s moti­va­tion to break with Yanukovych so abrupt­ly over Europe, whether or not he was involved in the vio­lence? Accord­ing to Koshk­i­na, Lovochkin was “a place­man of Fir­tash and one of the archi­tects of the regime,” hard­ly a nation­al­ist or free­dom-lov­ing lib­er­al. But in June 2013 the US had indict­ed Fir­tash for alleged bribery in India. On Octo­ber 30 2013 — as Yanukovych was waver­ing over the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment with the EU — the US issued an arrest war­rant for Fir­tash.

The US with­drew the arrest war­rant four days lat­er [14] — after US deputy sec­re­tary of state Vic­to­ria Nuland met Yanukovych in Kyiv, and received assur­ances that Yanukovych would sign the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment, Fir­tash said dur­ing extra­di­tion hear­ings [15] in Vien­na in 2015 that first revealed the details of the case. But come the Vil­nius Sum­mit, Yanukovych failed to sign. The arrest war­rant was reis­sued in March 2014, and Fir­tash was arrest­ed in Vien­na on March 12, 2014. . . . .