Ukraine: Why ‘OU’ Lost by a Landslide

The answer is clear if you read U.S. documents published by WikiLeaks in 2006, writes Kevin Zeese.

Zelensky, in 2016 episode of Ukrainian TV comedy “Servant of the People.” (YouTube)

Ukraine’s next president in 2016 trailer for the TV comedy “Servant of the People.” (YouTube)

By Kevin Zeese

With his landslide victory,  Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian who won 73 percent of the vote,  will become the president of Ukraine. Understanding how this occurred becomes easy when people review U.S. government documents published by WikiLeaks about outgoing President Petro Poroshenko.

Who is “OU?” Our Ukraine. 

In a classified diplomatic cable from 2006 released by WikiLeaks, U.S. officials refer to Poroshenko as “Our Ukraine (OU) insider Petro Poroshenko.” Our Ukraine has been in the pocket of the U.S. for 13 years.

The U.S. knew Poroshenko was corrupt. A separate cable released by WikiLeaks makes that clear. The May 2006 cable states: “Poroshenko was tainted by credible corruption allegations, but wielded significant influence within OU; Poroshenko’s price had to be paid.”

Allowing his corruption was a price the U.S. was willing to pay to have Our Ukraine serving as president.

2018 billboard for Yulia Tymoshenko in Kiev. (Wikimedia Commons)

2018 billboard for Tymoshenko in Kiev. (Wikimedia Commons)

The document also describes the “bad blood” between Poroshenko and Yuliya Tymoshenko. This bad blood continues to this day as Tymoshenko came in third in the first round of the elections, and it seemed to continue through the general election, as those who voted for her, voted for Zelensky — or against Poroshenko.

Here is how the memo describes the Tymoshenko-Poroshenko relationship: “there is a thin line between love and hate” it says and describes how Tymoshenko and Poroshenko might appear in public, shake hands and agree to “do business” together, but that a coalition between them was unlikely to last.

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who is expected to announce a 2020 run for president, is emblematic of the corruption of the U.S. in Ukraine. 

As WikiLeaks reports, Biden pledged U.S. financial and technical assistance to Ukraine for “unconventional” gas resources (i.e. fracking). Biden’s son Hunter was put on the board of the largest private gas company in Ukraine (along with a financier and long-time family friend of former Secretary of State John Kerry) and when that gas company was threatened with investigation, with video cameras rolling at the Council on Foreign Relations, [starts at 52.00]  Biden described how he threatened Poroshenko in March 2016, saying that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion. Biden claimed he gave the country six hours to fire the prosecutor before he left Ukraine or he would bankrupt the country. OU fired him. 

Why did Biden want him fired? The prosecutor was leading a wide-ranging corruption investigation into the natural gas firm – while Biden’s son, Hunter, sat on the board of directors. Corruption is a major problem in Ukraine, and Biden contributed to it, bringing U.S. corruption to Ukraine.

After Poroshenko replaced the prosecutor with one to Biden’s liking a WikiLeaks document shows he was prepared to move forward with the signing of the third $1 billion loan guarantee agreement.

Poroshenko: Enriched as country lost. (Wikimedia Commons)

Now the two pro-U.S. politicians, Tymoshenko and Poroshenko, have been replaced by a political unknown in Zelensky, or Ze,” as he’s more popularly known. The incoming president has been vague on what policies he will pursue but says he wants to negotiate peace with Russia over eastern Ukraine, saying he was prepared to negotiate directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukraine is sick of corruption. Adding to Poroshenko’s corruption, the U.S. brought more corruption. Not surprisingly, corruption under Poroshenko worsened. The country is tired of the conflict between Kiev and East Ukraine and Zelensky said he would try to end the war. And, the country has become the poorest in Europe as the promise of close ties with the U.S. have not resulted in the benefits promised.

