Share |

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Phony Tymoshenko Stars in a YouTube Video

It wasn’t exactly love at first between her and YouTube. Yet once she realized the power of social media, she decided to give it another try.

So, after pulling her hair in Everything's Gone!, followed by her histrionic televised address, she wants to give us a “slice of sincerity.”

Watch another show that sucks: a gonzo video of her braidless self. In the video, she thanks the Russian pilot who safely landed a troubled plane in Simferopol on July 5, saving the lives of 92 passengers on board.

PM Yulia Tymoshenko: I want to thank you on behalf of the entire Ukraine, the entire government —and I just want to give you my special thanks — for making it through this terrible stress, for making this extremely difficult landing with flying colors, and we all are proud of you, just to let you know...It’s beyond words, we all were praying here...thanks you so much! Please relay this to all your team, crew, to everyone out there who was by your side, that you are our pride! We love you, we’re hugging you, and, thank God, our prayers…thank you so much! I’m hugging you real tight and we all love you very much. [laughs] Have a nice one! Wishing you all the best! Yes.

In this home-not-so-alone vignette, she struggles to put behind the tragicomedy of her queen-has-no-clothes teleprompter experience. (Ain’t that a small world?)

She speaks conversational Russian, punctuated with a Ukrainian-accented letter Г, so uncharacteristic of her public speeches. (In 2007, her party’s testimonials thrived on this level-with-the-people technique, which even involved elements of surzhyk.)

I may sound rude, but I was wondering how many jokes and bottles of cognac it would have taken her to get over that plane — had it crashed down.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Russian Patriarch Kirill Patronizes Ukraine

When I say “pastoral visit,” I don’t load this term with any paternalism whatsoever, with any “looking down on” whatsoever. I came here as a pilgrim.

I learn constantly and it's not a cliche: I like hearing people's voices, conjugating this diverse choir of human thought. When I say “pastoral visit” — I came here as a pilgrim, to pray and ponder with the congregation.

—Patriarch Kirill I of Moscow on his visit to Ukraine

In other statements, Patriarch Kirill poses as a boss, not as a pilgrim or a preacher. After all, thanks to a twist of history, he runs Ukraine’s biggest church: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate).

I took the liberty of dissecting some of his statements.

President Yushchenko: Naturally, the greatest aspiration of the Ukrainian people is to live in a unified, whole, local, first-apostolic church.

Naturally, President Yushchenko overstated his case. The church is hardly the #1 value in any secular industrial society: The quality of life is. Nevertheless, having a unified church that does not take orders from the Kremlin would be good for Ukraine’s independence.

And bad for the Kremlin.

Patriarch Kirill: This church, Mr. President, does exist. There is an local church in Ukraine. If there wasn’t, there would be no Ukraine today. There’s no imperialism here whatsoever, no domination of one over the other. There’s a clear Orthodox ecclesiology here: the Patriarch is the father — for everyone. Regardless of the color of the passport in your pocket, the state we live in — he is the father of all who belong to the Orthodox Church that falls under the single jurisdiction headed by the Patriarch.

Your Holiness, are you elaborating on Lenin’s famous quote “Есть такая партия!” (“There is a party like that!”)?

Speaking of history, I thought Christianity came to Moscow via Kyiv, not the other way around. Also, I thought the church in Moscow had been part of the Kyiv Metropoly until proclaiming itself autocephalous in 1448. Why do you think that Moscow’s efforts to secure independence from Constantinople are holier than Kyiv’s efforts to secure independence from Moscow?

On top of that, I thought Moscow was founded by the Prince of Kyiv, and not the other way around. Which brings us to the ultimate question: Are you here because of Christ or because of Caesar?

Some people think you're here because of Caesar.

President Yushchenko and Patriarch Kirill exchanged the above statements while attending the Holodomor Memorial on June 27 — each in their own way, as you can see. After all, the Holodomor is something that Russia rarely recognizes, much less claims any responsibility for.

No wonder, Patriarch Kirill, who presides over the pro-Russian branch of Ukraine’s Orthodoxy, said the following about the Holodomor:

A famine, a terrible famine wrought by concrete political causes and complicated by, also, natural cataclysms led to great numbers of people perishing — in Ukraine, Povolzhye, North Caucasus, Southern Urals, Western Siberia, Kazakhstan. It’s a common hardship of the entire people that lived, at that time, in one country.

