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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Yulia Tymoshenko - election? Hah! Corrupt capitalist nightmare

BBC: The pro-Western parties of Orange Revolution leaders Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko appear to have won a slim majority in Ukraine's election.
Exit polls suggest their combined vote gives them a slender advantage over Russian-leaning PM Viktor Yanukovych. He took 35.5% of the vote, with Ms Tymoshenko's bloc second on 31.5%, exit polls suggested. Mr Yushchenko, the president, won just 13.5%, but is now expected to enter coalition talks with Ms Tymoshenko.

Bulgarian News agency: According to unofficial results of the preliminary elections in Ukraine becomes clear that leading is the Party of Regions with about 36% followed by Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc with about 27,5% and the Bloc of Our Ukraine party with about 12,5%. Ukraine’s early preliminary elections are acknowledged although the Ukraine’s National Security Service confirmed buying votes cases. About 57,53% of the electorate took part in the parliamentary elections. In case of victory of Our Ukraine Bloc and Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc they must sign an agreement for democratic coalition again.

Pro-West party leads in Ukraine poll

CIA sponsored Orange coalition ahead in Ukraine... Election results expected soon (1.oct 2007)



In 1995 Yulia Tymoshenko became the president of "United Energy Systems of Ukraine" (UESU).

Remember Ahmed Chalabi finance-fraud criminal was supposed to become the saviour of Iraq? Yulia is a fraudster! Chalabi's bank-fraud seems small in comparision!

Her patron the former ukrainian PM Pavlo Lazarenko was convicted in the USA to have stolen and laundered 613 million IMF dollars. The Financial Times reports that Lazarenko received at least 72 mio in bribes from UESU for which he helped UESU become the biggest ENRON style private-tyranny.
At the time the boss of the ukrainian central bank was Yushchenko. The IMF later stated that he had systematically defrauded the International Monetary Fund.
He, like Yulia were never convicted of the crimes, they managed to present themselves as political prisoners.
After colouring her hair to a mythical blond and arranging it like a halo around head
the oligarch must be close to beatification.

In his book "Casino Moscow" (2001) Matthew Brzezinski tells us of his visit with the "11 billion dollar woman":

"...she was guarded by an entire platoon of ex-Soviet special forces bodyguards. She once sent a plane to collect Brzezinski from Moscow, fly him to Dnipropetrovsk to meet her for lunch, and drop him off back at Moscow in the evening. When Brzezinski said he didn't want to tie up the company plane, Tymoshenko said: "Don't worry. I have four of them." According to Brzezinski, as a result of Lazarenko's patronage, "Tymoshenko gained control over nearly 20% of Ukraine's gross national product, an enviable position that probably no other private company in the world could boast."

The first thing to examine when they are speaking of democracy is to see which democracy they (the US administration) are wanting to install.

In their mouths democracy is sounding as a real people’s democracy (no real intention from my part to write ‘popular’ democracy which is, as everybody knows, another body).

In fact a quick examination of the guys they are following and helping is showing these guys are attracted by the European model or wanting to evade an external influence. This is really evident in the Ukrainian case, where Yutschenko (married to an American woman) is politically binded to Yulia Timochenko, an Ukrainian billionaire, whose past was in business in Russian petroleum and gas. We have the oil and we have the democracy now. But is it really a democracy where the people in the street are having a word to say? Apparently yes, since the orange revolution, but we may not forget the river of money that flowed out of the pockets of Soros ‘s foundations as well as from American foundations (Freedom’s house directed by former CIA director Woosley, New Endowment for democracy known as a CIA relais since its implication in the Venezuelian coup d’état.

Up to now, the structure of Ukrainian power and democracy is based on some ploutocrat looking like a MAFIA mob. The difference with the former is that they are now a Western looking mob.


Yulia Tymoshenko founded and headed a Komsomol video rental chain (which grew to be quite successful), and later privatized it.

