With the landslide victory of Volodymyr Zelensky, who won 73 percent of the vote, the comedian will become the president of Ukraine. Understanding how this occurred becomes easy when people review US government documents published by WikiLeaks about the outgoing president.
Who is “OU”? Our Ukraine. In a classified diplomatic cable from 2006 released by WikiLeaks.org, U.S. officials refer to Poroshenko as “Our Ukraine (OU) insider Petro Poroshenko.” “Our Ukraine” has been in the pocket of the US government for 13 years.
The US government knew he was corrupt. A separate cable also 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.” The US government knew he was corrupt, but allowing his corruption was a price the US was willing to pay to have Our Ukraine serving as president.
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. The memo describes the Tymoshenko-Poroshenko relationship writing, “there is a thin line between love and hate,” and describing how “Tymoshenko and Poroshenko might appear in public, shake hands, agree to ‘do business’ together” but a coalition between them was unlikely to last.
Joe Biden, who is expected to announce a run for president, is emblematic of the corruption of the US in Ukraine. WikiLeaks reports, Biden pledged US financial and technical assistance to Ukraine for “unconventional” gas resources (i.e. fracking). And, not only was his son Hunter put on the board of the largest private gas company in Ukraine (along with a longtime Kerry family friend and financier) but when that gas company was threatened with investigation, with video cameras rolling, Biden described how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro 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 US 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
Now the two pro-US 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 US 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 US 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 US knew about OU, and thanks to WikiLeaks should not be a surprise to anyone.
Kevin Zeese co-directs Popular Resistance. This article first appeared as the weekly newsletter of the organization.