Patriarch Kirill also expressed hope that “the tragic circumstances of our history will not foster the development of fraternal hate-mongering historiography.”

Your Holiness, sweeping genocide under the rug is not a brotherly thing to do.

Technically, the Jews who perished at Auschwitz, Treblinka, Buchenwald and Babyn Yar and the Germans who killed them had lived in one country: The Third Reich. Now, according to some historians, up to 150,000 Jews served in the Wehrmacht. Moreover, the Germans certainly killed more Slavs than Jews. Does that relegate the Holocaust to a non-event? Does that dilute Germany’s moral responsibility for the Holocaust? Did a million of Russians starve during the Blockade of Leningrad because of “natural cataclysms?” Bad weather? Crop failure?

According to your logic, probably yes. According to German law, definitely no.

Keeping in mind that Russia is the sole legal successor to the Soviet Union, how can we be sure it won’t happen again if we dilute responsibility?

As Patriarch Kirill basked in publicity, his bag of tricks grew all the more paternalistic, moralistic and apologetic. It exploded in a live-broadcast prime-time interview on Inter, Ukraine’s #1 television channel, on June 29.

Just a few quotes, gleaned from various sources (unfortunately, I didn’t watch the interview):

When nowadays I’m being told that in order to acquire the Ukrainian national self-identity, we need new names that divide Ukrainian believers — I’m not even talking about Russians and Ukrainians — but names that divide Ukraine itself, this logic eludes me.

I am deeply convinced that in Ukraine there should be no experimenting with names that divide the country itself.

Your Holiness, I don’t recall John Paul II being that judgmental and mentorial toward Ukrainians during his June 2001 visit here. That’s despite the fact that Poles and Ukrainians had fought each other bitterly throughout history and have different historical perspectives.

Or how about this one:

Recently, the Council of Europe adopted some resolution that places Nazism and Stalinism on an equal footing. I’m no proponent or defender of that Stalin era. But here’s what we should now perhaps think about. Both Nazism and Stalinism are repressions, including those against their own people, as is the case with many other regimes that existed. But how does Nazism differ from any other system? It differs by its hate-mongering.

Your Holiness, are you saying Stalinism involved less hate-mongering and perhaps more humanism? Based on what calculus? If we compare the number of Russians (alone) who died from Stalin’s repressions with the number of Germans who died from Hitler’s repressions, which number will be greater — much greater?

Moving on:

Stalinism is a repressive regime and, in a sense, a criminal regime because as a result of this regime’s actions innocent people were dying. That said, it was the Soviet Union that laid the biggest sacrifice on the altar of liberating both its own country and the entire world from what had posed a threat to the entire human civilization.

So, to prevent the 25 million lives lost by the Soviet Union in WW II from falling into oblivion, one should describe Stalinism as the lesser of two evils? And we can talk about the Soviet Union's liberation of Eastern Europe from Nazism without mentioning the strings attached by Stalin?

Can we remember our human sacrifice — unmatched by any Western or Eastern country — by repressing the facts of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact?

Can we honor those millions of people by keeping mum on Stalin’s cannon-fodder warfare and post-WW II Gulag?



Monday, July 27, 2009

Tymoshenko Tests Govt Call Center

How do you fight red tape in Ukraine? You set up a call center.

That’s what PM Yulia Tymoshenko has done, in an apparent bid to outshine Kyiv Mayor Leonid “Kosmos” Chernovetsky, a veteran call-center maniac and bureaucracy-buster.

Accompanied by Labor Minister Lyudmyla Denysova, Tymoshenko got her “random call” from what sounded like an initially unsuspecting help seeker.

Video uploaded from:

Another Mazhor Meets His Maker

Had he killed somebody else with his car, he would’ve most likely gotten away with it. But now that killed himself, he won’t kill anybody.