During privatization in Ukraine, which mirrored that in Russia in terms of corruption and mismanagement, she became one of the wealthiest oligarchs in Ukraine, exporting metals. From 1995 to 1997, Tymoshenko was the president of the United Energy Systems of Ukraine, a privately owned middleman company which became the main importer of Russian natural gas to Ukraine in 1996. During that time she was nicknamed "gas princess" in the light of accusations that she has been reselling enormous quantities of stolen gas and avoiding taxation of those deals.
In the business period of her life, Tymoshenko involved business relations (either co-operative or hostile) with many important figures of Ukraine, first of all, in Dnipropetrovsk. The list includes Pavlo Lazarenko, Viktor Pinchuk, Ihor Kolomoyskyi, Rinat Akhmetov, and, of course, Leonid Kuchma - the then-President originating from Dnipropetrovsk. As part of her gas-dealing business, Tymoshenko has also been closely linked to the management of the Russian Gazprom.

In 2005, Yulia Tymoshenko was openly called Jewish by Yevhen Chervonenko (one of the leaders of Jewish community)

Present private life

Yulia Tymoshenko is still married to Oleksandr Tymoshenko, although their marriage is sometimes perceived as a formal one. During the early years of her political career the two were parted for years when Mr. Tymoshenko was escaping arrest. The couple appear together very rarely. They have a daughter Yevhenia (born in 1980). Yevhenia graduated from a British university and now lives in Ukraine with her husband, rock-musician Sean Carr, who was born in Yorkshire, England, though he spent most of his childhood in Spain

From 1999 to 2001, Tymoshenko was the Deputy Prime Minister for fuel and energy sector in the cabinet of Viktor Yushchenko. She was fired by President Leonid Kuchma in January 2001 after developing a conflict with the oligarchs in the industry.

In February 2001, Tymoshenko was arrested on charges of forging customs documents and smuggling of gas between 1995 and 1997 (while president of United Energy Systems of Ukraine) but was released several weeks later. Her political supporters organized several protest rallies near the Lukyanivska Prison where she was held in custody. According to Tymoshenko, the charges were fabricated by Kuchma's regime, under the influence of oligarchs threatened by her efforts to root out corruption and institute market-based reforms. In spite of being cleared of the charges, Moscow maintained an arrest warrant for Tymoshenko should she enter Russia until her dismissal as Prime Minister over 4 years later.

Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko on stage during a political rally, November, 2004.

In addition, Tymoshenko's husband, Oleksandr, spent two years in hiding in order to avoid incarceration on charges the couple said were unfounded and politically motivated by the former Kuchma administration.

Once the charges were dropped, she became one of the leaders of street-level campaigns against President Kuchma for his alleged role in the murder of the journalist Georgi Gongadze. In this campaign, Tymoshenko first became known as a passionate revolutionary-like leader, an example of this being a TV broadcast of her smashing prison windows during one of the rallies.

The following year Tymoshenko was involved in a mysterious car accident that she survived with minor injuries—an episode some believe may have been a government assassination attempt.[5] During this time, she founded Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (Блок Юлії Тимошенко), a political bloc that received 7.2 percent of the vote in the 2002 parliamentary election. She is the head of the Batkivshchina (Fatherland) political party.

Tymoshenko's critics have suggested that, as an oligarch, she gained her fortune improperly. Some have speculated that her familiarity with the illegal conduct of business common in Ukraine uniquely qualifies her to combat corruption—if she is willing to do so. Her former business partner, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, has been convicted in the United States on charges of billions-worth money laundering, corruption and fraud.

