Ukraine Factions Vie for Lobbying Edge

Exclusive: Though many Ukrainians live in poverty, government officials and oligarchs lavish millions on Washington insiders to buy influence, another example of how foreign lobbying can fuel a crisis, Jonathan Marshall reports.

By Jonathan Marshall (This is the sixth and final installment of a series on foreign lobbying.) (Updated on May 27, 2017, to clarify language about Rinat Akhmetov in 10th graf.)

Donald Trump doesn’t just have a Russia problem, in the eyes of his critics. He also has a big — and related — Ukraine problem. His 2016 campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was forced to resign last August amid a flurry of media exposés about Manafort’s lobbying for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia following violent protests against his government in February 2014.

“Any presidential candidate should properly vet the backgrounds of and moral decisions of the people he picks to advise him,” said Atlantic Council deputy director Alina Polyakova last year, declaring that Manafort’s work in Ukraine “absolutely should cast a shadow on Trump’s campaign.”

Either she or the reporter forgot to mention that two of her influential think tank’s top 10 contributors are the U.S. State Department, which applauded the ouster of Yanukovych, and the Ukrainian World Congress, a diaspora organization that attacked him as well. The UWC now works to promote Ukraine’s integration into the European Union, a key issue that helped cause Yanukovych’s downfall and led to the ongoing crisis with Russia over Eastern Ukraine and Crimea.

That small detail exemplifies the complexity of Ukrainian influence campaigns over the last few years. Although Trump’s campaign manager attracted enormous public attention for his work in Ukraine, other prominent lobbyists in the Yanukovych camp were connected to high-level Obama administration officials. Still others took money from Yanukovych’s political foes, or from independent billionaire oligarchs with their own agendas.

The only common denominators are money, influence and lack of transparency.

Paul Manafort exemplifies those characteristics to the nth degree. A Republican adviser to the campaigns of Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole, he also represented a string of foreign dictators and warlords, including Philippines strongman Ferdinand Marcos, Zaire kleptocrat Mobutu Sese Seko, Angolan guerrilla leader Jonas Savimbi, Somali dictator Siad Barre, and Saudi Arabia.

A 1992 report by the Center for Public Integrity named his firm as one of the top five members of the “Torturer’s Lobby” in Washington. His former partner Roger Stone, the infamous political operative for Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, boasted that their firm “lined up most of the dictators of the world we could find.”

Manafort and Stone also represented the Trump Organization in the late 1980s. Trump reportedly met Manafort and Stone through Roy Cohn, the New York mafia lawyer and former hatchet man for Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

Another long-time Manafort client, the Kashmiri American Council, was exposed by U.S. prosecutors as a “scam” and a front group for Pakistani military intelligence, allegedly created to deflect public attention “away from the involvement of Pakistan in sponsoring terrorism in Kashmir and elsewhere.”

The Ukrainian Gold Mine

A New York Times exposé in July 2016 revealed that Trump’s campaign manager first got involved in Ukraine in the mid-2000s as an image consultant to the controversial billionaire oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, who has aggressively disputed allegations connecting him to wrongdoing for more than two decades.

Soon Manafort began advising Akhmetov’s favored presidential candidate, Viktor Yanukovych, and his Party of Regions. Manafort’s advice was credited by at least one Yanukovych ally with helping the candidate win Ukraine’s 2010 presidential election.

The original Times story also noted that “Mr. Manafort has not registered as a lobbyist representing Ukraine, which would require disclosing his earnings.” Two weeks later, the paper reported the existence of handwritten ledgers, produced by Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau, showing that Manafort had received $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments from Yanukovych’s Party of Regions from 2007 to 2012. Manafort denied receiving the cash.

A follow-up story in the Washington Post reported that Manafort lobbied “State Department officials and other opinion leaders” on behalf of Yanukovych, failed to file official reports, and “did not officially close his business in Kiev until April 2016, the month after he joined the Trump campaign.” Manafort left the Trump campaign a day later.

