Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts

September 22, 2016

Ukraine’s Pain Gives Hope to a Birth of a Democracy





 

If you believe — as I do — that democracy is humanity’s best hope, these are discouraging times. China, the world’s next superpower, thinks it’s found a different path forward. The liberal nations of Europe and North America are gnawed by self-doubt, beset by problems of their own making. Moreover, they now regard their past enthusiasm for nurturing new democracies in the world’s unlikeliest places with an air of embarrassment. In fact, in recent decades, democracy promotion has nearly disappeared from the higher echelons of U.S. foreign policymaking.

But there’s one country that, through its example, offers hope — and some crucial lessons. That country is Ukraine.
 
I fully realize how unlikely this sounds. Having won its independence from Moscow 25 years ago, the country spent most of them sinking into oligarchy and stagnation. Its first major effort to move forward — 2004’s Orange Revolution — ended in abject failure: The corrupt system swallowed it whole. The Euromaidan revolution of two years ago began more hopefully. But it too, has disappointed in many ways. A panel of experts who were recently asked whether the country had “turned the corner” gave discouragingly ambiguous answers.

Nevertheless, Ukraine’s experience gives us reason to take heart.Ukraine’s experience gives us reason to take heart. Despite its many political shortcomings, the country has changed. More precisely, it is the Ukrainian people that have changed. And coming to understand the nature of that change — where it came from and what it can do — helps train our focus on the one thing that makes genuine democracy possible: the slow, painstaking growth of democratic human capital. It is this factor, above all others, that has made the difference in Ukraine — and can do so elsewhere in the years ahead.

Nurturing that capital is so important precisely because the limits of revolutions like the Euromaidan are so glaring. Though Ukrainians managed to topple their strongman President Viktor Yanukovych and many of his enforcers, the “deep state” — the mass of corrupt officials who run the country at the whims of its oligarchs — survived. That’s why the reforms of the last two years have just barely limped along, each tentative step forward provoking a fierce counter-reaction. There’s a fresh, Western-trained new police force, but its powers are useless in the face of the crooked courts. There’s an independent new anti-corruption agency, but it’s locked in fierce battle with the hugely powerful and utterly unreformed prosecutors’ office, which is trying to check its every step.

But if this is all you see in today’s Ukraine, you’re missing the most important part of the story — what’s happening underneath. Like every other post-Soviet republic, the country endured decades of authoritarian Communist rule before gaining its independence. Having eradicated private property and individual initiative, the Soviets rendered the country’s population atomized and politically passive. Lacking the social ties and mental models long taken for granted in the West, Ukrainians have, thus far, been unable to breathe life into the country’s shaky democratic structures.Ukrainians have, thus far, been unable to breathe life into the country’s shaky democratic structures.

But — due in large part to its growing contacts with the West — Ukrainian society has not been standing still. Viktor Kompaneyets, a gruff Kiev-based technology investor, first noticed it during a March snowstorm that crippled the region in 2013. As he tells it, Ukrainians reacted dramatically differently than Russians. Both countries’ capitals were hit equally hard, but while dozens in Moscow froze in the snow, residents of Kiev were largely spared — a fact he attributes to strangers helping strangers. “From isolated groups that have no common interests, suddenly, out of nowhere, when the government wasn’t doing anything, the people themselves decided to solve their problem,” he remembers. “That’s when it became clear to me that something had fundamentally changed.”

The Euromaidan brought this latent force out into the open. “We’re definitely living in a different country,” says Kompaneyets.“We’re definitely living in a different country,” says Kompaneyets. “I can’t say it’s easier or simpler. But there’s some kind of almost spiritual change. If you have a question, you don’t hide it inside yourself. You have a community to which you can turn.”

Svitlana Zalishchuk, a young journalist and activist elected to parliament after the revolution, describes it a little differently. “One of the main shifts [since the Euromaidan],” she says, “is the relationship between the government and society. It’s become more horizontal. The idea of accountability has become normal.”

This all has immediate political consequences. Even before the Euromaidan, Ukraine’s civil society — nurtured by grants, exchange programs, and other contacts with the West — was known for its vigor. In the new Ukraine, independent journalists, civic groups, and non-profit organizations have played a heroic role in pushing the government to fulfill its promises in the face of bureaucratic and oligarchic resistance.

One of the most striking examples is the Reanimation Package of Reforms (RPR), a remarkable civic organization that unites dozens of independent groups. It was founded in the days after the Euromaidan to redirect activists’ revolutionary energy from the streets into the halls of parliament.

Thanks to now-overwhelming public pressure to address corruption, eight political parties signed statements of support for RPR’s “roadmap of reform,” which covers 24 distinct areas, from energy policy to the media. Five of these parties ended up making it into parliament after the revolution — and when they formed a governing coalition, they incorporated many of the RPR’s priorities into the text of their official agreement. Olena Halushka, RPR’s manager of foreign affairs, says that more than 70 members of parliament regularly cooperate with the group, and its website lists 82 bills from its agenda that have been adopted into law.

Of course, that commitment has often been spotty, and some of the bills are worth more on paper than in reality. But consider what’s been accomplished. Naftogaz, the notoriously crooked gas company that was bleeding the state dry, is now posting a profit. The state railroad company, now headed by a Polish crisis manger, has turned the corner and is now also making money. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau, an independent new agency, is doggedly pursuing corrupt officials. And the beginnings of decentralization have returned more tax revenue to local communities, enabling cities across the country to invest in new infrastructure, from roads and buses to hospitals and kindergartens.

All this demonstrates how far Ukraine’s civil society has come since the failed Orange Revolution. Back then, says Zalishchuk, “we elected [pro-reformist President] Yushchenko, and then we went back to our kitchens and folded our hands. That’s why the revolution didn’t work.” But ten years later, after the Euromaidan, she says, “we [now] understood that electing a new government would not be the end of the story. Changes happen when bottom-up meets top-down.Changes happen when bottom-up meets top-down.”

The indispensable role Ukraine’s civil society has played in making the Euromaidan count is the most important lesson the country can teach aspiring democrats. Real democracy — democracy that’s more than just a hollow institutional shell — can’t be built quickly. It takes years of deliberate effort for enough of a democratic mindset to develop among enough people.

