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Author of article denies ghostwriting for Manafort...also contains a copy of
Copy of Article
Editor’s Note: The following op-ed submitted to Kyiv Post deputy chief editor
Olga Rudenko on Dec. 4 has triggered controversy after U.S. Special Counsel
Robert Mueller, who is investigating U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s ties to
Russia, accused former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort of ghostwriting the
to help influence the criminal case against him. If Manafort did so, it would
be a violation of a court order prohibiting Manafort from trying the case in
the press, according to prosecutors. Bloomberg’s Stephanie
reported on Dec. 5 that Mueller is now seeking to deny Manafort’s bid for
freedom from house arrest before his trial because of the editorial. Manafort
is charged with conspiracy to launder money and acting as an unregistered agent
for Ukraine. Voloshin told the Kyiv Post that he wrote the op-ed himself,
sending it only to Konstantin Kilimnik, a long time associate of Manafort in
Ukraine, and Manafort for fact-checking. “It is totally mine,” Voloshin said.
“Paul has absolutely nothing to do with it. Eighteen months ago I gave comments
along same lines to the Guardian.
I was just annoyed at a McClatchy
that falsely claimed Manafort had derailed Association Agreement with the
European Union. The fact it was meant for the Kyiv Post only proves there was
no intervention on behalf of Paul. It is rather difficult to influence U.S.
public opinion with publication in Ukraine. As a native speaker, you can easily
identify that the text was penned by a non-native speaker. So it has nothing to
do with editing or writing by Paul or any other American.” The op-ed was
submitted to the Kyiv Post by Irina Milinevskaya, an ex-Inter TV executive, now
working for the 43-member Opposition Bloc, which includes many members of the
now-defunct Party of Regions led by the exiled Yanukovych.
The European Union – Ukraine Association Agreement might have never appeared
but for a person now falsely accused of lobbying Russian interests.
The night of March 4, 2010, turned out to be a nervous one for the staff of
Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow where I used to be a press attaché.
The first visit to Russia of newly elected President Viktor Yanukovych was on
the brink of cancellation. The Kremlin wouldn’t grant the already scheduled
visit an official status. Russian state media also canceled earlier agreed
interviews with members of the Yanukovych team. The explanation was rather
simple although possibly unusual for contemporary observers who had a mistaken
and simplified perception of the fourth Ukrainian president: The Russian
leadership was annoyed at Yanukovych’s decision to pay his first visit after
inauguration to Brussels before heading to Moscow.
Even Viktor Yushchenko, upon taking office as Ukraine’s third president in
2005, did the opposite. There was one person the Russians blamed for this
“treason of special relationship with brother nation”: the political consultant
to Yanukovych, American strategist Paul Manafort. Manafort persuaded Yanukovych
that going first to Brussels would demonstrate to all that, as president,
Yanukovych intended to bring the changes required to allow Ukraine to apply for
formal membership in the EU.
Manafort brought to the Ukrainian political consultancy business a very
important rule: An effective leader needs to be consistent as a president with
his promises as a candidate. In his presidential campaign, Yanukovych made it
clear that it was important for Ukraine to maintain its historical and cultural
relationship with Russia. However, Yanukovych had also promised to implement
the changes that would begin the modernization of Ukraine that would be
necessary for Ukraine to become a part of the EU. The Brussels trip sent this
signal loudly and clearly to all – including Russia.
I can’t but stipulate that Yanukovych was a bad president and crook who by the
end of his rule had effectively lost credibility even of his staunchest
supporters. And he finally betrayed them and fled to Russia only to see Ukraine
fall into the hands of other kleptocrats now disguised as hooray-patriots and
nationalists. But with all that said one shouldn’t ignore the fact that Ukraine
under Yanukovych made a number of major steps towards the EU and the West in
general. And that Manafort was among those who made those paradoxical
It was that period when Ukraine finally met U.S. requirements to get rid of the
stocks of highly enriched uranium that could have potentially been used to
produce nuclear weapons. Ukraine used to be the only non-NATO nation that took
part in all peace-keeping and anti-terrorist operations of the Alliance
With an eye towards 2015, the Yanukovych government – to the surprise of so
many in Moscow – managed to negotiate with the EU a huge list of terms for the
Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, known as the DCFTA. No other
nation had accomplished this task over such a brief period of time.
Yanukovych’s government had the Association Agreement initialed by March 2012.
This pace shocked Moscow.
This sense of commitment to the goal is actually the reason why Russia
overreacted in the summer 2013 and imposed the trade blockade with Ukraine.
Following the European track created multiple challenges that would never have
been solved by a Ukraine government except for the consistent promotion of what
had to be done by Manafort.
Legislation such as the Criminal Administrative Code, built on fundamentally
new principles consistent with the Western practices and lauded by the Western
institutions is one of the vivid examples.
Even at the end of the process, Manafort was engaged in helping the Europeans
and the Ukrainians negotiate the final terms.
Just three months before the summit it was the EU, not Yanukovych, who
hesitated whether to sign the document or not. And Manafort contributed a lot
to change of mood in Brussels and major European capitals while at the same
time keeping Ukraine focused on finalizing the details of the DCFTA and
Association Agreement. He was doing this while Russia was imposing the trade
embargo and threatening even more drastic punishment to discourage Yanukovych
from getting into DCFTA with the EU.
With all that said I can only wonder why some American media dare falsely claim
that Paul Manafort lobbied Russian interests in Ukraine and torpedoed the
Association Agreement signing. Without his input, Ukraine would not have had
the command focus on reforms that were required to be a nation-candidate to the
All listed here facts can be easily verified. If only one pursues the truth,
not ends to twist the reality in line with his or her conviction that the
dubious goal of undermining Trump’s presidency, justifies most dishonest means.
Oleg Voloshin was a spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine
under ex-Foreign Minister Konstantin Grishchenko, who served from 2010-2012,
during the president of Viktor Yanukovych, ousted by the EuroMaidan Revolution