Case Summary
Name: Viktor Sivkovych
Age: 25
Next of kin: MP Volodymyr Sivkovych (PRU), father, former KGB operative
Place of death: Kyiv, Ukraine
Time of death: Saturday, June 25, 11:15 p.m.
Vehicle: Lexus
Traffic violation: Speeding
Cause of death: Crashed his Lexus into a street light in, car exploded and burned

This latest fatality comes a mere six weeks after Hanna Herman, a fellow Party of Regions MP, lost her 17-year-old son in a similarly shocking accident.

A friend of the deceased says Viktor was neither an expert driver nor a drinker nor a reckless driver. The man doesn’t rule out the possibility that the accident may have been an assassination plot masterminded by enemies of MP Sivkovych, a former KGB operative.

MP Valeriy Bondyk (PRU) follows the same theory and believes that the car’s machinery may have been tampered with. Bondyk trusts the investigation to determine the cause of the accident and claims that due to built-in safeguards “Lexuses don’t burn.”

The deceased worked as a bailiff at the Ministry of Justice.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Yushchenko Climbs Mt. Hoverla

He first did it in 1972. Since then, he’s done it almost every year, completing his 35th climb on July 18.

Climbing Ukraine’s highest mountain has become something of a soul-searching ritual for him.

In 2004, it was a fighter's climb. In 2009, it’s more like a farewell climb.

Plus tons of trash.

Videos uploaded from:
Original sources:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

VP Biden Meets With PM Tymoshenko

Channel 5 offers short footage of the meeting.

Joe Biden also met with Viktor Yanukovych and Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the two other main contenders in Ukraine’s presidential race.

Video uploaded from:
Original source:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

VP Biden Visits Kyiv


House with Chimaeras
Kyiv, Ukraine

It says Kyiv here. At a joint press conference, Vice President Biden said Kiev.

Nitpicking aside, it was a rather nondescript press conference, full of stale reassurances and mantras, devoid of breakthroughs and questions from reporters.

The lively part came afterward: President Yushchenko and VP Biden visited the Holodomor Memorial, where they planted arrowwood trees and shook hands with the public.

Next, they relished two Coca-Colas at a local pub, whereupon Mr. Biden left for a meeting with PM Tymoshenko.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

More Appeasement from the American Institute in Ukraine

After making Reagan roll over in his grave by misusing his famous quote, they’re back.

  • Back with a quote about the “nationalist” Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry;
  • Back with less prevarication about their views/connections;
  • Back with a noble mission of educating Ukrainians about NATO; and
  • Back with more appeasement toward the good old benevolent Kremlin.

Discover these fresh offerings in Say No to NATO, an article by Graham Stack at

I found this article thanks to a French-language anti-NATO site that calls my blog “Ukrainamania” and puts it in the ranks of neocon public relations. What can I say? I’m flattered! Just get my blog’s name right, OK?

In Say No to NATO, the American Institute in Ukraine (AIU) finally abandons any pretense of neutrality and nonalignment: “Ukraine’s NATO membership is not in Ukraine’s interests. Nor is it in U.S. interests. All that it will create is a nuclear trip wire at the heart of Europe.” What took you so long, guys?

Now that you’re so brave, straightforward and openhearted, let’s examine the Kremlin’s hymnbook quote by quote:

Anthony T. Salvia, AIU Executive Director: In Ukraine, U.S. opinion is often represented as being monolithically in favor of Ukraine’s future membership of NATO. We’re here in Kiev to show this is definitely not the case.

Do you have any scientific — and independent — U.S. poll numbers? I, for one, can’t argue with the poll numbers in Ukraine. According to various polls, support for NATO membership clocks in at 20-30%, nowhere near the 77% found in Georgia. Which brings us to the question of why you’re here. You gave up on Georgia and focused on Ukraine. You’re here to tell us what to do with our security. Moreover, you think that our security has nothing to do with your security. Well, think again.

Doug Bandow, a guest speaker at AIU: The U.S. should refrain from making promises to Ukraine it cannot honor, but which might embolden Ukraine to provoke a conflict. The Ukrainians should realize that the US will never fight Russia over Ukraine. Ukraine must learn to rely on its own resources for securing its sovereignty, and not to trust to U.S. promises.