But it’s not hard to see where the resources for building this mindset can come from. It’s striking how many of Ukraine’s young politicians have spent time in the West. Svitlana Zalishchuk, Sergii Leshchenko, and Mustafa Nayyem, three of the most active parliamentary reformers, were all fellows at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law. Olena Sotnik, a lawyer on the Maidan and now a leading parliamentary voice for judicial reform, attended a school run by the Council of Europe to train future leaders in transitional countries. Oleh Berezyuk, the leader of the pro-European Samopomich party in parliament, trained and worked as a biologist in Chicago. There are thousands of others.

The West also has another crucial role — that of pressing the government directly. James Brooke, a former New York Times journalist who is so bullish on Ukraine that he’s just moved to Kiev to open a new business magazine, says that international involvement after the Euromaidan has been much more forceful than in 2004. “We’re hip to your tricks,” he says, describing the attitude of the European Union, the IMF, and other international partners towards Ukraine’s political establishment. By making financial assistance and other goodies, such as visa liberalization, conditional on real change, these institutions have made it impossible for the government not to deliver.

This is a widely held view among Ukrainians. Zalishchuk maintains that 70 percent of what’s been accomplished so far has only been possible thanks to international pressure. Sergii Leshchenko, another pro-reform legislator (and a muckraking anti-corruption journalist), agrees, arguing that the only way successful reforms are possible in Ukraine is if international assistance depends on their realization. “I can say it as an insider,” he says. “It works.” Both Zalishchuk and Leshchenko emphasized that the West must be even tougher as the oligarchs dig in.

But international pressure, even in tandem with civil society, will only get you so far. The most important and difficult changes — such as revamping the justice system and defanging the oligarchs — can only happen with a critical mass of support in parliament and in the key ministries. For now, Ukraine isn’t even close. Leshchenko says that only about 10 percent of his fellow legislators are real reformers.Leshchenko says that only about 10 percent of his fellow legislators are real reformers.

That’s a battle Ukrainians will have to fight. But we in the West should make sure we’re providing meaningful, sustained, long-term assistance along the lines of what we already know to work. Exchange programs such as Open World and the International Visitor Leadership Program have introduced hundreds of Ukrainians to American democracy. Funding for such programs — which are relatively cheap and which also benefit Americans who gain exposure to different perspectives — should be doubled and tripled, with a special emphasis on Ukraine. Universities should be encouraged (and, where appropriate, assisted financially) to host Ukrainian students, fellows, and academics.

And the process of getting temporary American visas — currently a major barrier for anyone outside the elite — should be made as easy, painless, and as cheap as possible. As we’ve seen, developing the democratic mindset that undergirds meaningful change takes years. The sooner we ramp up our outreach, the sooner we’ll see it pay off. In the meantime, Western pressure on Ukraine’s government to enact reforms should remain relentless.

The geopolitical implications of a democratic Ukraine are huge — this is an opportunity not to be missed. With its large, Russian-speaking population and its strategic location, a Ukraine that — in five or 10 years — is considerably more democratic and successful could begin to show the Russians just across the border that another way is possible. Zalishchuk is sure of this. “I think that a democratic Russia could never happen without a democratic Ukraine,” she says. Going further, she describes Ukraine as “a model for the reformation of all the post-Soviet countries.” All the more reason we’ve got to start now — and to get it right. 


August 17, 2016

Trump’s Campaign Chair’s Role in Electing Corrupt Violent Man in Ukraine




[ Paul Monafort, Trumps Campaign Mger. managed Yakunovitch campaign] Viktor Yanukovych
 and Syrian president Bashar Al Assad.  



My intent on posting this current story about Trump chair Paul Manafort ‘mercenary’ lobbyist and valuable asset, is that negative stories dealing with people Trump is align to never last more than the 48 hr news cycle. I wanted to show while the story is still relevant (it wont for long unless something else comes out) what the connections of Trump’s man, the Kremlin and the election of a criminal and a strongman aligned to Putin are in that part of the world.


       
 Ostroh
                                                                
The scene was Ostroh, western Ukraine, on the eve of parliamentary elections.

A tall figure bounded on to a stage to cheers from a crowd of elderly flag-waving supporters. They chanted: “Yan-u-kov-ich, Yan-u-kov-ich.”

The man addressing them was Viktor Yanukovich, who at this point – autumn 2007 – was Ukraine’s pro-Russian prime minister. Three years earlier he had tried to cheat his way to victory in the country’s presidential election, triggering the pro-democracy uprising known as the Orange Revolution, which swept Yanukovich’s rival Viktor Yushchenko into power. 
Now, barely three years later, Yanukovich was back, and his Party of Regions was ahead in the polls.

The person who masterminded Yanukovich’s unlikely political comeback was not – as might have been expected – a Russian, like the advisers dispatched by Vladimir Putin to mastermind Yanukovich’s disastrous 2004 presidential bid.

It was an American, and his name was Paul Manafort – previously a consultant for Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush and Bob Dole, and today the campaign chairman for Donald Trump.

Manafort’s years in Ukraine have come under renewed scrutiny during the current US presidential campaign. On Monday, Hillary Clinton’s campaign leapt on a report in the New York Times that handwritten ledgers found in the Ukraine show $12.7m in undisclosed payments to Manafort from the Party of Regions.

“This is a serious matter and there are real concerns about the pro-Kremlin interests engaged with the Trump team,” said Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook.

Manafort has denied any wrongdoing. A source who worked with him in Ukraine said on Tuesday: “If there was cash I would have known about it and seen it. I was going in and out of the Party of Regions HQ every day.”

Even before the latest allegations, Trump’s links to Russia have raised eyebrows: Manafort’s candidate has expressed admiration for Putin, encouraged Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, and appeared unaware that Russian troops had seized the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. 

If he can make Yanukovich president, I’m sure he can do it with Trump
Oleg Voloshin

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign was reportedly instrumental in rewriting the new Republican platform to remove calls for the donation of weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces.

It remains unclear how much of this was down to Manafort. What is indisputable is that at the same time as he was advising Yanukovich, Manafort was also building personal business links with some of the most powerful figures in the post-Soviet world.

Before his arrival in Kiev, Manafort had long specialised in taking on unsavoury clients, such as Ferdinand Marcos, the Filipino dictator, and Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, and subtly retooling their public reputations. 
 Donald Trump has expressed admiration for Putin and encouraged Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails. Photograph: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images
He was recruited to work in Ukraine in the summer of 2005 by the oligarch Rinat Akhmetov – the main financial backer of Yanukovich’s Party of Regions.

