Privat Bank decision by Kyiv Court causes corruption concerns

🔵 On Tuesday, a Kyiv court ruled that PrivatBank should pay $350 million – principal and interest – for deposits of six British companies owned by Ihor and Hryhoriy Surkis, two brothers who were business associates of PrivatBank’s former owners, Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Boholyubov. PrivatBank lawyers said yesterday they will appeal, arguing that the brothers were related parties to the mismanagement of the bank. The Surkis and other depositors have filed hundreds of lawsuits suing for $1.2 billion.

🔵 “We will challenge this decision,” Petr Krumphanzl, a Czech banker who is Board Chairman of PrivatBank, told Ukrinform. We will continue to seek justice for PrivatBank and Ukrainian taxpayers who are the bank’s ultimate shareholders.”

🔵 “One of the biggest transgressions in the history of the judicial power of Ukraine took place today,” Justice Minister Denis Malyuska wrote on Facebook. Noting that the judge’s name Vovk, also means ‘wolf’, he illustrated his complaint with a cartoon of a gray wolf happily carrying away a big bag of loot.

🔵 Alexander Danilyuk, Finance Minister at the time of the nationalization, warned on Facebook yesterday: “This is the beginning of the collapse of the results of the nationalization of PrivatBank.” He warned that if the lawsuits are not stopped, they could cost Ukraine’s government billions of dollars.


(from June) Massive bribe to stop Ukraine probe of Burisma founder intercepted

Ukrainian officials on Saturday announced they intercepted a $6 million bribe attempt to stop a criminal investigation into the president of Burisma, the natural-gas company at the center of President Trump’s impeachment investigation.

At a news conference, the officials displayed large bags of seized U.S. currency.

Ukraine’s anti-corruption prosecutor Nazar Kholodnitsky said former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who once held a board seat, was not complicit in the bribe attempt.

Lenin Statue in Germany???

After Ukraine attempts to exorcise Communist demons by taking down Lenin statues, a far-left party in Germany puts one up.

Far-left political party erects statue of Lenin in Germany

A far-left German political party installed a statue of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin over the weekend in the city of Gelsenkirchen.

The Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany erected the statue, similar to the one in Seattle, in front of its offices over the weekend, according to the BBC. City officials tried to stop the statue’s installment, but courts blocked their efforts.

“We live in a time in which many countries of the world are reflecting on memorials,” said the city’s mayor, Frank Baranowski.

“It’s hard to put up with the fact that a dictator from the [20th] century is being placed on a pedestal and a memorial is being made out of it. Unfortunately, the courts have decided otherwise. We must accept that, but not without comment,” the mayor added.

Ukraine’s first PM stands for pardoning enemy troops in Donbas

A special status should be granted to the entire territory of Donbas, not just the temporarily occupied parts as Russia has been demanding, Fokin suggests.

First prime minister of Ukraine Vitold Fokin, who has recently been appointed deputy head of the Ukrainian delegation at the Donbas settlement talks within the Trilateral Contact Group, believes “general pardon” is required today as a prerequisite to end the war.

“Another important question is about pardon. On both sides, many crimes have been committed that should ultimately be investigated, and let the perpetrators be prosecuted. But today, in order to end the war and save the lives of soldiers and commanders, my position is to declare general pardon, hold elections, resolve the issue of the special status of certain regions, and best of all, the entire Donbas,” he told Strana.

Also, the delegate said he was ready to go for a working trip to the occupied areas, and that the idea saw support from the chief of Ukraine’s delegation, Leonid Kravchuk, who was the first president of Ukraine.

Read more on UNIAN:

Ukrainian-Americans have always been split in US politics

By Myron Kuropas

The two-page advertisement by Ukrainian Americans for Joe Biden is a first. I have been reading The Ukrainian Weekly since 1946 and, if memory serves, this is the first time an ad for an American presidential candidate has appeared three months prior to the election. Hardly the norm, as I recall.

Also impressive are the number of Ukrainian Americans listed on the two-page ad. I know many of them. I respect their willingness to take a stand. Getting that many Ukrainians to commit is not easy; sometimes it’s like herding cats.

Our woke generation may be surprised to learn that the first political orientation of Ukrainian Americans was socialist, reflecting the ideology of the Social Democrats in Ukraine. Ukrainian American involvement in the American political process began in 1907 with the creation of the Haidamaky. A publication of the same name soon appeared and efforts were made early on to promulgate the goals of American socialists. Other radical publications soon made their appearance: Khlopsky Paragraf (1908), Proletar (1911) and Robitnyk (1912).