Would the U.S. fight Russia over Latvia or Poland under Article 5? (Just curious.) At any rate, thank you for disarming and disowning us! Indeed, today, we Ukrainians only have ourselves to rely on if attacked by our friendliest neighbor in the universe, Russia. If and when that happens, you shouldn’t expect us to control our missile technology as we promised you in 1998. We’ll be too busy. See if you can intercept a bootleg SS-18 with the “reset button.”

Salvia: Ukrainian NATO membership, by ruining relations with Russia, would make Ukraine less secure than it is, not more. And it would also harm U.S. security, by ruining the chances for cooperation with Russia over vital issues such as Afghanistan, North Korea and Iran, all issues that the new administration has said it will prioritize.

If you ruin our security with your art of appeasement, your cooperation with Russia over Iran and North Korea will become a joke. And the Kremlin will have no regrets.

Salvia: There are other mechanisms available for strengthening Ukrainian security. One is a new European security treaty, similar to that being proposed by Dmitry Medvedev. The other is for European Union membership. The Kremlin is basically open toward Ukraine’s future EU membership, especially if it is an alternative to Ukraine’s NATO membership.

A new European security treaty? You mean, a new Yalta Conference? The EU is a security organization and the Kremlin is open toward Ukraine’s future EU membership? Really? Can you call the Kremlin again and come back with the details?

Yelena Biberman, a U.S. Embassy policy specialist engaged in research on Ukraine’s foreign ministry (according to the article): Foreign ministry officials are ideologically anti-Russian and nationalist to the extent that they may not always be able to objectively assess Ukraine’s real national interests. They believe that Russia is inherently imperialistic and bent on regaining control over Ukraine as a step to rebuilding its empire, and NATO membership is the only way to stop this. Even for a new Ukrainian president, it will be very hard to change their perspective.

So, to restore objectivity, the new Ukrainian president should by all means try to change their perspective, as in “change Putin believes in?” That’s a very insightful perspective from an FSO trained at Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). Has the U.S. Embassy outsourced some of its staff to AIU or vice versa? What’s next? A garage sale of “reset buttons” and “Made in USSR” memorabilia? Clientitis classes? There’s nothing new about the fact that Russia hasn’t refreshed its historiography since the Brezhnev era — if not for a brief moment during perestroika. But, for State’s sake, aren’t there any post-Soviet history textbooks on or at Brown? Doesn’t Prof. Sergei Khrushchev have any?

Salvia: We don’t engage in lobbying, but work exclusively in the public field holding conferences, talks and round table discussions. What we are trying to tell Ukrainians is simply that you can be pro-America and pro-European without having to want to join NATO.

Tell it to the Poles. Tell it to the Czechs. Tell it to the Slovaks. Tell it to the Hungarians. Tell it to the Romanians. Tell it to the Bulgarians. Tell it to the Lithuanians. Tell it to the Latvians. Tell it to the Estonians. Tell it to the Georgians. Tell it to the IRS.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Obamas, McCain, Lewinsky, Blagojevich, Schwarzenegger in Another Ukrainian-Made Cartoon

CFC Consulting and Future Media present... Obama's Mother-in-Law Saves White House from Disaster. HT: Anonymous.

According to the description on YouTube, this cartoon is dedicated to America's First Grandmother, who celebrated her birthday on July 11.

Video embedded from:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Yanukovych: King of Freudian Slips

Anna Akhmetova,” “preventing natural disasters,” “Bebel,” oh boy...

Kulykov, host: Mr. Yanukovych, a coalition between your political entity and the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko was viewed by many people, both abroad and at home, as a factor of effectively combating the economic crisis and as a factor of stabilnist. Really, aren't the politicians in Ukraine ready to yield their personal interests to state interests?

Yanukovych: Well, I want to say that...uh...on the contrary...the politicians...must always keep in mind the interests of the state — not their own interests — and their own responsibility before...the people. Therefore, the vvv..the ver...the very...uh...[hilariously awkward pause]...therefore, I made the decision, for my own good, to be, at this time, with the people...and to And I can say that I've always had one interest...that interest has been that the country would be strong and that the people would live prosperous lives. [June 22, 2009]

In case you didn’t notice, you’re not the only one with that interest! And you’re not the only one who’s willing to yield it! Your agenda perfectly matches Tymoshenko’s and Yatsenyuk’s. But, yes, you’re the guy who dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s!

