Jan 25, 2021
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Biden’s Revenge: “Russian agents” in Kiev punished for meddling in the US presidential election

Photo: the building of the US Treasury Department in Washington

Pictured: the building of the US Treasury Department in Washington DC (Photo: Zuma / TASS)

Newly minted US President Joe Biden just took office, and his enemies on another continent already felt that the “wind of change” was blowing from across the ocean. Moreover, the enemies were found in an unusual place – where it is customary to be friends with the Americans. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions against seven Ukrainian citizens. Among them there is also a current deputy of the Verkhovna Rada from the pro-presidential party “Servant of the People”, which is why he personally found himself in an unpleasant situation Zelensky… But first things first.

The key figure in this scandal is the non-factional people’s deputy Andrey Derkach, one of the old-timers of the Ukrainian parliament. It was he who, since 2017, has been actively promoting the topic of official Kiev’s interference in the US presidential elections on the side Hillary Clinton… According to his statement, the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine even started official criminal proceedings, which, however, never reached the court. And shortly before the 2020 elections, Derkach began to “leak” the scandalous recordings of telephone conversations of the ex-President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko with then-Vice President of the United States Joe Biden and presented the whole “map of international corruption” that the US Democratic Party covers.

The Derkach tapes did not have a noticeable impact on the course of the presidential campaign overseas. The American media affiliated with the Democrats (and there are almost no others left there) preferred not to notice the sensational details of the telephone conversations between Poroshenko and Biden. But the US Treasury paid attention to them – in September last year, it imposed sanctions against the Ukrainian deputy. The decision was commented personally by the Minister of Finance Stephen Mnuchin: “Andrei Derkach and other Russian agents use manipulation and deception to try to influence elections in the US and other countries around the world.”

So the debunker of Biden’s corruption in Ukraine turned out to be “Kremlin canned food”. He once studied at the Academy of the Ministry of Security of the Russian Federation. Isn’t that enough to hang on him the stigma of an “active Russian agent” who for many years kept in touch with the intelligence services of a neighboring country and was waiting in the wings?

Derkach reacted to the news about the sanctions very belligerently: “I will go to the press conference with new, shocking facts of exposing“ democratic corruption ”…

“Democratic corruption” is very afraid. Because every word that will be voiced by me is supported by numbers, documents and interesting notes. “

A new portion of Derkach tapes followed, but the result was again zero. The Ukrainian authorities decided not to interfere in the showdown of the big bosses from Washington (as it turned out, they did the right thing), the Democrats successfully hushed up incriminating information about their presidential candidate.

However, this compromising material did not “shoot” for objective reasons either. In 2020, American attention was focused on other topics. Against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, the economic crisis and the protests of the black population, the news about Biden’s corruption deeds in distant Ukraine was simply lost.

Today, nobody remembers the “Derkach tapes”. Except for the US Treasury. Already after the victory of Biden and the storming of the Capitol, which turned out to be the final defeat for the “Trumpomists”, the Office for the Control of Foreign Assets introduced new sanctions against Ukrainian citizens.

There were seven individuals and four legal entities on the “death list”. All of them are allegedly part of a single mechanism – “a network of foreign influence connected with Russia.”

The prosecutor Konstantin Kulik “Entered into an alliance with Derkach to spread false accusations of international corruption”, ex-deputy Alexander Onishchenko “Provided edited audio copies of alleged audio recordings of conversations between former Ukrainian and American officials,” the diplomat Andrey Telizhenko “Arranged for Derkach to meet with individuals in the US who help spread false statements about corruption in Ukraine.”

Three more persons on this list – Petr Zhuravel, Dmitry Kovalchuk and Anton Symonenko – the characters are little known, but this did not prevent them from getting into the “Derkach team”, sharing his sad fate. “All of the property of these people under US jurisdiction is blocked, and US people are generally prohibited from transacting with them. In addition, any organization that is 50 percent or more owned by one or more of the specified persons is also blocked, “the official website of the US Treasury Department says.

Undoubtedly the most interesting name on the sanctions list is Dubinsky… The same Dubinsky, who is the current deputy of the Verkhovna Rada from the “Servant of the People” and the main conductor of the interests of the oligarch Igor Kolomoisky… This is fraught with serious consequences for the office of the President of Ukraine.

Zelensky could safely ignore the sanctions against the rest of the Derkach team. All of them are “former”: former diplomat Telizhenko, former prosecutor Kulik, former deputy Onishchenko. The latter is generally hiding from the Ukrainian justice on corruption charges. Derkach himself, although he is the current People’s Deputy, has nothing to do with the “Servant of the People”. Dubinsky, by contrast, is one of the most recognizable and influential representatives of the presidential party. His statements often diverge or even contradict the official position of the authorities. For this it is customary to expel ordinary deputies from the faction in disgrace. But nobody touches the informal leader of the Kolomoisky group. As in the old film: “Who will put him in prison? He’s a monument! “

Dubinsky himself, by the way, could have “filed for divorce” from the president’s office. He has enough political weight to create his own party and win over some of the Servant of the People voters. However, the role of the dissident in Zelensky’s team is still satisfying

The relationship between the head of state and the oligarch who helped him win the 2019 elections can be called even today. Kolomoisky is not ready to go on a frontal attack in order to push Western partners and other financial and industrial groups (in particular, Rinat Akhmetova, which significantly strengthened its position after the resignation of the government Alexey Goncharuk). Zelensky is not ready to “dispossess” one of the richest people in the country. His presidency is an endless attempt to find a balance between external and internal centers of power. And it’s getting harder to balance.

Kolomoisky has a difficult relationship with the Americans, to put it mildly. Overseas have long been investigating his financial frauds related to the withdrawal of funds from Privatbank, the acquisition of real estate etc. On New Year’s Eve, the US Department of Justice filed another lawsuit for the confiscation of the property of Kolomoisky and his business partner Gennady Bogolyubov in Cleveland, Ohio. Now the Ministry of Finance is introducing personal sanctions against a person who is considered a “pocket” politician of Kolomoisky.

The Ze-team was clearly at a loss. Advisor to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Mikhail Podolyak said that Zelensky personally should not react to this situation – let the leadership of the Servant of the People faction figure it out. But his boss Andrey Ermak differently put accents: “For clarity – regardless of party affiliation, this administration will do everything in its power to bring to justice those responsible for interfering in the US elections.”

The wording “regardless of party affiliation” is an unambiguous allusion to Dubinsky. Does this mean that the President of Ukraine is ready to go into open conflict with the Privat group, which has entrenched itself in the Servant of the People party? Everything will depend on the further development of events. If this attack is limited to the sanctions of the US Treasury, then Zelensky will not make any sudden movements. But it is possible that the Biden administration is seriously determined to turn Kolomoisky into a second Firtash, who has been fighting for his freedom for many years. Or even the second Pavel Lazarenko… Then the President of Ukraine will find himself between a rock and a hard place.

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