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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Tymoshenko Sizes Up Obama Strategists (Updated)

Senator Obama's visit to Ukraine in October 2005

If everybody does it, why can't Tymoshenko?

In late 2004, Yanukovych's Party of Regions set the trend when it cast its lot with Paul Manafort and Rick Davis of the GOP camp. By that time, as it recently turned out, Yanukovych had also done business with the folks who now run the American Institute in Ukraine.

In 2007, Yushchenko's NUNS, according to some sources, drew expertise from the Democratic talent pool, headed by James Carville, Bill Clinton's chief strategist.

In 2008, Tymoshenko became involved with Kenneth Murphy, an American lobbyist who reportedly followed her to high-level bilateral talks — without having a security clearance.

She now has expanded her horizons. Please welcome her new would-be partner, AKPD Message and Media, the company whose A stands for Axelrod, that is, David Axelrod, Obama's right-hand man!

So alleges King Makers for Tymoshenko, an Ukrayinska Pravda article by Mustafa Nayem. The author claims having obtained a PowerPoint presentation from a source whose identity he does not want to compromise.

A task force of 9 professionals will be dispatched to Kyiv to handle Tymoshenko’s campaign strategy. Nayem names a few names: Larry Grisolano, Jeff Link, Joe Goldberg, David Humphreville.

Learn more in a follow-up article.

Hmmm...will they, too, be peddling tiger-braid-themed paraphernalia to school kids?

In the follow-up article, published today, Nayem names a few more names:

John Anzalone, “the best pollster you’ve never heard of” (Washington Post)
Peter Giangreco, local staffing (a top consultant to Blagojevich’s campaigns)
Paul Neville, campaign scheduling
Andrew Bleeker, online campaigning
Michael Organ, online campaigning

If Tymoshenko says yes, we'll have a Yes, She Can campaign, run by a foreign government.

This should make even Yanukovych blush, hopefully.



Michelle said...

I learn the most amazing things on your blog!!!!!!!!!!

Gabriela said...

Here you have the post about food. Thanks a lot for your collaboration:

¡Muchas gracias!

Ropi said...

She is blonder now as she was 4 years ago, isn't she? (By the way I kind of stole a political campaign slogan with that statement. We are living in worse conditions than 4 years ago was an opposition slogan in 2006).

Lingüista said...

The problem is, of course, that Yanukovich (and the whole anti-Tymoshenko opposition) will immediately cry foul -- "foreign influences"! Hmmm, can you see the headlines in Russian newspaper, the debates in Russian TV? (Of course, since Tymoshenko has been palling around with Putin, maybe they'll cut her some slack. But the cries of "foreign influence!" seem too good to miss.)

Taras said...


You're welcome! Stay tuned!


Thank you for spreading the culinary word!


Come January, she'll probably dye her hair red to rise above the noise as Ukrainians go to the polls.


As a Ukrainian, I find such practices unacceptable.

Ukrainian politicians who import American or Russian government-connected spin doctors must be tried for the crime of treason. Neither America nor Russia would allow such practices at home.

In the case of Tymoshenko and Yanukovych, it's certainly the pot calling the kettle black.

Lingüista said...

Really? But if the advisors in question are not go-betweens between the candidate and some "foreign interests", but are simply professional help hired by the candidate, is it still so bad? I mean, if Tymoshenko hired Ukrainian advisers who happened to know as much as the American ones she's hiring, wouldn't it be the same thing?

To me, the bad thing would be if the advisors in question were defending American interests, not the candidate's. I.e. if they were trying to force the candidate into a stance that would be more favorable to American interests rather than to Ukrainian interests. Is this what you assume is happening?

alan said...

Ukraian politics are just as crazy as American. Show me an honest politician at any level and I will show you one who cant get elected.

elmer said...

Taras, the spin doctors do not constitute or represent the US government, notwithstanding that David Axelrod is indeed a part of Obama's administration.

However, officials in US government are required to sever their ties to business interests, so as to prevent conflicts of interest or the appearance of impropriety. Unlike in Ukraine...

That having been said, Tymo's new spin doctors should read Yushchenko's interview in Der Speigel. Yushchenko doesn't want to hear about his low poll numbers, and he accuses Tymo of trying to make deals with the devil in order to undermine him (conveniently forgetting his "universal agreement" with PoR to get around Tymo), but he does get a few things right. He mentions the imported meat fiasco, which resulted in warehouses full of rotting imported meat. There is mention of a banana republic.