So no matter who wins, don’t let your “interest” interfere with your presidency!

Video uploaded from:

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Quiz for President Obama: What Did Ukraine Contribute to U.S. Security?

That last aspect of Paul's character — a sense of empathy — is one that I find myself appreciating more and more as I get older. It is at the heart of my moral code, and it is how I understand the Golden Rule — not simply as a call to sympathy or charity, but as something more demanding, a call to stand in somebody else’s shoes and see through their eyes.
—Barack Obama The Audacity of Hope

After watching President Obama’s “Chicken Kiev 2” speech, I wonder how much he knows about my country and its contribution to U.S. security.
Does he remember his visit to Ukraine in 2005?

So I decided to put together a short quiz.

1. How many warheads and delivery vehicles did Ukraine give up when disarmed by Washington in the mid ‘90s?

Ukraine? Oh, you mean the Ukraine?

B. The Ukraine, uh, sorry, Ukraine, had nukes? Are you serious?
Come on! Ukraine had simply inherited those nukes from the Soviet Union!

Ukraine sacrificed the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal (176+24 MIRVed ICBMs+600 ALCMs+≈3,000 tactical nukes≈5,000 warheads), much of it produced by Ukraine’s industry, labor and environment.

2. What did Ukraine get in return?

Ukraine is as prosperous and secure as its neighbors Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia (NATO and EU members).

The Kuchma family made an overnight billion-dollar fortune and donated $5M to the Clinton Foundation.

Ukraine is one of the poorest countries in Europe, with a GDP per capita of $6K (PPP).

Sweet harvest”+“change we can believe in.

E. Both B, C and D are correct.

3. What did Ukraine get in exchange for walking out on a $50M deal for the supply of nuclear power plant turbines to the Iranian reactor in Bushehr in 1998?

A. In Bush what?
Don’t push it!

How can you be so ungrateful after all the aid we’ve provided you with? We hired our best consultants and paid them our best rates!

Nothing. Losers like you deserve nothing.

4. How much aid did Ukraine receive from the U.S. to process 5,000 tons of highly toxic rocket fuel from its scrapped nuclear arsenal?

Some personnel training+$30M+some “open burning” and “detonation” advice from Thiokol Corporation.

Once you scrapped those missiles and stopped being a threat to us, it’s your problem.

C. Don’t ever mention it again!
D. OK, we’ll probably give you some more money, but only if you beg.
E. Both A, B, and C are correct.

5. How many troops did Ukraine contribute to the coalition forces in Iraq and how many of them died?

Let’s change the subject.

1,650 at peak (deployed 08/03, withdrawn 12/08), 28 dead.

Russia contributed more.

The war in Iraq was the wrong thing to do in the first place, so STFU!

6. How many times did the U.S. Air Force use Ukrainian airspace during 10/9/01-03/24/03 alone?



Russia will allow us 4,000 overflights per year (savings of $133M) and will have the right to inspect them.

You’re a neocon puppet!

E. Both A and C are correct.

7. Mr. President, can you reciprocate Ukraine by treating our security on its own merits, not on the merits of your relations with Russia?

Yes, I can.

No, I can’t.

C. I don’t know.
Putin knows best.

Thank you!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Putin to Obama: At Least 17 Million Russians Live in Ukraine

That’s what Putin told Obama as the two enjoyed Russian cuisine at a lunch in Moscow. Putin had quoted that number before, when demanding that NATO stay away from Ukraine.

The only problem is, it’s 17% percent of Ukraine’s population — not 17 million people — who are ethnic Russians.

Of course,
the percentage of Ukrainian citizens who speak Russian only or surzhyk is higher, due to the Soviet policy of Russification and its lingering legacy. But these people are not ethnic Russians. Likewise, just because I speak idiomatic English, it doesn’t mean I'm British, Canadian, Australian or American.

I wonder if Obama swallowed Putin’s quote. Getting a sense of Putin’s soul can be fraught with fraud.


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Obama Mentions Ukraine But Emphasizes Russia

No, he didn't call Ukraine the Ukraine, as he had done during the presidential debates. But he did say Kiev (7:53). So much for Ambassador Taylor's efforts to switch the U.S. government from Kiev to Kyiv (3:59-4:27).