Recent document disclosures confirm Manafort’s lobbying activities for the Party of Regions. They also confirm that he was aided by former Republican Congressman Vin Weber, whose lobbying firm Mercury Public Affairs earned more than $1.2 million on the Ukraine account from 2012 to 2014.

“Our goal as Americans and Westerners was to bring Ukraine into the E.U.,” said Weber, who also represents Qatar and Turkey. “Our explicit work was anti-Russian.”

In the spirit of bipartisanship, Manafort also enlisted the services of Podesta Group Inc. — co-founded by John Podesta (President Clinton’s former chief of staff, President-elect Obama’s transition team chief, and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman) — to help influence Congress for a fee of about $1 million.

Podesta Group last year also signed on as lobbyists to help lift sanctions against Russia’s largest financial institution, Sberbank, which the United States imposed after Russia intervened in Ukraine following the violent ouster of Yanukovych in 2014.

In the run-up to the overthrow of Yanukovych, anti-government Ukrainian protestors assembled on K Street — lobbyist row in Washington, D.C. — with signs saying, “Podesta Group Takes Blood Money.”

It wasn’t the first time critics had called attention to the firm’s choice of clients. For its services to such notorious human rights violators as Azerbaijan, Egypt, Thailand and Vietnam, Podesta Group was paid more than $7 million from 2010 to 2015, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

Mercury and Podesta Group didn’t just lobby for Yanukovych; they also fought proposals in Washington to pressure his government to release his political rival, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, from prison on corruption charges.

She, in turn, was represented in Washington by several powerful lobbyists, including former Rep. Jim Slattery, D-Kansas. His law firm received $920,000 over two years from Tymoshenko’s husband to pressure the Kiev government to free her. She was finally released in February 2014, after the successful putsch against Yanukovych.

“A lot of people are making a lot of money off Ukraine’s political competition,” observed Bruce Jackson, president of the Project on Transitional Democracies, in late 2013, noting that he and his group, which promoted democratic change in Eastern Europe, did not lobby.

That was rich coming from Jackson, a former vice president at Lockheed Martin, who had been a director of the infamous, neo-conservative Project for the New American Century, founder of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, and co-founder of the U.S. Committee to Expand NATO. It was NATO’s 2008 commitment to expand into Ukraine that helped trigger the current crisis with Russia.

Biden and Kerry Connections

Another Democrat who cashed in on the Ukraine crisis was Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter. In May 2014 he joined the board of Burisma Holdings, a private Ukrainian oil and gas company owned by a former government minister.

President Barack Obama stands with Vice President Joe Biden in the Green Room of the White House on Nov. 9, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Also joining its board was Devon Archer, a Democratic fundraiser and former adviser to John Kerry, then Secretary of State. A week later, David Leiter, former Senate chief of staff to Kerry, came aboard as a lobbyist for the company, to promote “a stable and secure energy future for Ukraine,” independent of Russia.

Time magazine commented at the time, “By taking a job with Burisma, the younger Biden has put himself in the middle of a struggle between the United States and Russia, which currently provides the bulk of the natural gas supplies to Ukraine. . . . Since Hunter Biden took the new job, his father, Vice President Joe Biden, has continued to serve as the Obama Administration’s point person on Ukraine.”

Although experts agreed that it appeared no one had broken any laws, a pundit at one Washington think tank observed, “It’s unhelpful when we are trying to get across to the Ukrainians to clean up corruption and special deals for special folks. It maybe sends the wrong message that Westerners are just hypocritical.”

Since Trump’s election, money is pouring in to well-heeled Republican lobbyists. The Ukrainian government said in January that it had hired BGR Group as its Washington lobbyist to “help open lines of communication” with Congress, the administration, and other influential groups with the “goals of strengthening US-Ukrainian relations and increasing US business investment in Ukraine.”