That autumn, Manafort and his team – including longtime aide Rick Gates, another future Trump hire – began work for the Party of Regions. They rented an anonymous office at number 4 Sophia Street in Kiev, opposite the stop for the 16 and 18 trolley buses. Typically, its white blinds were drawn.
The Americans kept a low profile, but Manafort’s efforts didn’t go entirely unnoticed. In a 2006 cable to the state department in Washington, US diplomats reported that the Party of Regions had undergone a mysterious transformation. “Long a haven for Donetsk-based mobsters and oligarchs it is in the midst of an ‘extreme makeover’,” they observed.

The party had enlisted “help and advice from veteran K street political tacticians”, the diplomats said, referring to Washington DC’s lobbying district. Manafort’s firm – Davis, Manafort & Freedman – was busy “nipping and tucking”. Its goal was to rid the party of its gangster image and to change it into a “legitimate political force”.

I met Manafort in September 2007, on the eve of the Ostroh rally. This was just before the parliamentary elections, and Yanukovich was frantically touring the regions on a campaign helicopter.

Close up, Manafort looked every inch the classic Washington lobbyist. He wore an expensive suit and tie and exuded seriousness. He also bore a faint physical resemblance to his client – even their hairstyles were similar. (Manafort, I was told later, had instructed Yanukovich to blow-dry his hair. Manafort’s camp denies this.)

The American had an interesting story to tell – one which may sound familiar to observers of Donald Trump’s campaign – of how his candidate had been almost wilfully misunderstood by the west, especially by its media.

The new Yanukovich was nothing like the old one, Manafort suggested. He had absorbed the lessons of his previous defeats, was studying English – and was even playing tennis with the US ambassador.
“People are still looking at the political system in this country through the prism of 2004,” Manafort told me. “That’s not at all the situation here.” 

Yanukovich was no puppet of Putin, Manafort said; he wanted a pragmatic foreign policy – good relations with Russia and the EU.

“As a person, he [Yanukovich] is growing,” Manafort assured me. “I think the time out of power helped him.”

Manafort introduced professional techniques. He gathered polling data, worked on messaging and distributed talking points. His efforts were at least partially successful: Yanukovich’s Party of Regions won the 2007 parliamentary elections, and in 2010 Yanukovich beat his rival Yulia Tymoshenko in a presidential runoff. Within a few months, it had become clear that he was hellbent on reversing the modest democratic gains of the Orange Revolution.

Yanukovich moved quickly to consolidate all instruments of power: the courts, parliament, the prosecutor’s office, the media and TV. Tymoshenko was charged with corruption and jailed; Yankovich repeatedly shrugged off western calls for her release.

In late 2013, Yanukovich was due to sign an association agreement with the European Union, but at the last minute he dumped the plan and instead accepted a $15bn Kremlin bailout.

Pro-EU demonstrators flooded the Maidan, Kiev’s main square, and protests turned violent after a brutal crackdown by security forces.

In February 2014, riot police shot dead 100 people in downtown Kiev. Yanukovich abandoned his palace on the outskirts of town, Mezhyhirya – a Versailles of sorts with a pirate-themed restaurant and private zoo – and escaped to Russia.
 Viktor Yanukovich, then president of Ukraine, in 2014. Photograph: Itar-Tass/ Barcroft Media
Putin exploited this crisis to seize Crimea and launch a covert military invasion of eastern Ukraine. The consequences – 10,000 dead, a civilian jet shot down, a country chopped up – haunt the region to this day. Earlier this month, Russia claimed Ukrainian agents had attacked Crimea, further fueling tensions in the region.
                                                                         
Paul Manafort, Trumps’ Chair

Those who worked with Manafort say that he cannot be blamed for the Ukrainian disaster. Oleg Voloshin, a former aide to Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, Yanukovich’s 2010-12 foreign minister who now works as a political consultant, says Manafort urged Yanukovich to press ahead with the EU integration agenda.

Voloshin still has ties with the ex-Party of Regions, which Manafort rebranded in 2014 as the Opposition Bloc. (Manafort’s consultancy in Ukraine continued until at least parliamentary elections in 2014.)

He suggests that Yanukovich “listened to what Paul said” between 2007-2010, but then, once he became president, stopped listening – with catastrophic results.

Manafort’s advice was always non-ideological, Voloshin recalls. He would calmly explain: “These people won’t vote for you, don’t bother with them,” and then suggest he “promote this message, promote that message”. “It was a very American approach. Do this, do that.” And, crucially: “He was the person dragging Yanukovich to the west.”

According to Voloshin, Manafort was an advocate of US interests and promoted American oil companies such as Chevron – so much so that the joke inside the Party of Regions was that Manafort was actually from the CIA. “You can blame him for whatever. The only thing you can’t blame him for is lack of will in lobbying for American interests in Ukraine in the commercial sphere.”

Voloshin insists that it was Manafort who persuaded Yanukovich to press ahead with the EU integration agenda, arguing that it would counter Yanukovich’s sagging ratings. Manafort also strongly objected to Tymoshenko’s imprisonment, telling Yanukovich bluntly: “You are going to have very bad times with the west.”

“It’s not Paul’s fault that Yanukovich didn’t listen to him. If it weren’t for Paul, Ukraine would have gone under Russia much earlier,” Voloshin claims.

During the period that he was advising Yanukovich, Manafort’s interests in the post-Soviet world were not restricted to politics.

In 2007, he set up a private equity firm called Pericles Emerging Partners LP.

Based offshore in the Caymans, the firm had three American partners – Manafort, Rick Gates and Rick Davis. Davis had cofounded Davis Manafort, Manfort’s lobbying company in Delaware. The new firm’s aim was to make investments in the Ukrainian cities of Kiev, Odessa and Mariupol. It would acquire small companies, consolidate them into larger national enterprises, then sell them on.

One of those tempted by this prospectus was the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum baron and close friend of Putin, who stumped up almost $19m. Gates, Manafort’s right-hand man, sealed the agreement in trips to Moscow.

What happened next was strange indeed. Only one investment by Pericles was ever made, in a Ukrainian telecoms company called Black Sea Cable. According to court documents, the cash was funnelled into various offshore companies, including one called CardMan ImpEx Corp, registered in the tax haven of the British Virgin Islands. The trail wound through other opaque shell firms, including Cascado AG, set up by the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

A search of the Panama Papers leak gives a few details. Cascado has two Latvian directors, Erik Vanagels and Stan Gorin. In reality, they are mere nominees. The pair have been linked on paper to a network of offshore companies and multimillion-dollar scams involving Ukrainian state assets.