Responding to the leadership of the progressive Catholic priests then steering the fraternal organization once known as the Ruthenian National Association (RNS), Svoboda, the RNS periodical, urged Ukrainians to ignore Republicans and Democrats and to support socialist candidates as the only people who cared about the working class. At its 1914 convention, the RNS changed its name to the Ukrainian National Association (UNA)

In 1901, Eugene V. Debs, one-time locomotive fireman and labor organizer, established the Socialist Party of America (SPA). A number of socialist clubs came into being in the Rusyn/Ukrainian community, and, encouraged by the SPA leadership, Ukrain­ians created the Ukrainian Federation of Socialist Parties of America (UFSPA), joining the SPA as an ethnic affiliate.

From the beginning, Ukrainian socialists were divided between those who focused on national rebirth in Ukraine, the Social Patriots, and those who favored world revolution, the Marxist/Internatio­nalists.

The SPA, now also split between moderates and Marxists, suffered further division in 1919 when the committed Marxist wing of the party held a formal convention in Chicago establishing the Communist Party of America (CPA). At the UFSPA convention that same year, Ukrainian Marxists pushed through a resolution recognizing the Third Communist International. Expelling Social Patriots from its ranks, the UFSPA formally changed its name to the Ukrainian Federation of Communist Parties of America (UFCPA).

The Communist cause suffered a setback after a number of explosions rocked major American cities. In 1919 and 1920, President Woodrow Wilson’s attorney general, A. Mitchell Palmer, began deporting Communists, anarchists and other radicals. President Wilson never recognized the Soviet Union nor did his successors, Presidents Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover.

When the war ended, Ukraine was divided among the USSR, Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Three political rationales were offered in the U.S. for the failure of Ukraine to maintain its independence. Ukraine was not prepared for sovereignty, argued members of the newly formed Ukrainian Hetman Organization (UHO); only a Hetman can restore order. Ukrainians need another revolution, explained members of the recently created Organization for the Rebirth of Ukraine (ODWU), an affiliate of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). Ukraine exists, claimed Ukrainian Communists pointing to Soviet Ukraine.

Urged by The New York Times Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty and others in his Cabinet, newly elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt quickly recognized the USSR as the legitimate successor of the Russian empire. Within months, the Soviet Embassy in Washington was swarming with NKVD and GRU agents. Ukrainian American Communists prospered during the 1930s, welcoming financial support from Soviet Ukraine.

During World War II, UHO, ODWU and UNA leaders were accused of Nazi sympathies and were called to testify before Congress. The UHO disbanded. ODWU and the UNA lost members.

When the war ended and the Communist threat was acknowledged once again, Ukrainian Americans associated with the anti-Communist front came roaring back. Leading Ukrainian American political figures at this time were Republican Dmytro Halychyn, UNA president, and his successor Joe Lesawyer, Democrat. Dr. Lev Dobriansky was the GOP outreach chair during the 1968 presidential campaign.

Ukrainian Republicans prospered after the election of Richard M. Nixon in 1968. The Republican National Committee (RNC) created the Heritage Groups Council. An ethnic affairs office, headed by Laszlo Pasztor, was established within the RNC. Laszlo traveled around the country forming local and national ethnic affiliates that became part of the Heritage Groups Council. By 1972 there were 34 nationality federations and 25 state councils. The Ukrainian National Republican Federation (UNRF), which encompassed councils in 20 states, received the coveted Dwight D. Eisenhower Service Award in 1972. That same year, Taras Szmagala Sr., then the director of Sen. Bob Taft’s Cleveland office, became the ethnic outreach director for the Nixon re-election campaign.

Thanks to their visibility and activity in the Republican Party, President Gerald R. Ford appointed a Ukrainian as White House special assistant for ethnic affairs. Ukrainians also served on the staffs of Sens. Taft (Ohio), James Buckley (New York) and Bob Dole (Kansas) – all Republicans. A Ukrainian was appointed ambassador to the Bahamas by President Ronald Reagan.

Ethnic influence by the Captive Nations lobby led to a vicious vilification campaign by the Sovietophile left. Most egregious was a leftwing publication, “Old Nazis, the New Right and the Reagan Administration” by Russ Bellant. “Fascist” anti-Soviet ethnics in the RNC were influencing American foreign policy prolonging the Cold War, claimed Mr. Bellant. A similar hit piece by Joe Conason appeared in The Village Voice. The New York Times and the Washington Post reviewed the stories. The RNC allowed the RHGC to fade.

