Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 30.10.2017
On 18 February 2014, fire broke out at the headquarters of the Party of Regions in Kyiv, Ukraine. This happened in the final days of the “EuroMaidan” protests which became known as the Revolution of Dignity. The Party of Regions was the political party of Viktor Yanukovych; he had been cracking down violently on Ukrainians who were protesting for a better life in the streets of Kyiv and throughout Ukraine. The 18th, 19th, and 20th of February were the most violent days of the Revolution of Dignity, when many peaceful protestors were shot and killed by snipers from Yanukovych’s special riot police. Putin ordered his man Yanukovych to flee Kyiv, which he did on the night of 21-22 February 2014. While this was going on, papers were being recovered from the scene of the fire at the headquarters of the Party of Regions. Careful analysis of these papers followed, which revealed much about the kleptocratic rule of Yanukovych and his “clan” and the Party of Regions. A “black ledger” was recovered that showed Paul Manafort received 12.7 million dollars in undisclosed cash payments from the Party of Regions. Ukrainians had known about the American political operative Paul Manafort and of his connection to Yanukovych, but this was the first substantial proof of Manafort’s intimate involvement in Yanukovych Clan corruption.
Over nine years earlier, Putin’s man in Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, was damaged goods after the falsified presidential election of 21 November 2004. Viktor Yushchenko had clearly won that vote, and the announced result that somehow Yanukovych was the winner was obviously bogus. The Orange Revolution broke out on Maidan in Kyiv and in cities throughout Ukraine and it revitalized Ukrainian democracy. The tainted result was annulled. In the repeat run-off election of 26 December 2004 an accurate reflection of the will of the people was obtained, and Yushchenko became president. Instead of slinking away in ignominy, Viktor Yanukovych received a make-over courtesy of his political master Vladimir Putin and the political operative who worked for him at arm’s length, Paul Manafort. Paul Manafort set to work playing up dissension between former Orange Revolution allies, Viktor Yanukovych and Yulia Tymoshenko. Manafort polished the “brand” of Viktor Yanukovych, and built up deep ties between the pro-Russia Party of Regions and the corrupt oligarchy in Ukraine and in Russia. By the time of the presidential election of 7 February 2010, Yanukovych was able to eke out a slim victory over Yulia Tymoshenko and become President of Ukraine.
Viktor Yanukovych, his family “clan” and associated oligarchs, and the Party of Regions set about to create a kleptocracy in Ukraine. The theft of public wealth by private individuals, led by Yanukovych, was staggering in its extent and devastating in the ruin it brought to Ukraine. Paul Manafort was the Svengali who had worked wonders to bring Putin’s man Yanukovych to the position where he could prey upon Ukrainians so mercilessly. He was richly rewarded by the Putin-Yanukovych regime, through the Party of Regions.
Paul Manafort is a wanted man in Ukraine, along with his former nominal boss, Viktor Yanukovych. Paul Manafort returned to the United States, where he became head of the campaign to elect Donald Trump as US president in April of 2016. When that happened, Ukrainians and followers of Ukraine affairs made the connection between Trump and Viktor Yanukovych – and of course, Vladimir Putin. Americans were much, much slower to “connect the dots.” They didn’t realize until it was too late that the man who had brought Putin’s creature Yanukovych to power in Ukraine was about to make an asset of Russia’s intelligence/security apparatus, Donald Trump, president of the United States. Manafort directed the only platform change made at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, which was an anti-Ukraine, pro-Russia resolution omitting support for lethal weapons to Ukraine to help stop Russian aggression. Manafort directed the American side of Kremlin-WikiLeaks information warfare directed at Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. Manafort led a “Lock her up!” agitation propaganda campaign against Hillary Clinton, just as he guided Yanukovych to do against Yulia Tymoshenko. Most tellingly, Manafort sidelined conventional political party fundraising for the Republican Party and brought in an influx of foreign financing from Russia.
Putin works at arm’s length with the assets of his intelligence/security services. Putin uses Vladislav Surkov to act as a “grey cardinal” (a powerful liaison) between him and Aleksandr Zakharchenko, nominal head of the terrorist group “DPR,” and Igor Plotnitsky, nominal head of the terrorist group “LPR.” Putin has used Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn and will use others as grey cardinals over Donald Trump.
Follow the money to a web of corruption. The nexus of that web consists of Paul Manafort, Viktor Yanukovych, Donald Trump, and Vladimir Putin. Manafort was the “grey cardinal” of both Yanukovych and Trump, to serve the interests of Putin. Putin’s interests are to destroy democracy, destroy the rule of law, and destroy the independence of Ukraine and the power of the United States.