Translated, that means the lobbyists will urge members of Congress and the administration to tighten economic sanctions against Russia until it pulls out of Eastern Ukraine and Crimea. Ukraine also seeks more financial and military aid as it struggles to make ends meet. BGR Group is on a retainer worth $50,000 a month. Its past foreign clients have included Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The “B” in BGR is former Republican Party leader and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. The “R” is Ed Rogers, a former White House official in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations and protégé of take-no-prisoners campaigner Lee Atwater. Rogers’s ongoing column in the Washington Post has come under fire for failing to disclose numerous conflicts of interest with his firm’s clients.

Also jumping on the Ukraine gravy train this year was Monica Crowley, a former Fox News commentator who had to pass up an appointment as director of strategic communications for Trump’s National Security Council after CNN revealed that she had plagiarized portions of her dissertation and a subsequent book.

Crowley now represents Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk in Washington policy circles on unspecified “issues of concern” to him. In a bipartisan spirit, Pinchuk also pays Democratic pollster Doug Shoen $40,000 per month to facilitate conversations with U.S. policy makers “regarding Democratization in Ukraine and European integration.”

Pinchuk, a billionaire with interests in steel, pipelines, media and banking, ingratiated himself into the Clinton camp by contributing millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation and hosting a visit to Ukraine by Chelsea Clinton and her husband. Two years ago, he paid the Trump Foundation $150,000 in return for the Republican upstart appearing on video at an annual European strategy meeting held by Pinchuk.

Ukraine’s anti-Russian President Petro Poroshenko speaking to the Atlantic Council in 2014. (Photo credit: Atlantic Council)

Last but not least, Pinchuk’s foundation — along with the Ukrainian World Congress, as noted above — is a leading funder of the influential Atlantic Council, which promotes collaboration with other NATO powers to combat “Kremlin aggression in Ukraine.”

The Atlantic Council’s lavish funding of position papers, op-ed columns, conferences and other persuasive vehicles by agents of anti-Russian Ukrainians is not so very different — although somewhat less transparent — than pro-Russian propaganda disseminated by RT or Sputnik News. The Atlantic Council’s efforts show up as columns by think-tank experts in the Washington Post and other papers, while what appears on RT or Sputnik News is branded by Western officials as “information warfare.”

The American public, their elected officials, and Washington bureaucrats have a hard enough time sorting out the complex issues of foreign relations without the additional challenge of not knowing who is paying for their news and information. That’s why full disclosure is so vital. And that’s why the United States badly needs not just an investigation into Russian political interference, but an in-depth probe into the activities of all foreign agents of influence in the United States.

[This is the sixth and last article in a series on foreign lobbying. The previous installments were “The Open Secret of Foreign Lobbying”; “How China Lobby Shaped America”; “Israel Pays the Political Piper”; and “Saudis Win Hearts by Lining Pockets”; and “Turkey’s Varied Tactics of US Lobbying.”]

Jonathan Marshall is a regular contributor to ConsortiumNews.com.

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25 comments for “Ukraine Factions Vie for Lobbying Edge

  1. GMC
    May 24, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Yanukovych was exactly what Washington needed in Ukraine in order to pull off their coup but I’m sure they didn’t plan on how Donbass has stood honorably and fought. He was as crooked as Washington was and both -still are. Of course the billionaire Tymoshenko would have made it easier had she been the president but the US didn’t care much since the main objective was to place Nato at Russia’s borders. Didn’t get Crimea though you Rats.I often wondered how Tymoshenko became a billionaire while being a public servant. Also I love the fact that on a UN vote to outlaw Fascism and neo Nazism , the US and Ukraine voted – For their own fascist and Nazi regimes. Most of EU abstained – Germany Abstained – give me a break. – Merkel. Ukraine I see outlawed the Saint george ribbons – Ya Kyiv if Saint George the Christian slew that Dragon { Satan } before – it can happen again you satanist bastards.