While the country has gotten poorer, Poroshenko remains one of the wealthiest men in Ukraine. He has been surrounded by corruption scandals as various businessmen close to him have been caught up in scandals involving corruption. The common view is Ukraine has gotten poorer as Poroshenko has gotten richer.

All this was predictable with what the U.S. knew about OU, and thanks to WikiLeaks should not be a surprise to anyone.

Kevin Zeese, co-director of It’s Our Economy, is an attorney who has been a political activist since graduating from George Washington Law School in 1980.  He is co-founder of  the Drug Policy Foundation, now known as the Drug Policy Alliance. Read more about him here. This article was first published by    

38 comments for “Ukraine: Why ‘OU’ Lost by a Landslide

  1. April 24, 2019 at 17:36

    Thanks for the article. It was clear the Poroshanko’s lose was a vote against his attacks on Russia, the Russian language and the push for more war in the East. However, if Ze is to make a better relationship with Russia and try to end the war in the East, he will have to go up against to a strong right-wing that is proud to call itself fascist and he will have to go up against the US, which want Ukraine in NATO and does not want to see peace in Ukraine or between Ukraine and Russia. I’m not sure that unless he mobilized the people of Ukraine he can do this.
    I will be in Odessa next week and hope to learn more about the elections while supporting the people of Odessa as they march to protest the fascist massacre at the House of Trade Unions in 2014.

    • April 26, 2019 at 07:00

      Things happen unexpectedly don’t they. Pres. Trump was not supposed to win, the Russia hater Clinton was, but did not. A collosal political failure after Obama spent so much sending the “Cookie Monster” Nuland to do in Ukraine what was to be done to the USA in reaction to Dems 2016 loss. Neo cons flew into a rage also. This will be interesting as enemies of mankind are spread very thin and continue to fail such as in N. Korea and Venezuela.

  2. Abe
    April 23, 2019 at 23:49

    “People were voting in their dream”

    Inside Story on Zelensky – Al Jazeera English

  3. Alembic
    April 23, 2019 at 14:28

    Politics[viz: human nature] as quantum chaos…..

  4. April 23, 2019 at 12:43

    The devil and his minions love corruption for death and misery follows ? “their” destination is hell/lake of fire ? real bible?

  5. Lucy
    April 23, 2019 at 08:47

    Very true and exact article.Absolutely .

    • Linda Furr
      April 23, 2019 at 19:29

      I remember learning that during 2013-14 while Victoria Nuland was organizing with the fascist right groups (Svoboda Party and Right Sektor), Joe Biden would be talking to the oligarchs about the World Bank and IMF pouring money into Ukraine to help them develop their natural resources (fracking for oil and natural gas) “once reform had taken place.” Of course, ‘reform’ meant opening Ukrainians’ inherent natural wealth to outside energy corporations – ie ‘privitization’ – though that word was never used. It was always ‘reform’, ‘modernization’, ‘revitalization’ etc. Biden’s always been a smooth guy with words.

      • LJ
        April 25, 2019 at 16:27

        Bucktooth Biden, alas like the Dwarfs in Lord of the Rings,” They Drilled too Deep” when they put in his hair implants. He had more credibility but no Presidential possibility when he was “Balding Joe Biden” > Not just a groper but a friend of the working man. A real Democrat.

  6. Skip Scott
    April 23, 2019 at 07:12

    Just like the USA, the Ukrainians keep “hoping” for change, but their hope is in vain as long as it depends on the ballot box. Also, just like the USA, it matters not a whit who is president. Ze will be “same ol’, same ol'” and the plunder will continue. Biden is another shill for Empire, and he made sure he got his share of the scraps.

  7. Maricata
    April 22, 2019 at 20:04

    Makes no difference who is president.

    Ukraine is fascist through and through and beholden to the US military.

    The election changes nothing other than another affording the people another entertainer as president.

    As to Biden, he widll never run. Uncle Joe has been taken down by Me Too

  8. chucknobomb
    April 22, 2019 at 17:52

    Free Assange and thank you Kevin and those who are at the Venezuela Embassy to save it from the Empire take over in days.