Yushchenko: As the guarantor of the constitution, I must maintain Ukrainian as the official state language. We preserve our culture thanks to our mother tongue. This significantly contributes to maintaining our independence. If a nation loses its language, it loses its memory, its history, and its identity.

Yushchenko: You have to realize why Russia is so jealously observing the development of a young democracy on its border. In 1654, Ukraine lost its sovereignty and became a border province in the Russian Empire. During the 20th century, Ukraine declared its independence six times and lost it again five times. For us the loss of our sovereignty is no theoretical threat, but rather the real life experience of many generations. We have always lost our sovereignty for one single reason: because we were the victims of power games. This explains why we are now seeking our security in NATO, an alliance of democracies that already includes Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

Yushchenko: The problems began after the Orange Revolution, when we formed a government and our first differences surfaced. We argued over what policies we actually wanted to pursue. Prime Minister Tymoshenko put a halt to market economy reforms and resorted to excessive state control. She limited exports of grain and vegetable oil under the pretense of combating inflation. Last year she destroyed the livelihoods of tens of thousands of small farmers with massive meat imports, after which livestock herds dwindled dramatically. Populism and corruption took the place of market economy competition.

Taras said...


It's all about conflicts of interest — and the laws that govern them.

No U.S. presidential candidate would hire a foreign national who happens to have worked for someone who currently serves as the top adviser to the PM of China or Russia. Likewise, neither Russia nor China nor France nor Germany nor Israel would tolerate a team of U.S. government-connected consultants in its political life, right?

So, when it comes to elections — as opposed to business (unless we're dealing with sensitive products/services) — strong countries have strong laws. Only puppet candidates/governments would act like Yanukovych, Tymoshenko and Yushchenko do.

If Ukraine wants to be an independent country, “no foreigners” must be the rule in political consulting.


Honest politicians are hard to find in any country:) That said, I daresay, in a broader sense, Ukrainian politics is much crazier.

Your system, while not perfect, rests on the rule of law (more than ours does). Which rules out a lot of the craziness we have.

Taras said...


They may not represent the U.S. government officially, but their connections to the U.S. government and the Washington establishment speak for themselves. That's quite enough.

As always, Yushchenko is the superman who keeps his head in the clouds and points his fingers but never looks himself in the mirror.

elmer said...

Taras -

Two things occur to me.

First, Tymo, Yanuk and others hire Western "spin doctors" because there are no people available in Ukranie - or in Rasha - who know how to conduct accurate polls.

Oh, I know, there are all sorts of polls in Ukraine. What I'm talking about is accurate polling, including the little instruments that pollsters use in focus groups, for example, to record reactions.

I happen to agree with your point about Ukrainian politicians not using foreign spin doctors - but where are the Ukrainian ones?

Second, and maybe more importantly, Ukraine's government is not a truly representative government.

So, Ukrainian politicians like Yanuk, or even Tymo, hire Western spin doctors, who are familiar with truly representative government, to create messages that create the illusion of democracy.

Look at your post on Yanuk - look at how well Yanuk fakes sincerity! He's is soooo ready to "help people" (tons of dripping sarcasm here - the only person he's ready to help is Yanukovych and his Party of Regions "saldats").

Put differently - they are all still so used to the sovok legacy, to the command and control government, that they think that electing a different crooked oligarch somehow constitutes true democracy.

The people have already figured out that voting for one oligarch or oligarch representative really sucks big time.

That's why people don't trust the government in Ukraine, and that's why people are so disillusioned with Urkraine's government.

In other words, I think Tymo, and Yanuk, and all the others who hire spin doctors from the West may be wasting their money.

The part missing here is a candidate for president who will truly represent the people - and keep campaign promises.

The other part that's missing is truly representative government in the Rada.

Taras said...

We do have accurate pollsters in Ukraine. We do have our own spin doctors. Maybe there aren’t enough of them. (Just as there aren’t enough Ukrainian politicians willing to seek medical help in — not outside — Ukraine.)

Our corrupt politicians are suffering from the worst kind of post-colonial cargo cult. They talk “buy Ukrainian” but all they do is buy foreign-made stuff. They hire lobbyists and spin doctors with strong connections in Washington and superficial knowledge of Ukraine.

After all, Ukraine is nothing but a cash cow/bargaining chip to them. They don’t give a shit about Ukraine, and neither do the people they hire.

Party of Regions commercials make for a good case study on translationese in advertising: Americans do the copywriting, Ukrainians do the translation.

I can’t wait to see AKPD's campaign slogan for Tymoshenko.