    • jo6pac
      May 24, 2017 at 5:06 pm

      Tymoshenko

      Contracts with natural gas pipe lines, she as evil as the rest Amerikas clowns. If you can’t steal money from you’re own country and people then there must be something wrong with you;)

  2. jimbo
    May 24, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    You have to check out this segment on the Sunday Wire with Patrick Henningsen where he interviews this historian who tells how the whole of eastern Europe has been overtaken by western capitalists. Ukraine is nothing special. Just one in a bunch.

    http://21stcenturywire.com/2017/05/21/episode-186-sunday-wire-the-alternative-view-with-olsi-jazexhi-dr-graham-downing-plus-special-guests/

    From Soros to Blair

    Pillaging the Wealth of Nations

    Olsi Jazexhi

    The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the break up of Yugoslavia through a series of wars from 1992 to 2003 and the proclamation of Kosovo as an independent state in 2008, has created new realities for the people of Southeastern Europe. During the era of communism, the ex-Yugoslav Republics of Serbia, Kosovo and Macedonia were prosperous, and Albania was an independent nation-state; today, two decades later, they are no longer so. The ex-communist nations of the Balkans, that in the 1980s were rich and enjoyed excellent quality of life, today suffer from massive poverty and mass migration of their populations towards Western Europe and America.

    The Western political, corporate and mainstream media, blame the countries of Southeastern Europe for corruption and economic failures. Serbia, Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo, whose populations are either overwhelmingly Orthodox Christians or Muslims, are frequently accused by the mainstream Western media either for their sympathies for Russia, or blamed as sources of radical Islam.

    From 1991 to this day, the Western political elites through their NGO-s and transnational elites keep on “educating” the “unruly people” of the Balkans, sometimes through hard power – NATO bombing – and most of the time through the soft power – which comes through NGO corruption, backdoor intrigues and open verbal threats by US and EU representatives.

    The marriage between the hard and the soft power of the West in policing the countries of the Balkans, has led to exploitation of the wealth of these nations. In Albania and Kosovo people from Tony Blair, Wesley Clark and Madeleine Albright who came into this region with NATO planes in 1999,have now became chief government advisers or major shareholders in fracking oil companies who have caused major environmental disasters and are accused for stealing billions.

    My presentation will show how Tony Blair, Madeleine Albright, Wesley Clark and George Soros have not only overthrown governments in Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia but have also exploited the wealth of these Balkan nations. I will show how the US and EU administrations protect these transnational parasites in their plunder and exploitation, and how major political turmoils in the Balkans are quite often caused by these so-called ‘Elites’.

    Bio

    Olsi Jazexhi is an Albanian-Canadian historian who teaches history at University of Durres and Elbasan in Albania. He is a social activist and an independent media critic, who consistently challenges the mainstream media narratives in Albania and Kosovo. Olsi is founder of Free Media Institute in Tirana and is a regular guest commentator for Top Channel, Klan, News 24 and Impakt TV in Albania. His work has appeared in a number of international publications in Albania, Serbia, Turkey and Canada.

  3. mike k
    May 24, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    A story of the operations of the evil among us in the US capitol. Do we have to wonder why there is such pain and suffering in our world which has more than enough for everyone? Greed and the willingness to hurt others is the answer. We do not need fancy psychiatric diagnoses for these human perpetrators, they are simply evil. Those who would like us o believe that there is no such thing in our world today, that evil is somehow an antiquated myth, have only to admit the unspeakable crimes and cruelty of these persons in “high places” to see that there fantasies are disproven. Evil is alive and well in the world today, and is on it’s way to destroy all of us. If we have read Orwell’s 1984 and not seen that it is a story of evil in our world, then we have failed to understand his message.

  4. Sam F
    May 24, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Thanks very much to Jonathan Marshall and his excellent series, showing very well that we need an “in-depth probe into the activities of all foreign agents of influence in the United States”

    Truly “The American public, their elected officials, and Washington bureaucrats have a hard enough time sorting out the complex issues of foreign relations without the additional challenge of not knowing who is paying for their news and information.”