  9. Anonymot
    April 22, 2019 at 17:27

    Can anyone name a country where the U.S. has pulled off a “regime change” coup or war where the President the CIA or State installed was not corrupt, incompetent and a far right extremist? Or who, once well seated in power and banknotes, did not turn so anti-American that they had to arrange a new coup?

    The level of foreign affairs incompetence since 1988 has skyrocketed. Perhaps the Dulles brothers, one at State, the other Director of the CIA have become the figureheads of the pimples spreading on the face of America. It’s really getting ugly and destined to get worse with Trump and Hillary and Netanyahu still in charge of our debacle. Don’t be fooled by all of the pitiful, buyable Demo candidates. The sole real thinkers of the lot are Gabberd and Gravel. The rest just have bumper sticker slogans that will probably give Trump time to change the Constitution and remain for life like his buddies Kim and Bibi.

    • rudyav
      April 24, 2019 at 09:04

      You may want to consider adding Marianne Williamson in your sole thinkers list.

      If you have not heard about her candidacy, it can be understood since the corporate main stream media have completely ignored her since she thinks “outside of the box”.

      • b.grand
        April 25, 2019 at 16:00

        YES, Marianne Williamson deserves a look, and a place in the debates. Check her out in this report from Kim Iversen. “Marianne Williamson showed she’s fierce on CNN “

  10. ranney
    April 22, 2019 at 17:13

    Thanks for the info on Joe Biden and son. I knew there was some corruption there with the son, but our MSM has totally been quiet about it. I’ve been wondering why nothing has been said. Maybe they are waiting for him to announce a run for presidency?

  11. Abe
    April 22, 2019 at 17:11

    Contrary to Zeese’s claim that the “incoming president has been vague on what policies he will pursue”, very specific policy declarations were made by the unabashedly pro-NATO “Ze”.

    During his presidential campaign, Zelensky said that he would like Ukraine to become a member of the European Union and NATO.

    Zelensky’s chief of staff Ivan Bakanov also said that Zelensky’s policy is supportive of membership of both the EU and NATO, and proposes holding referendums on membership. Zelensky’s electoral programme claimed that Ukrainian NATO membership is “the choice of the Maidan and the course that is enshrined in the Constitution, in addition, it is an instrument for strengthening our defense capability.” The program states that Ukraine should set the goal to apply for a NATO Membership Action Plan in 2024. The programme also states that Zelensky “will do everything to ensure” that Ukraine can apply for European Union membership in 2024.

    In an interview in December 2018, Zelensky stated that as President he would try to end the ongoing War in Donbass by negotiating with Russia. As he considered the leaders of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic (DPR and LPR) to be Russia’s “puppets”, it would “make no sense to speak with them”.

    In an interview published three days before the 2019 presidential election (on 21 April) Zelensky stated that he was against granting the Donbass region “special status”. In the interview he also said that if he were elected President he would not sign a law on amnesty for the militants of the DPR and LPR.

    In an interview with RBC-Ukraine in April 2019, Zelensky said that Stepan Bandera, a controversial Ukrainian nationalist leader, was “a hero for a certain part of Ukrainians, and this is a normal and cool thing. He was one of those who defended the freedom of Ukraine.”

    Regarding the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea, Zelensky stated that it would be possible to return Crimea to Ukrainian control only after a regime change in Russia.

    In response to suggestions to the contrary, he replied to a question that he regarded Russian leader Vladimir Putin “as an enemy”.

    The new comedy schtick of “Ze” is obviously scripted for NATO.

    • Sam F
      April 22, 2019 at 21:43

      Thanks, Abe. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Unknowns in politics seem always to be bad news, either fakes or naifs who go along with oligarchy narratives.