When the global financial crisis hit in 2008, Deripaska wanted out – and his cash back. In 2011, the Americans emailed to say that it was proving tricky to sell Deripaska’s stake because of “market conditions”. Further emails went unanswered.
 The former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko alleged that Manafort ‘played a key role in [a] conspiracy and racketeering enterprise’. Photograph: Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images
“It appears that Paul Manafort and Rick Gates have simply disappeared,” Deripaska’s frustrated lawyers wrote, in a 2014 petition to have Manafort’s firm wound up.

It’s unclear if Deripaska ever got his money. Either way, the episode illustrates Manafort’s personal links to figures close to Putin.

Later, Manafort introduced Deripaska to Senator John McCain, when the oligarch was having problems travelling to the US. (In 2006, the US had revoked Deripaska’s visa, citing alleged “criminal associations”. Deripaska denies the allegation.)

This wasn’t the only embarrassing legal scrape arising from Manafort’s capitalist adventures. In November 2011, Tymoshenko sued him and others in the district court in New York. Her lengthy writ alleges that Manafort “played a key role in [a] conspiracy and racketeering enterprise” to launder cash for Yanukovich’s oligarch friends and invest it in New York real estate.

In particular, she points the finger at Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian businessman whose generous contributions helped Yanukovich. Firtash is a shareholder and public face for RosUkrEnergo, an intermediary company co-owned by Gazprom, which imports gas from Russia and resells it to Ukraine. Tymoshenko tried unsuccessfully to get rid of it.

The RusUkrEnergo scheme was a piece of monstrous corruption, she alleged in legal filings. Its real owner, she claimed, was Semyon Mogilevich, a Ukrainian-Russian mobster, and one of the FBI’s top fugitives. Firtash denies this.

According to her writ, Firtash and his companies and associates were able to skim billions of dollars from gas transactions. The cash was laundered “through a labyrinth of shell companies”. It was then returned to Ukraine, with the money used to bribe Ukrainian officials.

Manafort sells the unsellable product. If you have a dead horse and you need to sell it, you call him
Alex Kovzhun
“Defendant Paul J Manafort is a well-known Washington D.C. lobbyist and political consultant. He is the senior partner in the firm Davis, Manafort and Freedman. Manafort also worked in Ukraine on various political campaigns, including the successful 2010 presidential campaign of Victor Yanukovich, who is the President of Ukraine at present. Manafort played a key role in the defendants’ conspiracy and racketeering enterprise,” the writ says.

Firtash, who declined to be interviewed for this article, denies the claims. In 2014, a federal judge threw out Tymoshenko’s suit, saying the allegations were outside US jurisdiction. The judge also said she hadn’t demonstrated that Manafort’s business dealings fed back to political persecution back inside Ukraine. Nor had she proved that Firtash was guilty of money laundering.

That same year Firtash was arrested on a US warrant in Vienna, accused of bribing Indian officials over a titanium deal. But an Austrian judge denied a US extradition request and agreed with Firtash that it was politically motivated. The US is appealing, and Firtash remains in Austria.

Firtash did invest money in Manafort’s real estate projects, however. The two met in 2008. Manafort’s plan was to buy the site of the demolished Drake Hotel in Manhattan and to redevelop it at a cost of almost $900m. Firtash transferred at least $25m to the project. According to Tymoshenko, the plan was never serious, with the cash merely transferred for the purposes of money laundering.

“Group DF and Firtash never had any intention to purchase the Drake property, but instead used the real estate project as a vehicle for investing $25 million in New York bank accounts,” her writ stated.

Manafort did not respond to a request by the Guardian for comment on Deripaska’s loan or the Drake Hotel allegations.

In the run-up to November’s vote, Trump’s own real estate transactions have been extensively investigated, but it remains unclear if any Russian cash has actually been leveraged in these deals.

In a statement on Monday, Manafort denied that he had received any irregular payments in Ukraine: 

“The simplest answer is the truth: I am a campaign professional. It is well known that I do work in the United States and have done work on overseas campaigns as well. I have never received a single ‘off-the-books cash payment’ as falsely ‘reported’ by The New York Times, nor have I ever done work for the governments of Ukraine or Russia.”

But Manafort’s critics in Kiev are scathing. “He’s an evil genius,” Alex Kovzhun, who spent a decade working for Tymoshenko, beginning in 2001, said. “He doesn’t work statesmen. He works dictators and all-round bastards. He sells the unsellable product. If you have a dead horse and you need to sell it, you call him.

“He works bad guys. They pay more, of course.”

Manafort’s specialism, according to Kovzhun, is running expensive campaigns and targeting the “great unwashed”.

“It’s the same element who voted for Putin, supported Brexit, back Erdo─čan and who will vote for Trump. Manafort works the lowest common denominator. I find him repulsive and his message ugly. He leaves destruction in his wake.”

Kovzhun said he recognised the same “moves” in Manafort’s campaigns for Yanukovich and Trump. He gets his clients to do “corny stuff”, Kovzhun added, with “bland political slogans” and “uncreative Soviet-style imagery”. “With Yanukovich it was: ‘I’ll hear everyone.’ With Trump, it’s: ‘Make America great again.’”

In contrast, Voloshin portrays the decade Manafort spent in Ukraine as a success. “In 2004, Yanukovich was seen as a Russian puppet. He was dead. Paul resurrected him.”

Can Manafort work his magic one more time? “The tougher the client you have, the the greater success you get. It isn’t about the money. It’s about ambition. If he can make Yanukovich president, I’m sure he can do it with Trump.”

August 16, 2016

Trump’s Camp. Mger. Warns ”The Election is Rigged” {in 2010 Ukraine}




Paul Manafort, campaign worker for Donald Trump and ex worker for dictators and more directly against US interests to Ukraine and received under the table payments according to the ledger shown in this page to work indirectly for Putin. PictureCREDIT: BLOOMBERG

 
"The only way" Hillary Clinton can win in Pennsylvania, Donald Trump said at a rally in that state on Friday evening, "and I mean this 100 percent -- [is] if in certain sections of the state they cheat, OK?" That was "the way we can lose the state," he said, of a state where he currently trails by 9 points. "And we have to call up law enforcement. And we have to have the sheriffs and the police chiefs and everybody watching." On Saturday, his campaign unveiled an effort to somehow formalize the campaign's fraud-prevention system, encouraging sign-ups on their website for "Trump Election Observers."