    That corruption extends to the zionist influences upon mass media, both by their ownership and management, and the influence of advertisers.

  5. Boris
    May 24, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    What’s the source for this fake Ukraine map ? … Crimea is part if Russia, not ukrainian any more …

  6. mike k
    May 24, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    This is why I love this site; CN works to uncover and reveal the evil that men do. It’s not that I enjoy bathing in the garbage that’s discussed here, but I know that unless people become awake to the crimes and lies that are being perpetrated in their name, then those criminals will succeed in destroying this beautiful world.

  7. SCE
    May 24, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    June 15, 2016 was a big day for Ukrainians in DC. The Washington Post story that launched Russiagate was published the day before. A large delegation from the Ukraine and D.C. embassy staff visited Biden’s office in the White House with top-level State Department officials involved in Maidan 2014 in attendance. Crowdstrike’s report on Russian hacking of the DNC was released that same day. Within hours, Guccifer 2.0 appeared to take credit for the hacks spreading documents with Russian fingerprints over the internet. June 15, 2016 is also the day Prime Minister Groysman meets with House Republicans Ryan and McCarthy and makes his case about the Russian threat. Emerging from the meeting, and possibly goaded by Groysman, Ryan and McCarthy joke that Putin pays Trump. Their conversation is recorded, and the Washington Post journalist who reports on the comment travels to Kiev for the story (see the byline from the Post article last week).

    Three days prior to this, Julian Assange announces the imminent release of emails related to Clinton.

  8. mike k
    May 24, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    The criminal ouster of the elected leader of Ukraine, by the US aided by Nazis was not the first time we have allied with Nazis to accomplish our hegemonic plan to rule the Earth
    A friend of mine pointed out in a book he wrote, that after world warII the US took on the same project that Hitler started. The stated US goal of full spectrum dominance echoes Hitler’s thousand year Reich.

  9. Joe Tedesky
    May 24, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Thanks Jonathan Marshall for the information you provide.

    I will say this, may these greedy bastards choke on the hypocritical money they steal.

  10. Roger Annis
    May 24, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    I appreciate, as always, Jonathan’s writings. There are three small concerns that come to my mind:
    [1] The Rinat Akhmetov Foundation operates a very substantial humanitarian assistance program in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. The man and his aides deserve credit for this.
    [2] On March 16, 2014, the people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and join (or rejoin, according to one’s historical perspective) the Russian Federation. Russia accepted the result of the vote and deserves credit for doing so. It is hard to know how Russia would “pull out of Crimea” in the hypothetical scenario presented in the article. Or what is meant by Russia “pulling out” of Eastern Ukraine. There is no formal, Russian military presence in Eastern Ukraine, so the only “pulling out” that Russia could do would be to end its substantial humanitarian aid to Donbass. I’m sure Jonathan would not favour that.
    [3] Many appreciative followers of RT and Sputnik News will take exception to their description as “pro-Russia propaganda”, especially considering the large-media alternatives on offer in the West, which, most decidedly, are in the business of disseminating propaganda. RT is a beacon of objective journalism compared to that lot.

  11. D5-5
    May 24, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    “The only common denominators are money, influence, and lack of transparency.”

  12. Maria S calef
    May 24, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    USA just not “applaude” but play a leading role in overthrow Yanukovich from power.

  13. backwardsevolution
    May 25, 2017 at 1:56 am

    Jonathan Marshall – great series of articles! Thank you. A few days ago I posted about how Jim Comey rushed to Attorney General John Ashcroft’s hospital bed in 2004. Out of curiosity, I wondered if John Ashcroft survived his emergency illness, so I looked it up. He not only survived, but he thrived, and at the age of 63 decided to start a new business.

    He became a lobbyist, opened up his own consultant and lobbying firm, and is still going strong today, raking in millions. “The Hill magazine listed Ashcroft as one of the top 50 “hired guns” (lobbyists) that K Street had to offer.”