Ukrainian Democrats were strong in 2016 and are even more so in 2020. They appear to be zealous and organized. It’s time for Ukrainian Republicans to be heard. Good luck to both parties.

Ukrainian Americans love Ukraine, but they love the United States, the nation that provided a safe haven for their parents and grandparents, far more. Our people are bright, well-read and politically savvy. I’m confident they will do the right thing in 2020.

Holodomor Background – Soviet Grain Exports and Loan Repayment

The Foreign Office and the Famine. British Documents on Ukraine and the Great Famine of 1932–1933 (1988)
Edited by Marco Carynnyk, Lubomyr Y.Luciuk and Bohdan S. Kordan
with a foreword by Michael R. Marrus

Ovey wrote in a letter to Henderson in march 1930 that the encouraging of British exports to the Soviet Union was a “pressing matter.” Britain’s policy, he gathered, was “to maintain correct and friendly relations with the Soviet Government, with a view to encouraging trade as much as possible.” Ovey then discussed ways of increasing exports to the soviet union. “That we buy commodities from Russia,” he wrote, “arises principally from the fact that it is the cheapest market.” The Soviet ability to buy from Britain depended on its ability to sell to Britain. ” The more Russia sells to us the more she should be sympathetically inclined ceteris paribus to buy from us,” Ovey concluded.(63)
(63) woodward and Butler, eds.,Documents on British Foreign Policy 7: 111-12

Moscow had borrowed a dreat deal of money in the west,especially in Germany, to finance its industrialization, and it could repay its loans only by selling grain. The Soviets were financing their programme of industrialization with short term loans which they paid off by exporting wheat. Between 1926 and 1930 Britain lent between 30 and 40 million pounds to Germany. The germans kept a percentage for themselves and passed the credits on to the Soviet Union, which used them to purchase goods,principally heavy machinery, in Germany. Britain was thus financing Germany’s export trade with the Soviet Union. (66) A serious public campaign to alleviate the famine by returning the grain to those who needed it most would,therefore, have brought about a reduction of Soviet grain exports,and that in turn, would have upset the international banking system, in which London had such a great stake. (67)

(66) R. Boothby, Conservative MP, speaking at the Congress of Peace and Friendship with the USSR in London in December 1935. Britain and the Soviets: The Congress of Peace and Friendship with the USSR (London: Martin Lawrence, 1936), 3.
(67) In a memorandum on the solvency of the Soviet government, G.P. Paton, the commercial counsellor of the British embassy in Moscow, revealed in June 1932 that the Soviet Government was not able to pay the bills that would mature in Germany in October 1932. In October -December 1931 Soviet bills amounted to 40 million marks, but a year later the Soviet government would be faced with bills totaling 165 million marks. ” If all reports regarding this year’s sowing are true.” wrote Paton, ” the prospects of a bumper crop are very remote, and wheat acreage is up all over the world. The Concensus of opinion, in fact, is that Soviet Russia will be fortunate if it can produce sufficient grain to meet domestic requirements; and that exports, if any, will be relatively insignificant as compared with the past 2 years. Assuming this forecast to be true, where is the Soviet government to find the wherewithal to pay the bills maturing in Germany from October onwards? And what of the bills maturing in other countries?” FO.371/16323 N 3840

Presidential elections in Belarus end in mass protests and violent crackdown

Thousands of people took to the streets of Minsk, Gomel, Vitebsk and at least ten other Belarusian cities after the authorities released the official exit poll, according to which Alexander Lukashenko won the presidential elections for the sixth time in a row.

On Masherov Avenue in Minsk, protesters built barricades using garbage containers, buckets, flower beds blocking the roadway, reports the news outlets Mediazona and Sputnik Belarus.

Kyiv names street in honor of journalist who exposed Stalin’s Ukrainian genocide

Kyiv City Council has confirmed plans to name a street in the Ukrainian capital “Gareth Jones Lane” in honor of the British journalist whose courageous reporting helped expose Stalin’s genocidal Ukraine famine. The July 31 decision by the Kyiv authorities reflects the important role played by Jones in the long quest to reveal the truth about the man-made 1930s famine, which killed an estimated four million Ukrainians and is known today as the Holodomor (“Death by Hunger”).