On 28 January 2005, following the Orange Revolution, Ukrainian prosecutors agreed, and closed the cases against then Prime Minister Tymoshenko and her family members due to lack of evidence. These cases included Tymoshenko's husband and her father-in-law, Henadiy Tymoshenko. Oleksandr Tymoshenko returned to Ukraine soon after that.
Despite this questionable past, her transition from oligarch to reformer was believed by many to be both genuine and effective. As energy Deputy Prime Minister, she virtually ended many corrupt arrangements in the energy sector. Under her stewardship, Ukraine's revenue collections from the electricity industry grew by several thousand per cent. She scrapped the practice of barter in the electricity market, requiring industrial customers to pay for their electricity in cash. She also terminated exemptions for many organizations which excluded them from having their power disconnected. Her reforms meant that the government had sufficient funds to pay civil servants and increase salaries.

After the Orange Revolution

On 24 January 2005 she was appointed as acting Prime Minister of Ukraine under Yushchenko's presidency. On 4 February 2005, at 2:54 p.m. (Kiev), Yulia Tymoshenko was ratified by the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) by an overwhelming majority of 373 votes (226 were required for approval).

On 28 July 2005, Forbes magazine named her third most powerful woman in the world, behind only Condoleezza Rice and Wu Yi. However, in the magazine's new list published on 1 September 2006, Tymoshenko did not even make the top 100.

Several months into her government, numerous inner conflicts inside the post- Revolution coalition began to damage Ms. Tymoshenko's administration. On 8 September 2005, after the resignation of several senior officials including the Head of the Security and Defence Council Petro Poroshenko and Deputy Prime Minister Mykola Tomenko, Yulia Tymoshenko's government was dismissed by President Victor Yuschenko during a live TV address to the nation. She was succeeded by Yuriy Yehanurov. Later, the President criticized her work as head of the Cabinet, suggesting it had led to an economic slowdown and political conflicts within the ruling coalition.

2006 parliamentary election

After her dismissal Tymoshenko started to tour the country in a bid to win the 2006 Ukrainian parliamentary election as the leader of her Bloc. She soon announced that she wanted to return to the post of Prime Minister.

With the Bloc coming second in the election, and winning 129 seats, many speculated that she might form a coalition with Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party and the Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU) to prevent the Party of Regions from gaining power. Tymoshenko again reiterated her stance in regard to becoming Prime Minister. However, negotiations with Our Ukraine and SPU faced many difficulties as the various blocs scrapped over posts and engaged in counter-negotiations with other groupings.

On Wednesday June 21, 2006, the Ukrainian media reported that the parties had finally reached a coalition agreement, which appeared to have ended nearly three months of political uncertainty.

Tymoshenko's nomination and confirmation as new Prime Minister was expected to be straightforward. However, the nomination was preconditioned on an election of her long-term rival Petro Poroshenko from Our Ukraine as the speaker of the parliament. Within a few days after the coalition agreement had been signed, it became clear that the coalition members mistrusted each other, since they considered it to be a deviation from parliamentary procedures in order to hold a simultaneous vote on Poroshenko as the speaker and Tymoshenko as Prime Minister.

To aggravate matters, opposition members from the Party of Regions blocked the parliament from Thursday, June 29 through Thursday, July 6. The Party of Regions announced an ultimatum to the coalition, demanding that the parliamentary procedures be observed, asking membership in parliamentary committees to be allocated in proportion to seats held by each fraction, chairmanship in certain Parliamentary committees as well as Governorships in the administrative subdivisions won by the Party of Regions. The coalition agreement deprived the Party of Regions and the communists of any representation in the executive and leadership in parliamentary committees [4] while in the local regional counsils won by the Party of Regions, the coalition parties were locked out of all committees as well.