There's no demonstrated in-person voter fraud problem in Pennsylvania (or anywhere else, for that matter), and it's not clear if Trump's fraud-prevention effort is simply an attempt to collect voter contact information and boost GOP voter enthusiasm, or if it's actually meant to combat a problem that doesn't exist. But it's not surprising that this is a part of Trump's campaign in one sense: When Trump's campaign director Paul Manafort was helping to coordinate the campaign effort of a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine in 2006, he used similar tools and rhetoric.

Trump's campaign manager appears in secret Ukrainian 'black ledger'  Play Video1:06
According to a Ukrainian official, more than $12 million were earmarked for Paul Manafort in under-the-table payments from the political party of Ukraine’s ousted president. (The Washington Post)
In 2004, Ukraine held a presidential election that actually was riddled with fraud and abuse. This was the election in which one of the presidential candidates, Viktor Yushchenko, was poisoned with dioxin. The culprits remain undetermined, but Yushchenko's opposition to the influence of Vladimir Putin and Russia during his campaign has prompted some finger-pointing at the Kremlin. Monitoring of the election by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe found a number of problems focused on the campaign of Viktor Yanukovych, who represented the Party of Regions and was friendlier to Moscow.


 
A 2004 article at Slate details the allegations against Yanukovych, including stuffing ballot boxes and use of police to intimidate Yushchenko supporters. The rampant fraud led to a series of protests dubbed the Orange Revolution -- and a second ballot, which Yushchenko won.

At some point over the next two years, Yanukovych hired an American consultant to help the Party of Regions in the parliamentary elections. A cable released by Wikileaks noted the addition to Yanukovych's team.

Enjoying a lead in the polls since the fall 2005 Orange team split, ex-PM Yanukovych's Party of Regions is working to change its image from that of a haven for mobsters into that of a legitimate political party. Tapping the deep pockets of Donetsk clan godfather Rinat Akhmetov, Regions has hired veteran K street political help for its "extreme makeover" effort. According to the Internet news site Glavred.info, Davis, Manafort & Freedman is among the political consultants that have been hired to do the nipping and tucking.

Davis, Manafort & Freedman was, as you'd expect, Paul Manafort's firm.

Cables released by Wikileaks detail Manafort's arguments on behalf of the Party of Regions. Before the March 2006 elections, Manafort and aides spoke with representatives of the American consulate in the country. (The cables below come from the leak of diplomatic cables by Chelsea Manning.)


In one meeting, Manafort warned of the threat of election rigging and how it could undermine the legitimacy of the results.

"Manafort added that the people who felt that the 2004 elections had been stolen from them -- rightly or wrongly, that was how they felt -- would feel that it was happening to them again," one cable reads. That this was coming from someone representing the party considered responsible for the 2004 mess wasn't lost on the cable-writer. "In apparent anticipation of our next statement, Manafort offered that he was not in Ukraine in 2004 and could not make a judgment of what had happened. What was past was past; he was concerned about the present."

In the same cable, one of Manafort's employees describes an effort being undertaken by the party. "Catherine Barnes, Project Manager for the 'Ukraine Election Integrity Project,' a Manafort sub-project to train Regions' poll watchers in the standards of the code of conduct adopted by the Party for the 2006 election cycle, briefly mentioned her efforts, which have trained over 1200 Regions' members," it reads. A separate cable describes the goal of the group as being to "prevent or detect fraud on election day."

Manafort's depiction of where the problems lie wasn't uncontested. "Our Ukraine's Anton Klymenko held a press conference March 10 alleging that Regions, not Our Ukraine, was involved in voter list manipulation in eastern Ukraine," the first cable reads, "and that the new' voter lists for some precincts in Donetsk which had stripped off many 'dead souls' on the 2004 rolls had been replaced by the voter lists used in 2004, when fraud in the East was prevalent."

One of the tools Manafort hoped to implement to bolster the Party of Regions' chances was same-day voter registration. "[Manafort] called on the Ambassador March 21 to express his continuing concern about the possible disenfranchisement of 'hundreds of thousands' of Ukrainian voters unless President Yushchenko signed into law an amendment to the election law that would authorize local courts to add voters, names to the lists on election day," a cable reads. Why was Manafort confident that the Party of Regions would win if fraud weren't present?

"Manafort said his polling indicated that 70% of Ukrainians wanted change," the cable states. What's more, Yushchenko was no longer seen as trustworthy. "Manafort said he had two concerns for election day: fraud by Our Ukraine and the poor state of the voter lists," the cable reads.


Party of Regions won a majority of seats in parliament that March, returning Yanukovych to his position as the country's prime minister. The election was observed by OSCE, which didn't see the sort of widespread problems as two years prior.

In 2010, Yanukovych ran for president against Yulia Tymoshenko, who replaced him as prime minister following parliamentary elections in 2007. Again in that election, allegations of vote-rigging and fraud were rampant and flew in both directions. A Wikileaks cable describes Tymoshenko's arguments.

Tymoshenko, trailing Party of Regions leader Yanukovych in advance of the January 17 Presidential election, used a three-hour press event January 14 to hammer the message that Yanukovych is a criminal and front man for rapacious oligarchic interests, whose election would be a humiliation for Ukraine. She called Yanukovych a coward for refusing to debate her.

The cable notes Yanukovych's response.

Yanukovych termed Tymoshenko a "champion liar" and said he would not participate in a media circus with her. He expressed concern that Tymoshenko would not accept defeat and would seek to use the courts to hold as many rounds of elections as it takes for her to get elected. Manafort told us that Tymoshenko knows she is losing and is now moving to discredit the election process as the only means of stopping Yanukovych.

The OCSE found that the 2010 election also saw fewer problems that the 2004 race, perhaps because, as the cable above notes, "Russian influence has been muted."

Yanukovych won, but not without some dispute. Tymoshenko's campaign alleged that "the second round of the presidential election in Ukraine was marked by falsifications that significantly affected the election result and threw the result of the vote into question," the Kyiv Post reported. A Tymoshenko campaign representative said that "despite fierce opposition by Viktor Yanukovych's representatives, Yulia Tymoshenko's representatives managed to seek the first recount of votes at the 20th election district of the fifth constituency in Kerch" and that "data submitted to the Central Election Commission from this district gave Yanukovych 8 percent more votes than he in fact received."
 
Ukraine's next parliamentary elections, in 2012, were found to be problematic by the OCSE.

 
Two years after that, Yanukovych was ousted from his position, and his presidential palace overrun. Manafort's relationship with Yanukovych appears to have lasted until that point.

How much Manafort and his team earned for their work for Yanukovych and the Party of Regions isn't clear. A report from the New York Times on Monday morning indicated that Manafort's name appeared repeatedly on a list of secret recipients of cash payments by the party, perhaps to the tune of $12.7 million. "Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system," the Times reported, "whose recipients also included election officials."