    I’m not saying he’s doing anything wrong. But Jack Abramoff, who went to jail for corruption and bribery, said that Members of Congress and their aides ought to be barred for life from becoming lobbyists. He said:

    “I was involved deeply in a system of bribery – legalized bribery for the most part … [that] still to a large part exists today.”

  14. John A
    May 25, 2017 at 4:54 am

    “Our goal as Americans and Westerners was to bring Ukraine into the E.U.,” said Weber, who also represents Qatar and Turkey. “Our explicit work was anti-Russian.”

    This is the big problem for the EU and why it will eventually disintigrate. Via the machinations of the US and its British poodle trojan horse, all the poor eastern states from Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania to Romania, Bulgaria etc., were granted membership and immediately, young people from there headed west as US-EU austerity enforced policies destroyed their economies. All these countries have seen population shrinkages in double percentage figures. The fact that 650,000 Poles now live in England and Polish is the second most spoken language there, was a big factor in the Brexit vote. The EU needs to regroup, leave NATO, get rid of all the US bases and make peace with Russia. BTW, the French and Germany armies alone outnumber the Russian military forces, so get real about all the Russian aggression nonsense. Crimea was a special case. Bringing Ukraine into the EU would be insane. From day 1, thousands if not millions of Ukrainians would head west. As it is, it will be interesting to see how many try to remain in the west having entered via the new visa free tourist concession from the EU.

    • Realist
      May 25, 2017 at 5:28 am

      Yeah, it’s absolutely insane that Vin Weber’s statement can be accepted as a given, as some divine decree, law of nature or constitutional principle to act reflexively against the interests of Russia. Who signed off on this provocative, sure-to-stir-up trouble, policy? And, with clients like Qatar and Turkey it sure ain’t “God’s work” you are doing, Mr. Weber. Weber would be livid if anyone based their actions on being anti-Israeli, anti-Saudi, anti-Sunni or any of the other thuggish allies of Washington. But there are special people whom we Americans are allowed, nay encouraged, to hate.

  15. Realist
    May 25, 2017 at 5:08 am

    So we see wealthy and politically-connected Americans of both major political parties colluding with both Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs plus the politicians they own to exploit the local economies and resources. Twas ever thus for Americans when there has been money to make anywhere on the planet. It’s also not surprising that these American capitalists and their political tools are doing their damnedest to totally snooker Ukraine and roll Russia in the bargain. In fact, the military hegemons are gleeful about taking the confrontation to defcon 1 to impose their will and take what is rightfully ours from Russia. I get that, and that the people most responsible for the escalation of tensions will never be cured of their madness short of a bullet in the brain.

    The best we could hope for was an unlikely defeat for them at the ballot box (which we thought we had witnessed in Trump’s election) followed up by strict adherence to our constitution (which has effectively been declared null and void because, as we see, wealth and power trump all else). Since that democracy thing hasn’t really worked out for this country, what we are treated to now is a power struggle by hypocrites from both sides throwing quite similar threats and accusations of corruption and treason at one another. Which is supposed to be worse, the sleazy interference and exploitation of Ukraine by Democrats or Republicans? Especially when the unsavory characters with whom they cavort are by and large the same local criminals? Or at least the same ilk of criminals. How is the Biden and Kerry families exploiting a sleazy business relationship with Porky any more righteous than Manafort playing Yanukovich to dip his beak?

    The hypocrites from both factions can call for a never-ending investigation into “Russian interference” in American democracy (though this is expedient mainly for the Dems at this point, but that can always turn on a dime), since such provocative charges always titillate and mobilize public opinion (What higher drama is there than alleged treason by an American president? Amirite, mainstream media?). What’s clear to me, and makes this all preposterous, is that Russia never fomented a coup within the United States or on its borders, doesn’t operate NGO’s within our country to destabilise the government, and hasn’t incited and armed neighboring countries in a powerful military alliance to act against us, in spite of the fact that they feel highly threatened by our actions. Rather it is the United States that has been taking all those baseless provocative actions against Russia. Perhaps we should investigate ourselves rather than Russia; I mean on a systemic level and not just the usual partisan witch hunt.