Following a surprise nomination of Oleksandr Moroz from SPU as the Rada speaker and his subsequent election late on July 6 with the support of the Party of Regions, the "Orange coalition" collapsed. After the creation of a large coalition of majority, led by the former prime minister Viktor Yanukovych and composed of the Party of Regions, Socialists and Communists, Viktor Yanukovych became Prime Minister, and the other two parties were left in the wilderness. Whilst Tymoshenko immediately announced that her political force would form a shadow cabinet to the current government, Our Ukraine stalled until October 4 2006, when it too joined the opposition.[9]

2007 Foreign Affairs article

Tymoshenko wrote an article called "Containing Russia" in the May-June 2007 edition of the journal Foreign Affairs. In the article she sharply criticized alleged authoritarian developments under Vladimir Putin and opposed the alleged new Russian expansionism. Consequently, the article irked Russia and more than a week before the article was published, Russia responded to the article, calling it an "anti-Russian manifesto" and "an attempt to once again draw dividing lines in Europe."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov wrote an article called "Containing Russia: Back To The Future?" in the same journal and was apparently meant to be a response to Tymoshenko. He withdrew the article before publication, accusing the editors of changing his text and said his article was subjected to "censorship"

Political and economic processes in Ukraine continue to attract the attention of European and international organisations. Along with the Council of Europe's dissatisfaction with Ukraine's planned 16 April referendum, the IMF still has doubts about the proper use of its loans by the Ukrainian government. An international audit of the National Bank of Ukraine was launched earlier this year after the publication of an article in the Financial Times (28 January 2000) concerning the misuse of IMF funds in the period between December 1997 to January 1998. In the article, the Financial Times relied on the statement of Pavlo Lazarenko, former Ukrainian prime minister, who said that USD 613 million of IMF funds were transferred by the National Bank of Ukraine in December 1997 and invested in risky enterprises.

Although on 7 March, the Ukrainian central bank was ready to report that the newspaper's allegations had not been confirmed, the IMF's recent investigation in Kyiv proved to be only the first part of a complete audit. Almost at the same time that the IMF preliminary investigation was finished, the World Bank launched a second audit of the Ukrainian Finance Ministry concerning its loans to Ukraine since 1994. Explaining their action, the World Bank's representatives say that they are almost sure of the proper use of World Bank funds, however, "the World Bank wants 'to take advantage' of the ongoing audit to check its own loans, too," Radio Free Europe reported.

For its part, the Council of Europe has kept an eye to Ukraine's final decision concerning the legitimacy of the 16 April referendum [See this week's accompanying article for more on the referendum issue]. This week, the monitoring committee of the Council, following a meeting in Paris, adopted preliminary recommendations on this issue and asked Kyiv to cancel the referendum. The decision was made following the speech of Hanne Severinsen, Council of Europe's commissioner, who recently came back from Kyiv. The Council of Europe does not agree with Ukraine's intent to make changes in its Constitution by means of referendum nor with the nature of the referendum. Although the organisation is still awaiting the result of its Venetian commission, its disapproval seems clear enough.

The Yushchenko Mythos

Don't believe the U.S. government's fairy tale about what's happening in Ukraine
by Justin Raimondo

According to the U.S. government, and commentators on the left as well as the (neoconservative) right, the crisis in the Ukraine is a clear-cut case of "democracy" versus authoritarianism, "the people" versus "the oligarchs," and the forces of enlightened Europhilia up against the sinister specter of a resurgent Russia and a revivified KGB.

The only problem with this narrative is that it is unmitigated bunk.

Let's start with the central figures in this drama: the two Viktors – Yushchenko and Yanukovich. To begin with, you'll note that the former has a website in English, while the latter's site is only in the native Ukrainian and Russian. Yushchenko's audience is primarily the West, while Yanukovich is speaking to his own people. Right off the bat, the line of demarcation is drawn.

According to the conventional wisdom, Yanukovich is a dark demonic figure, a Soviet-type bureaucrat whose ties to Russia and the eastern power base of the ruling elite, automatically make him the bad guy. Besides that, we are told, Yanukovich is a man with a "criminal record," who served two jail terms. What they don't tell you is that Yanukovich was jailed by the Soviet regime on charges of robbery and assault. As the Los Angeles Times noted:

"A biography distributed on behalf of Yanukovich says that 'having suffered through a very tragic and tough childhood . . . the prime minister acknowledges regrettable youthful indiscretions, resulting in criminal charges that were eventually overturned by a Ukrainian court.'"