There's no question that in Ukraine in 2006, there was cause to be concerned about election-rigging by the party in power -- Yanukovych's. The insistence by Trump and Manafort that similar risks apply in the United States in 2016 may be politically useful, but there’s no way in which the argument can be made fairly — as Manafort probably knows.



The 'Black Ledger' - How Yanukovych's Party Of Regions Rigged Ukrainian Politics By Bribery
interpretermag.com



If you will like to know more about Putin and what game he is playing with the US and Ukraine please check another blogger like me except his knowledge about the Ukraine is extensive, blogger Jason Easley in:


June 10, 2016

There will be Blood on LGBT March! Ukraine Nationalist Threatens


                                                                         
Nationalist Ukraine, gay rights and rivers of blood. 58180.jpeg


                                                                         




Ambassadors of six European countries will take part in the gay pride parade to be held in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The officials expressed their intention to march together with other members of the parade in the center of the Lithuanian capital, reports RT.

About a thousand people will march along the main street of Vilnius - Gediminas Avenue - as part of the LGBT march under the slogan "For Equality!" Ambassadors of Italy, Great Britain, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Norway are said to take part in the event. Representatives of several other European countries - Denmark, Austria, Canada, Israel, France as well as the USA - expressed their support for the action. 

Meanwhile, the LGBT community of Ukraine is getting ready to hold a similar march on June 12 in Kiev. Representatives of the Ukrainian law-enforcement agencies said that the police would not stop the nationalists, who promised to make a bloodbath out of the Kiev gay parade.

Ukrainian LGBT activists have been trying to hold gay marches in the country for several years now. Ironically, the only successful attempt was made in 2013, during the time of Viktor Yanukovych's presidency. After the Maidan coup, when Ukrainian homosexuals tried to arrange another march, rightist radicals explained to them that they should rather not do it. 

In March, the organizers of the Equality Festival in Lviv were forced to leave the city. A group of masked men gathered in front of the hotel where the organizers of the event were staying. Afterwards, it was said that there was a bomb in the building. The people from the building were evacuated. When the organizers were leaving the site in a bus, hostile individuals tried to throw rocks at the bus.
Also read: Ukraine receives gay values from Europe instead of money

The chief of the Human Rights Committee of the Ukrainian Parliament, Grigory Nemyria, said that the march of the LGBT community in Kiev, scheduled for June 12, is to be held. The official also stressed out that discrimination against minorities was unacceptable in a state of law.

 "On the eve of the March for Equality, I would like to stress this out that in accordance with Article 39 of the Constitution of Ukraine, citizens have the right to gather for peaceful meetings, marches and demonstrations. Basic human rights should be available to the LGBT community. Discrimination and aggression against minorities has no place in a state of law, which aspires to become part of the European community," the press service of the Verkhovna Rada said. 

The March for Equality is to start at 10 a.m. at the main building of the Kiev National University named after Taras Shevchenko. Representatives of diplomatic missions are said to take part in the march. 

Ukrainian nationalists promise to shed "rivers of blood" during the gay march in Kiev. Police officials said that they would not stop the radicals, if they attack gays. It appears that the Ukrainian authorities want to build the militarist and nationalist country while playing Western games of human rights and equality. On June 12, we will see what may come out of this.

AP photo

May 18, 2016

Ukraine New Police Force 'A well in the middle of the Desert'



                                                                         


The launch of Ukraine's new police patrol force last year sparked an internet craze of citizens posting selfies with newly recruited officers.

Their popularity stemmed not from their uniforms, body cameras and tablets, but the fact they did not demand bribes.

The most visibly successful reform to have emerged from the pro-European Maidan protests in 2014 is now under threat, serving and former law enforcement officials say, accusing vested interests of seeking to obstruct and discredit the force.

Vladyslav Vlasiuk, a lawyer by training who rose through patrol police ranks to become Chief of Staff of the National Police, quit in March, "exhausted" by the pushback against change, he told Reuters in his first media interview since.

The experience he described shows how fragile Ukraine's progress in transforming itself into a Western-facing free market democracy could prove to be.

The police reform, possibly for the first time in the former Soviet republic's history, "showed international partners that we in Ukraine are actually able to carry out some reforms," Vlasiuk said.

Before Maidan, police "would always do what the prosecutors say. Then it changed," he said. "The National Police positioned itself as a separate and equal law enforcement power. Prosecutors did not like it."

"We are seeing the prosecution service chasing patrol officers for wrongdoings. There is now a tension which is blocking the reform of the national police."

DEPUTY MINISTER QUITS

In Ukraine, prosecutors have the power to launch investigations into public servants suspected of wrongdoing -- a power which police officers say is being abused.

"When you are working within any public service in Ukraine you have to be ready to deal with a lot of inspections, a lot of bullshit, a lot of irrelevant regulations," Vlasiuk said.

"And the prosecution is a controlling organ which can punish you for, in their opinion, improper actions," he said.

The General Prosecutor's office did not provide immediate comment when asked about the allegations.

The United States and European Union, which are helping to fund a $40 billion aid-for-reform program for Ukraine, have repeatedly called for a clean-up of the General Prosecutor's office, which they see as a key obstacle to fighting corruption.

Several high-profile reformers have been sacked from the government and prosecution service or resigned in frustration.

First Deputy Interior Minister Eka Zguladze has also quit, to take on an advisory role in the ministry. Her resignation statement on Wednesday gave no reason but contained a warning over the fate of reforms.

"I want to emphasize that these islands of success will drown in the ocean of corruption, nihilism, the bureaucracy, if we do not build bridges between them, creating a continent," she said. "And if in Ukraine we do not have the strength to go forward, the door, that we just opened, may close forever."

THE SYSTEM STRIKES BACK

With the help of U.S. money and training, and headed by a former Georgian minister, the new police force was set up as part of a root-and-branch reform to weed out endemic corruption.

The new patrol section was launched in July and incorporated into a revamped National Police force. The patrol officers seemed to be everything those dreaming of a new Ukraine after Maidan hoped: committed, trustworthy, less susceptible to bribes and not afraid to go after the rich and the powerful.

Drawn from all walks of life, they carried smart tablets as well as body cameras to make police work transparent. In a sign of changing times, Energy Minister Ihor Nasalik announced on Friday he'd been given a parking fine -- and willingly paid.