    • John Drake
      April 23, 2019 at 11:37

      Re Bandera: He was much more than a “controversial ” leader; he was a Nazi and headed the Ukrainian branch of the SS. They were responsible for the deaths of 20,000~ Poles and Jews. He is a hero to certain Ukrainians, namely the fascists who are fond of using Nazi symbols and did all the violence at Maidan. These folk, unfortunately, are a significant presence in that country. There are statues of Bandera in the Northern part of the country, and their influence is felt there.
      Bandera, by the way, was later tracked down and eliminated by the KGB after the war.
      Good informative addition to the article though; maybe Zelensky isn’t so funny after all.

      • Abe
        April 24, 2019 at 00:14

        Stepan Bandera never “headed the Ukrainian branch of the SS”.

        Bandera was a head of a militant wing of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and a leader of the terrorist activities of the movement.

        OUN leaders Andriy Melnyk and Bandera were recruited before World War II into the Nazi Germany military intelligence Abwehr for espionage, counter-espionage and sabotage. Their goal was to run diversion activities after Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union.

        In the spring of 1941, Bandera held meetings with the heads of Germany’s intelligence, regarding the formation of “Nachtigall” and “Roland” Battalions. In spring of that year the OUN received 2.5 million marks for subversive activities inside the USSR. Gestapo and Abwehr officials protected Bandera followers, as both organizations intended to use them for their own purposes.

        On 30 June 1941, with the arrival of Nazi troops in Ukraine, Bandera and the OUN-B declared an independent Ukrainian State (“Act of Renewal of Ukrainian Statehood”). This declaration was accompanied by violent porgoms. Some of the published proclamations of the formation of this state say that it would “work closely with the National-Socialist Greater Germany, under the leadership of its leader Adolf Hitler which is forming a new order in Europe and the world and is helping the Ukrainian People to free itself from Moscovite occupation.” – as stated in the text of the “Act of Proclamation of Ukrainian Statehood”.

        Bandera’s expectation that Nazi regime would post factum recognize an independent fascist Ukraine as the Axis ally proved to be wrong. For his refusal to rescind the the 30 June 1941 decree, Bandera was arrested by Gestapo on 5 of July 1941. On 12 July, the prime minister of the newly formed Ukrainian National Government, Yaroslav Stetsko, was also arrested. Although released from custody on 14 July, both were required to stay in Berlin. On 15 September 1941 Bandera and leading OUN members were once again arrested by the Gestapo.

        A Nazi document dated 25 November 1941 stated that “… the Bandera Movement is preparing a revolt in the Reichskommissariat which has as its ultimate aim the establishment of an independent Ukraine. All functionaries of the Bandera Movement must be arrested at once and, after thorough interrogation, are to be liquidated…”.

        In January 1942, Bandera was transferred to Sachsenhausen concentration camp’s special barrack for high-profile political prisoners Zellenbau.

        In April 1944, Bandera and his deputy Yaroslav Stetsko were approached by a Reich Main Security Office official to discuss plans for diversions and sabotage against the Soviet Army. In September 1944, Bandera was released by the German authorities, and collaboration between OUN and Nazi Germany resumed at several levels; it continued until the end of the war.

        With German consent, Bandera set up the headquarters of the re-established Ukrainian Supreme Liberation Council in Berlin, but fled when the Soviet forces advanced to the city. He settled with his family in West Germany where he remained the leader of the OUN-B and worked with several anti-communist organizations as well as with the British intelligence agencies.

        According to Stephen Dorril, author of MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, OUN-B was re-formed in 1946 under the sponsorship of MI6. The organization had been receiving some support from MI6 since the 1930s. One faction of Bandera’s organization, associated with Mykola Lebed, became more closely associated with the CIA. Bandera himself was the target of an extensive and aggressive search carried out by CIC. It failed having described the objective as “extremely dangerous” and “constantly en route, frequently in disguise”. Some American intelligence reported that he even was guarded by former SS men.