The appearance of a Kyiv street honoring Gareth Jones is arguably long overdue. In that sense, it is very much in keeping with the delays and denials that have marked the wider struggle for greater public awareness of the famine, both in Ukraine itself and internationally. Despite a staggering death toll, the Holodomor has never achieved the kind of international infamy associated with the most notorious atrocities of the totalitarian twentieth century. Instead, almost 100 years on, it is still the subject of heated political debate and remains partially shrouded in Soviet disinformation.

FBI raids offices at downtown One Cleveland Center building tied to Ukrainian oligarch

The FBI on Tuesday raided the offices of a downtown Cleveland real estate company that owns several buildings in the city.

FBI agent Vicki Anderson said agents searched the offices of the Optima Management Group at One Cleveland Center. Optima is a conglomerate of companies across the United States that has interests in real estate in Cleveland, including One Cleveland Center and the 55 Building on Public Square.

Anderson said agents also have served search warrants in Miami.

Authorities in Cleveland have been conducting a wide-ranging probe involving Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky that has been ongoing for quite some time. Kolomoisky is a principal of the Privat Group, a large Ukrainian business company, and principals of the company are also part of Optima.

Optima had a much larger presence in Cleveland about a decade ago when it bought several buildings under the leadership of executive Chaim Schochet. Its presence in Northeast Ohio has dwindled in recent years.

Kolomoisky and a fellow Ukrainian billionaire formed PrivatBank in the early 1990s. It became one of the Ukraine’s key financial institutions, according to Forbes. The Ukrainian government nationalized the bank in 2016 after an investigation suggested there was large-scale fraud over a decade-long period, Forbes reported.

The financial news outlet places Kolomoisky net worth at about $1.2 billion. The Daily Beast, citing The Financial Times, said he lives in Tel Aviv and remains a complicated political figure in his home country. He is a former governor of Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region.

Romania Passes Law Banning Gender Studies, Following Hungary and Poland

Romania has passed a law banning gender studies and educational institutions from promoting gender identities divorced from biological sex, joining the ranks of Central European countries Hungary and Poland to require a more traditional approach to gender theory.

On Tuesday, Romanian lawmakers passed an amendment to an education law banning educational institutions from “activities propagating theories and opinions on gender identity according to which gender is a separate concept from biological sex,” according to The Swaddle.

The decision elicited widespread condemnation from a variety of activist organizations, with some professors openly intending to defy the law. The amendment was passed without any debate or consultation with teachers or educators.

University of Bucharest Minorities and Equity teacher Gelu Duminica wrote in a Facebook post: “I really don’t plan on stopping [gender studies] for the simple reason that if I did I wouldn’t do my duty anymore. Because my role is to guide my students to understand man’s behavior in society. And people are diverse.”

Ukrainian Law Enforcement Arrest Individual Allegedly Attempting to End Investigation Into Burisma and Hunter Biden with $6 Million Bribe

An individual was reportedly arrested by Ukrainian Law Enforcement who was attempting to bribe government officials with $6 million to end an investigation into Burisma and Hunter Biden.

It was first reported yesterday that:

This evening Ukrainian investigators seized $6 million in cash and arrests were made in an alleged bribe to Ukrainian prosecutors to halt investigations into the Burisma group of companies and involvement with Hunter Biden, the son of Democrat Presidential Candidate Joe Biden, CDMedia has learned. The bribes were allegedly to the Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the Office of the Special Prosecutor (SAP). This information was posted on official NABU social media. We are told the operation had been under way for 2 weeks and is still ongoing.

DOD Announces $250M to Ukraine

June 11, 2020

The Department of Defense announced today its plans for $250 million in Fiscal Year 2020 Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds for additional training, equipment, and advisory efforts to strengthen Ukraine’s capacity to more effectively defend itself against Russian aggression.

This reaffirms the long-standing defense relationship between the United States and Ukraine – a critical partner on the front line of strategic competition with Russia. The United States remains steadfast in its support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

The USAI funds – $125 million of which was conditional on Ukraine’s progress on defense reforms – will provide equipment to support ongoing training programs and operational needs. This includes capabilities to enhance Ukraine’s defensive lethal capabilities and situational awareness in the maritime domain, air surveillance systems to monitor sovereign airspace, command and control and survivability of Ukraine’s Land and Special Operations Forces through the provision of counter-artillery radars and tactical equipment, military medical treatment and combat evacuation procedures, and cyber defense and strategic communications to counter Russian cyber offensive operations and misinformation.