Vlasiuk, 27, was part of a new generation of Young Turks entering public service after Maidan. He is in the process of setting up an NGO to provide legal assistance to officers and burnish the police's image nationally.

His former boss, a Georgian technocrat called Khatia Dekanoidze in charge of the National Police, described in a separate interview cases of vested interests undermining change.

An initiative to fire corrupt or incompetent officers by vetting them in a "reattestation" process has led to hundreds of lawsuits by sacked officers, some of whom got their jobs back.

Dekanoidze said judges were deliberately reinstating discredited officers for fear the judiciary could be next.

"This is a revenge of the old system, because the judiciary system, especially courts, they are part of the old system," Dekanoidze said.

There are other obstacles to reforms. The police budget is tight in a country at war with Russian-backed separatists and an economy that shrank by a tenth last year.

KEEP CALM AND SUPPORT POLICE

An incident that has grown into a cause celebre for the police occurred on the night of Feb 7. A police car chased a speeding BMW through the streets of Kiev, recorded on a black and white police camera in footage later broadcast on TV.

Starting with warning shots, three police officers fired a total of 34 bullets at the car during the course of a 40 minute chase, according to an interior ministry spokesman. Eventually, one of the bullets killed a 17-year-old passenger inside.

Prosecutors accused the officer of wilful murder and abuse of authority; he is under house arrest while they investigate.

Police said the officer was trying to protect the public from a driver who was drunk. Their supporters protested in Kiev holding banners saying "Keep Calm and Support Patrol Police" and the hashtag #savepolice appeared on Twitter.

Anton Gerashchenko, a lawmaker and member of the interior ministry council, said the case was an example of prosecutors seeking to show they remained in control by discrediting police.

Dekanoidze echoed that view. "Police reform is the only reform that is visible, that is a real reform for Ukrainians," she said. So when prosecutors went after those defending the lives of ordinary Ukrainians, "it looked like The Inquisition."

She added there were other cases when police had gone after illegal gambling rackets -- only for prosecutors to open criminal cases against the officers.

A Western diplomat, who did not want to be identified by name, said the fight back by prosecutors showed reforms were starting to have a real impact.

"Prosecutors here are millionaires," the diplomat said. "They are powerful people who will fight to the very end to protect the resources vertical they created."

Much will hinge on the performance of the new General Prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, a former interior minister whose appointment on Thursday raised eyebrows because he had no legal background.

Dekanoidze said she hopes prosecutors under Lutsenko will cooperate with the police. “Because ... without a good and fair prosecution, police can't do anything."
Reuters

December 1, 2015

East Ukraine has Become very Dangerous for the LGBT Community


                                                                           
Russian made tanks Araival in Ukraine

Today we take a look at 1,600-word expose appearing in the November 30 edition of the Guardian newspaper.

The article first appeared in the Russian-language ezine Takie Dela in July, before being translated into English and appearing on November 20 in the Calvert Journal, titled "Wild orchid: Meet Mikhail Koptev, the queen of wartorn Luhansk." 

"Even drinking on the street in Luhansk is dangerous. At any moment a military patrol could walk past and demand to see your documents ... Offering blow-jobs to the brusque men of Luhansk, some of whom are dressed in army fatigues, isn't the safest thing to do either".

Read also Ukraine awaits EU's response on parliament's progress to adopt 'visa-free' bills

The article's author Denis Boyarinov, says that the self-taught fashion designer really is the star of Luhansk. They know him in Brazil. He was a star long before the arrival of its other celebrities, the field commanders and the head of the Luhansk People's Republic, Igor Plotnitsky.

"Koptev has halted his tolerance-testing performances, no longer arranging shows and gay parties. As soon as the Luhansk People's Republic came into being, it became obvious that those in control were set to persecute the LGBT community. First there were rumours that homosexuals would be shot on sight".

According to the expose, a new kind of hero has emerged in wartorn Ukraine: the rebel fighter. Publication of the expose on Koptev coincides with an op-ed written by Maxim Eristavi, a co-founder of the Hromadske International news network based in Kyiv.

In that article, appearing on November 27 in the US-based Politico ezine, Eristavi says that he still sees a ray of hope for Ukraine's LGBT community. Let's hope so. This has been Peter Byrne with the press review.

November 13, 2015

Ukrainian Lawmakers Change their Minds on LGBT Rights [Why?]



                                                                     
 The EU helped bring Same Sex marriage in the Uk and now it helps a former satellite of the Soviet Union
accepts LGBT rights.



Ukrainian lawmakers have approved a bill that bans discrimination of gays, key legislation intended to help pave the way for visa-free travel between Ukraine and the European Union.
The 450-seat parliament on Thursday approved the bill with 234 votes. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko hailed parliament's action as a "historic" move that brought the nation close to its longtime goal of winning the visa-free regime.
Ukrainian authorities have sought to forge closer ties with the EU amid a conflict with Russia, which annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and supported pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine.
The bill banning discrimination of gays at workplace had been rejected on four previous attempts, reflecting a strong opposition from those in parliament who saw the document as a challenge to the country’s Orthodox Christian traditions.
It’s not that the Ukrainian Parliament is pro gay civil rights.  These people were satellites of the USSR for an eternity in political years. After the USSR fell apart the European Union pushed for these nations allied with the former Soviet Union to be able to join the west’s European Union and incorporate themselves to the democracies of the West. 
The European Union proposed to the Ukraine to join them and be able to get Europeans travel there and visa verse without visas which is unwelcome for tourist and other business. The Ukrainians being in a bind of having to import natural Gas from Russia and other staples was anxious to strike a deal with the West to help untangled itself front he Soviet Union. But then the EU asked for the LGBT to have equal rights. There the old fashioned conservatives in Ukraine’s parliament balked and the EU said good bye!. 
Well, the Ukrainians have had a change of heart. Bread on the table is better than caring who loves whom. They have agreed to change positions and join the EU with their rules on Civil Rights. If the Republican in the US congress were dependent on the EU we would have had gay marriage a long time ago without a Supreme Court decision.
So as much credit we would like to give it to the Ukrainian Congress I will give all the credit to the EU!!!

August 17, 2015

Masked Men Hurled Smoke Bombs to Gays in Odessa(Ukraine)



                                                                           
Right Wing protesters attacked police

Masked men on Saturday hurled smoke bombs into a venue in the Ukraine port city of Odessa where gay rights activists were to hold a forum after deciding against marching in defiance of a ban.