        Bandera’s organization perpetrated many crimes, including hundred of thousands of murders, counterfeiting, and kidnapping. After the Bavarian state government initiated a crackdown on it, Bandera agreed with the BND offering them his service, despite CIA warning the West Germans against cooperating with him.

        Fourteen years after the end of the war, in October 1959, Bandera was assassinated in Munich by a KGB agent.

      • Abe
        April 24, 2019 at 00:35

        The ‘romantic’ legacy of Ukrainian nationalism hides a reality of Nazi collaboration and terrorist violence.

        A number of contemporary far-right Ukrainian political organizations have claimed to be inheritors of the OUN’s political traditions, including Svoboda, the Ukrainian National Assembly and the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists. The role of the OUN remains contested in historiography, as these later political inheritors developed a literature denying the organization’s fascist political heritage and collaboration with Nazi Germany, while also celebrating the Waffen SS Galizien.

        For more on the OUN, as well as Ukrainian support for genocide during World War II, see the comments at

  12. Jimmyg
    April 22, 2019 at 16:24

    Thank you for having nerve enough to expose Biden. Too bad you failed to include the Obama presidency and Secretary Clinton.

    • Nathan Mulcahy
      April 23, 2019 at 04:40

      Why would anyone need any “nerve” to expose this doddering fool Biden? Anyone with the tiniest ability to think would know the Biden, just like all corporate Dems (and most of the Republicsns) are sleazy, corrupt people.

  13. rosemerry
    April 22, 2019 at 16:00

    Sadly, the promise sounds like Trump’s willingness to talk to Russia, and we see how effective that was. Look how the vultures in the USA and the EU/NATO are beckoning to Ze.

  14. exiled off mainstreet
    April 22, 2019 at 15:38

    While I am a bit less optimistic than Dr. Zeese, being aware of Zelenski’s ties to oligarch Kolomoiski, as usual his stuff is compelling, well-researched and convincing. The Biden links are instructive and raise a number of questions: was Biden’s influence the key to getting Obama’s regime to sponsor the overthrow; and was the knowledge of Biden’s family links the reason he didn’t challenge the Harpy’s nomination since Biden would likely have won out unless he had serious skeletons in his closet.

  15. b.grand
    April 22, 2019 at 14:31

    Y’all [commenters] seem to assume that Zelensky is necessarily an improvement. Let’s hope so. (Did you imagine Gantz might be better than Bibi?)

    US may be the loser, but we don’t know yet who really won. Being a neutral bridge between Russia and NATO is exactly what Putin suggested before Maidan. Ending the war sounds good, depending on terms and means. And is Ze really just a puppet of Kolomoisky, as Graham Phillips reports?

    DEATH in Donbass, Poroshenko, Zelensky “Scumbags”

  16. bob browning
    April 22, 2019 at 13:10

    I am amazed Ze won. The CIA must be under staffed since they didn’t give Ze an “accidental” death before the election or at least buy their pawn a massive campaign to scare the voters. Three cheers for Ukrainian sensibilities.

  17. Expat
    April 22, 2019 at 12:41

    I would say that Ze has a problem.

    The Oligarchs hate him. Svoboda,, Right Sector, Azov Battalion hate him (and they have guns). The US and NATO must hate him, unless he will bend to what they dictate.

    I would say he has a difficult, maybe dangerous future.

  18. Joe Tedesky
    April 22, 2019 at 12:40

    This is one of those times I wish how Robert Parry were here to see what is going on inside the divided Ukraine.

    I’m also pleased to see how Wikileaks effected the outcome in the recent Ukraine election. This only goes to show what real investigative journalism may produce. That to pull back the curtain and expose corruption is essential to a well run democracy.

    Kevin Zeese definitely fills in the missing blanks with his fine article here. Thanks Consortium for keeping the ball rolling.