Nitpicking aside, here's what President Obama said in Moscow today, in addition to commending Putin on doing
“extraordinary work:

State sovereignty must be a cornerstone of international order. Just as all states should have the right to choose their leaders, states must have the right to borders that are secure, and to their own foreign policies. That is true for Russia, just as it is true for the United States. Any system that cedes those rights will lead to anarchy. That's why we must apply this principle to all nations -- and that includes nations like Georgia and Ukraine. America will never impose a security arrangement on another country. For any country to become a member of an organization like NATO, for example, a majority of its people must choose to; they must undertake reforms; they must be able to contribute to the Alliance's mission. And let me be clear: NATO should be seeking collaboration with Russia, not confrontation.


And here's what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on March 5, 2009: “We should continue to open NATO's door to European countries such as Georgia and Ukraine and help them meet NATO standards.”

Sound interesting? Wait until you read what presidential candidate Obama wrote in a letter to the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America in October 2008.

He described Ukraine as being ready for a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) and said he would work with U.S. allies to convince them to grant MAP to Ukraine.

Now isn't that change we can believe in?


Sunday, July 05, 2009

Obama, Clinton, Chavez, Putin et al. in a Ukrainian-Made Cartoon

Political humor gets even more political and even more (or less) humorous when it crosses cultures.

Channel 1+1 presents...Barack Obama Superstar: The Untold Story.

As President Obama visits Russia, it’s important that the olive branch he brings to the table does not hit the dove on the head.

Naturally, the Obama-Forrest Gump-Che Guevara-Larry King-Chavez sequence may entertain U.S. conservatives and irritate U.S. liberals. Anyway, to a Ukrainian like me, the Putin part looks very close to home.

The cartoon was produced by CFC Consulting, “a Ukrainian company with a global sense of humor,” in partnership with Future Media Arts.

Video embedded from:

Original sources:

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The American Institute in Ukraine: A Yanukovych-Friendly Appeasement Think Tank

You’d think that the only Washington spin doctor to promote Yanukovych and his anti-NATO/pro-Kremlin platform would be Paul Manafort. You shouldn’t. Meet the American Institute in Ukraine!

In his recent article, Ukrayinska Pravda’s Serhiy Leshchenko exposes this pseudo-independent organization, whose talent did business with Yanukovych as early as in 2003.

What’s in a name?
James George Jatras. The American (read: Appeasement) Institute in Ukraine (AIU) lists him as one of his associates, and so does Squire Sanders Public Advocacy, LLC. (Public advocacy...hmmm...sounds so much sweeter than lobbying, doesn’t it?)

Jatras’ profile at Squire Sanders credits him with a wealth of experience:

  • Serving on the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee and as an American Foreign Service Officer in the Office of Soviet Union Affairs;
  • Engaging in versatile legislative advocacy and international projects;
  • Participating in panel discussions at the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation and the International Strategic Studies Association.

Specifically, Jatras assisted in the defense of Slobodan Milosevic at the Hague Tribunal. His organization, the American Council for Kosovo (ACK), opposes Kosovo’s independence. All of which makes the American Institute in Ukraine look like a clone.

That’s not an accident. Darren Spinck, another key AIU figure, happens to be an officer of ACK.

On March 6 and March 24, 2003, Jatras and his partner Patrick O’Donell at Venable, LLP inked two public relations deals with Alex Kiselev, a Yanukovych representative. Under the deals, Yanukovych was supposed get a dose of favorable publicity and networking in Washington, including, possibly, a meeting with then-President Bush. Price tag: $20K+$60K (for the meeting with Bush, if arranged).

Ukrayinska Pravda offers copies of the agreements:

For some reason, Yanukovych rescheduled his visit. A third agreement with Jatras and McDonnell was signed on November 24, 2003.

Cooperation between the Jatras and Yanukovych camps continued well into the fateful year of 2004. In December 2004, amid the Orange Revolution, Spinck put his signature on the addendum to a $23K+$15K Yanukovych-related consulting agreement with db communications, LLC.