They threw "several" smoke bombs at the participants before fleeing, Odessa Pride spokesman Kyrylo Bodelan told AFP, adding that no one was hurt in the attack. 
LGBT activists were planning to hold a forum on the history of the gay rights movement in the strategic Black Sea port city after a local court on Thursday banned the planned march over fears it could spark violence.
Bodelan earlier denounced the ban, saying it was "illegal and violates our constitutional right of assembly."
A handful of activists demonstrated near the town hall in defiance of the ban, drawing taunts from passers-by.
An AFP correspondent saw an elderly woman trying to wrest a placard from one demonstrator that read "Dignity Has No Colour". Police quickly intervened to defuse the confrontation.
Prominent extreme nationalist group Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) -- once central to the demonstrations in Kiev that toppled a Russian-backed president last year -- had voiced fierce opposition to Saturday's event.
"We won't beat the gays, but this march will not take place," local Pravy Sektor leader Sergui Sternenko was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
A gay pride march in the capital Kiev in June -- the second in the nation's post-Soviet history -- was marred by scuffles after activists were attacked by far-right nationalists. Around a dozen people were injured.
The socially conservative country -- locked in a bruising war with pro-Russian insurgents -- is seeking a closer alliance with Europe and remains keen to promote civil liberties freely enjoyed in much of the West.
But homophobia remains rampant in a nation where the conservative Orthodox church wields considerable influence and nationalist far-right groups have grown more prominent.
Odessa regional governor Mikheil Saakashvili, the Westernising ex-president of Georgia, kept his distance from the controversy, with his administration insisting it was a matter for the city authorities.
(AFP)
picture above: Gay Star News
Credit: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty


An Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists holds placard reading "Dignity has no color"during his single picket at the city hall of southern Ukrainian city of Odessa on August 15, 2015. LGBT activists were planning to hold a forum on the history of the gay rights movement in the strategic Black Sea port city after a local court on August 13, banned the planned march over fears it could spark violence. Masked men on August 15 hurled smoke bombs into a venue in the Ukraine port city of Odessa where gay rights activists were to hold a forum after deciding against marching in defiance of a ban. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXEY KRAVTSOV 

August 5, 2015

Ukrainian Kyiv New Police force wants to look Not Russian but American



                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                               The new western incline government police force in Kyiv seems to be winning over the public in the Ukrainian capital, if social media is any barometer. Selfies with some of the 2,000 officers -- many of them young and photogenic, and a fifth of them female -- are all the rage on the Internet. 
Better-trained and better-paid, the police force is also perhaps the most visible reform put in place by Ukraine's government since it came to power in February 2014.
The new police force took to the streets of Kyiv after being formally sworn in on July 4, replacing the old traffic police corps and taking on additional duties. President Petro Poroshenko told the force, which will first patrol big towns and then be deployed across the country, that it was their task not only to uphold the law but "also to make people believe that reforms are inevitable."
For many in Ukraine, like elsewhere in the former Soviet Union, the police have been more loathed than loved, seen more interested in harassing rather than protecting citizens, including the extortion of bribes. The pro-Western government may see police reform as a way to shake off the legacy of the Soviet-era at a time when it is fighting Russian-backed rebels in the east and smarting from Moscow's takeover of the Crimea region.
Washington has given its backing to the police reform project, providing training and money. Overseeing the effort is Deputy Interior Minister Eka Zguladze, who was in charge of a much-praised police overhaul in her native Georgia under former President Mikheil Saaksahvili -- another Georgian hired by Poroshenko to shake things up in Ukraine, as governor of the Odesa region.
The U.S. Department of Justice and the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs provided training to 100 Ukrainian police instructors earlier this year. Those instructors then went on to teach the new police course in Kyiv for the first class of officers. Besides U.S. training, the new officers have received U.S.-style uniforms with the kind of high-crowned, black-brimmed caps worn by many police in American cities.
The United States, which says that reforms are a sure-fire way for Ukraine to ward off Russian influence, has contributed $15 million to the effort. The new patrol force in Kyiv is still viewed as experimental. Other branches of the police in the capital have not been disbanded. New patrol police are expected to hit the streets in other Ukrainian cities, including Mykolaiv and Odesa on the Black Sea coast, in the coming months.
Average monthly pay for the new officers in Kyiv ranges from 7,000 to 10,000 hryvnyas ($320 -$450), a cut above the average Kyiv salary of 6,000 hryvnyas.
The new uniforms resemble those worn by many American police officers.
The new uniforms resemble those worn by many American police officers.
 Besides the pay, many officers say they were drawn to the job by a desire to help others.
Yuriy Sivobrod, a 28-year-old who used to work as a construction firm manager, told RFE/RL’s Russian Service the new force “is trying to help wherever we can.”  
“There’ve been times when a driver’s car has broken down and we’ve helped him get it to a car repair site, or helped someone who’s run out of gas. In the past, it was impossible to get the police to help in such cases,” Sivobrod said.
'We Want To Change Something In This Country'
Nadia Ivanova, a 21-year-old former physical education teacher, said she joined in part to follow in the footsteps of her father, a former officer. She told RFE/RL’s Russian Service that women and men on the new force have the same rights and responsibilities.
“Everyone gets along well with one another. If a male colleague was to harass a female officer, I think he would be fired immediately,” Ivanova said. 
Roman Nedilko, a 26-year-old former soldier in the Ukrainian army, said he was attracted by the prospect of being able to help bring long-anticipated reforms to life.
“We want to change something in this country so that people will trust us, that they can approach us and ask for help and we won’t demand a bribe,” Nedilko told RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service in July. 
And people are approaching, stopping the new officers on the streets of Kyiv for joint photographs, or selfies, including Pavel Kanygin, a journalist with Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta who has reported from the conflict zone in Donbas, in eastern Ukraine.  
The new officers also don't appear shy to go after those in power. 
Parliament member Volodymyr Parasyuk, for example, was ticketed for running a red light in downtown Kyiv last month. He took part in the Euromaidan protests and later fought in Donbas as a member of the Dnipro Battalion.
Ukraine has already made greater strides to recast its police than Russia, where critics of a major 2011 police reform effort say changes have been more cosmetic than concrete, according to Yevhen Zakharov, the director of Kharkiv-based NGO Human Rights in Ukraine. 
“All the organs of the former police [in Ukraine] are to be liquidated, people fired, and the national police force will be created from scratch. As far as I know, in Russia nothing similar happened, everything was simply renamed,” Zakharov told RFE/RL’s Russian Service.
With reporting by RFE/RL's Russian and Ukrainian Services 

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