  19. Piotr Berman
    April 22, 2019 at 12:19

    The statement that Poroshenko was an insider of Our Ukraine is inconsistent with Wikipedia on Our Ukraine and on Poroshenko. Political parties in Ukraine seem to be ad hoc coalitions that change considerably from one election cycle to another. It seems that before 2014, the political start of Poroshenko waned, he was “just another billionaire” with political connections. Apparently, exactly because of the lack of clear political profile was became a consensus candidate for the presidential elections — something that Zelensky assiduously copied, but Poroshenko himself could not repeat — who can run for a re-election as a cypher?

    Ukrainian parties, influential actors working across parties, potentials for coalitions and feuds are way too complicated to be deciphered from Wikileaks.

    Concerning “influential actors”, the extreme nationalists who are often called “fascists” and in my opinion, are analogous to pre-fascist Frei Korps have oversized influence which can be partially seen from key posts they have in multiple parties and in the government, and in their power of terror and intimidation. In the same time, they have some deep splits and fare miserably when they form “pure parties” — perhaps because all more able extremists have positions in other major parties.

    These extremists have very strong and old connections to USA and Canada, cemented when they are “freedom fighters” or bandits if you have a different perspective who were fighting Soviet authorities after WWII. Before that they worked with Nazis. Their muscle was of paramount importance in the “revolution”.

  20. Steve Abbott
    April 22, 2019 at 12:13

    Chris Brown, CBC’s Moscow correspondent, out-did himself in commenting on the election. He closed wit how smoothly the election went, for a post-soviet state, failing entirely to mention that it has been at war with its own eastern provinces since the western-backed coup, also seemingly irrelevant, adding what seems th him more pertinent; … that Putin has been in power for 20 years. This was somehow more relevant than any focus on Ukraine’s electiral record! …. and Canadians are expected to absorb this weighting of our political awareness without comment.

  21. April 22, 2019 at 11:57

    I wonder if President Ze might be persuaded to seek NEUTRALITY for Ukraine, neither pro-NATO or pro-RF, and try to do honest business with both the EU and Russia, just as Finland, Sweden, Austria and Switzerland have done all along, and they’re not doing too badly. If he accepts loans on behalf of Ukraine from the US, they should be conditioned on accepting equal loans from Russia. By steering a middle ground he might find it easier to shed the endemic corruption problem that is holding talented Ukraine hostage.

    • Rob Roy
      April 23, 2019 at 12:41

      Howard Mettee, good thinking.

  22. Jay Leno for President
    April 22, 2019 at 11:49

    so the chocolate magnate is out. Who wants magnetic chocolate anyway.

  23. Jeff Harrison
    April 22, 2019 at 11:40

    (a) Why am I not surprised? and (b) Why was this cable classified? It’s not like it reveals any American capabilities other than for mendacity. The use of a system of classification to hide crimes, double dealing and other despicable forms of chicanery ultimately blows back to ill effect but the guilty parties usually manage to skate fast on thin ice and escape.

  24. April 22, 2019 at 10:55

    I wonder if the new guy will be threatened by us if he gets too close to Russia. Since we use sanctions and withdrawing of money as the center piece of our foreign policy, wouldn’t be a surprise. Not an issue, of course, if the new guy Ze was posturing and will follow the same script as his predecessor. Hope that will not prove to be the case. We have a sane people deficit in politics and a sane one would be welcome.

    • Piotr Berman
      April 22, 2019 at 12:31

      Ze will be outright threatened with murder. Sanctions actually do not have that much bite, as a subject of “economic aid” Ukraine seems to be a bottomless pit, and the efficacy of aid is questionable at best, and by corollary, sanctions would not have a huge effect.

      However, the power of intimidation is considerable, and poor Ukraine is little bit like an unhappy village between front lines.

    • Martin - Swedish citizen
      April 22, 2019 at 14:22

      Time will tell. Because the government post Maidan has failed so miserably, Poroshenko was an impossible bet for the west this time. Maybe, they just choose Ze to continue the job? Hopefully, this is not the case.

Comments are closed.