What does AIU do?
“AIU is a privately funded U.S. nonprofit organization and neither receives, solicits, nor accepts funds from any government,” so they say, without disclosing their donors

“The activities of AIU are strictly informational and educational. AIU does not engage in lobbying, either in the United States or abroad.” But AIU talent has engaged in lobbying in the United States on behalf of Ukrainian clients, and the website fails to mention that, right?

Besides, if their current activities encompass “producing and distributing monographs, commentaries, analyses, news, bulletins, press releases and other informational and educational materials,” then why do they tilt to one side only? Does AIU offer a single monograph, commentary or analysis that explores the benefits of Ukraine’s membership in NATO, both for NATO and Ukraine?

If you click “About Us,” you will find this:

AIU takes no position on NATO per se. But whatever NATO's future may be, AIU questions the wisdom of further expansion without clear and convincing evidence that it would directly enhance U.S. security interests, defined as defense of American territory and the American people; protect the territorial defense of its member states, consistent with the sole mission of the alliance as specified in the North Atlantic Treaty; contribute to the security of countries considered for expansion, beginning with Ukraine; and not injure relations with Russia, which must be an ongoing priority of American foreign and security policy. There is reason to question whether any of these criteria exists now or will exist in the foreseeable future.

So if you “question whether any of these criteria exists” and have some foreign policy credentials to support your skepticism, here’s your chance! According to Ukrayinska Pravda sources, you can make $3K in speaking fees, travel and hotel expenses covered. In other words, Western scholars and policy makers who strongly oppose the idea of Ukraine’s membership in NATO and want make a few bucks would be more than welcome!

Ironically, had AIU been around in 2003-2004, then-PM Yanukovych would have probably sent trainloads of his supporters to rally outside its office. At that time, he firmly stood for NATO membership and his party rubber-stamped pro-NATO legislation. In fact, he even authored a white paper that called for NATO membership by 2008.

Serhiy Leshchenko says his interest in AIU began with an invitation to participate in one of the events held at that organization — front organization, as it turned out. Guess who called him? Dmytro Dzhangirov, a blatant Kuchma-Yanukovych propagandist whose two-minute-hate-style programs had blasted Yushchenko during the dystopian 2004 presidential campaign. Today, Dzhangirov mainly works for Kyiv mayor Leonid “Kosmos” Chernovetsky. never know.

Apparently, AIU has found Dzhangirov to be an asset to their ill-concealed “disarm and disown,” “putting Putin first,” “quid pro-Kremlin” campaign.

Among AIU’s recent guest speakers was Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute and...of the American Council for Kosovo.

Bandow’s association with the Cato Institute was supposed to lend credentials to the one and only view promoted by AIU: that Ukraine is bad for NATO and that NATO is bad for Ukraine. The fact that in the mid ‘90s Ukraine had sacrificed the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal on the altar of U.S. security gets the silent treatment.

Back to Bandow: Leshchenko called the Cato Institute and asked whether Bandow represented their official policy views. Chris Kennedy, Director of Media Relations, said Bandow represented his views only.

Last, but definitely not least, Leshchenko notes, the Russian version of the AIU web site spells the organization’s name as Американский Институт на Украине rather than Американский Институт в Украине. What’s the difference? It’s the Russian way of saying the Ukraine (province, territory) as opposed to the Ukraine (independent country).

In this regard, I hope U.S. Vice President Joe Biden gets some polit-savvy toponymical tips before he visits Ukraine at the end of July. But my hope already lacks audacity. The siren calls of appeasement artists are getting stronger day by day. Some of them, such as Anthony T. Salvia of AIU, even couch their propaganda in romantic Reagan-era terms. Apparently, the Appeasement...uh...sorry, the American Institute in Ukraine has a busy work schedule.

President Obama will visit Russia on July 6-8, and all Ukraine will get is Vice President Biden two weeks later. As a Ukrainian, I think my country is being marginalized by this Eurasian pecking order.

It’s almost as if the current U.S. administration gets advice from AIU, forgets about Ukraine’s contribution to U.S. security, and ignores Ukraine’s missile technology.

As for Bill Clinton, a huge friend of the Kuchma family, he’ll probably stay out of AIU — unless they seriously rethink their budget.