    I have no doubt that Russia spies on us constantly, just as we do on them, but that is because we take so many deliberate actions to scare the bejesus out of them. They had better stay prepared: we ARE their chief existential threat… and revel in that role. But there has never been a shred of evidence that they have “interfered in our democracy,” even if they had any capacity to do so. Offering statements of fact and opinion, perhaps occasionally at variance with official Washington group think, is not interference. It used to be called “free speech” in America. Now it’s called “fake news.” For the most part, their rhetoric reflects their very cautious interaction with the United States, deferring entirely to our strict sovereignty within our borders, probably in the hopes that one day we will reciprocate the courtesy. They always stay on their best behavior, even though they know they are going to be condemned anyway. They are the ones who scrupulously adhere to the letter of international law even as we routinely flout it, whilst bragging about being exceptional. It’s quite a mad act to which Putin must constantly react. It’s tricky trying to reason with psychotics.

    • Sam F
      May 25, 2017 at 8:59 am

      Very well put that “Rather it is the United States that has been taking … provocative actions against Russia. Perhaps we should investigate ourselves … on a systemic level.”

    • backwardsevolution
      May 25, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      Realist – “What’s clear to me, and makes this all preposterous, is that Russia never fomented a coup within the United States or on its borders, doesn’t operate NGO’s within our country to destabilise the government, and hasn’t incited and armed neighboring countries in a powerful military alliance to act against us, in spite of the fact that they feel highly threatened by our actions.”

      “They always stay on their best behavior, even though they know they are going to be condemned anyway.”

      Very well said! Not only does Russia have to put up with being surrounded with bases and labeled “aggressive” when they’re not the aggressor, but they have to stifle their anger. It’s not easy walking on eggshells.

    • Lisa
      May 25, 2017 at 2:15 pm

      “They always stay on their best behavior” – the Russians, that is.

      Remember the ingenious “retaliation” by Putin to the Obama aggressive act of expelling 35 Russian diplomats in December, just on the eve of the biggest Russian holiday, the New Year? Everybody expected Russia to expel the same amount of US diplomats, and what did Putin decide? Yes, he invited 35 US diplomats and their family members, including children, to the New Year’s celebration in the Kremlin! Does anyone know if the invitation was accepted? ( I suspect not.)

      By the way, I enjoy your writing style, Realist.
      A very accurate observation: “It used to be called “free speech” in America. Now it’s called “fake news.”

  16. mike k
    May 25, 2017 at 7:54 am

    I love the way you express the truth Realist. Go for it! In my imagination I see you on CNN laying it out before the gaping mouths and bugging eyes of the presstitutes who are paid to tell the lies of their Masters. They are desperately calling for security to remove this unacceptable menace who has somehow invaded their sanctum uninvited……lol…..!

  17. GM
    May 25, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Understatement of the century: “Washington DC is a bipartisan cesspool of corruption”

  18. Bob In Portland
    May 25, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    Since ethnic Russians are the majority in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea, those will never go back to the fascists in Kiev. In fact, it’s likely that when the west gets tired of propping up the the fascists you can expect other regions to break off and ask for reintegration into Russia.

    In other words, the people in those regions consider themselves Russian and they won’t go back.

    Perhaps the US should try Vietnam again.

  19. Bob In Portland
    May 25, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    For a short summary of the US’s dirty business in Ukraine, read this Russ Bellant interview from the Nation in 2014: https://www.thenation.com/article/seven-decades-nazi-collaboration-americas-dirty-little-ukraine-secret/

  20. Will
    May 26, 2017 at 5:57 am

    An excellent series of extremely informative articles by Marshall. Great work.

Comments are closed.