On the other hand, Yushchenko's indiscretions – which are not being reported in the Western media at all – were neither youthful nor the occasion for his public repentance. And if a youthful Yanukovich held up a Ukrainian gas station or knocked someone upside the head and took his wallet, Yushchenko was a key figure in a conspiracy to defraud the West of over $600 million.

The idea that Yushchenko is some kind of outsider, whose victory will cause the fresh winds of free-market reform to blow through the sealed chamber of corruption that is the Ukrainian economy is another Western fairy tale that has no basis in reality. Yushie is a key figure in the oligarchic system of "crony capitalism" that has enriched the few at the expense of the many since the fall of the USSR. He rose to power – as head of the Ukrainian central bank through a good deal of the 1990s, and then as prime minister in the thuggish Leonid Kuchma's government in 1999 – on account of the power of the oligarchs. These "entrepreneurs" who made their fortunes on the strength of their connections to the Communist apparatus control the commanding heights of the Ukrainian economy, and what is happening today in the Ukraine is a civil war involving the various oligarchic clans. As a Carnegie study of the Ukrainian political landscape by Anders Aslund puts it:

"In Russia, the financial-industrial groups provide financing to various parties and to the government. In Ukraine, the economic-political groups rather tend to own political parties. Lazarenko and Timoshenko created the parliamentary party Hromada, as a company party of the Unified Energy Systems. Vadim Rabinovich has reportedly 'bought' the Green Party. Surkis and Medevedchuk reportedly own the United Social Democratic Party. However, Bakai, Pinchuk and the Franchuks support Kuchma directly and possibly his party the National-Democratic Party. Characteristically, all these oligarchic parties are considered centrist, that is, always prepared to make a deal without any real ideology."

Yushchenko is a creature of this system, and his tenure at the National Bank of the Ukraine was marked by the corruption so characteristic of the political culture: a scandal involving falsification of the country's credit ledger – essentially lying to the International Monetary Fund about the quantity of Ukrainian cash reserves. As the Financial Times reports:

"Under his control, the bank was involved in a damaging row with the International Monetary Fund over the use of IMF loans to falsify the country's credit position - allowing some politicians, but not Mr Yushchenko, to benefit personally. He survived the ensuing scandal."

A PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) audit confirmed the suspicions of IMF officials that Western lenders have been systematically deceived by Yushchenko's NBU:

"By giving a misleading impression of the size of Ukraine's reserves, the NBU's reserve management practices may have allowed Ukraine to receive as many as three disbursements under the stand-by arrangement in effect at that time that it might not otherwise have been able to obtain. … The three disbursements in question that would have been affected by the transactions examined in the PwC report were based on October, November, and December 1997 figures. They total SDR 145 million (about US$200 million)."

What happened to all that money? Pavlo Lazarenko knows, and he hasn't been shy about telling us what he knows. But is anybody listening?

According to Lazarenko – formerly prime minister, and a key figure in the oligarchy – $613 million of the IMF's money was embezzled and then laundered in December 1997. Like many other Soviet era bureaucrats, Lazarenko took advantage of the extensive network of overseas secret accounts established by the nomenklatura once the old Soviet Union started to unravel. With state funds secreted abroad, the oligarchs bought up the remnants of the old state industries, and divided the economic assets among themselves. Lazarenko was the chief patron of one of Yushchenko's biggest supporters, Yuliya Timoshenko of the United Energy Systems of the Ukraine (UESU), who made fantastic profits at a time of economic recession. However, Ms. Timoshenko, and her fellow oligarchs, as Alexander's Gas & Oil Connections explains,

"Could realize these profits only with the help of state support. … The amount of money involved has been highlighted by the Lazarenko affair. According to a report by the Financial Times, Pavlo Lazarenko, who was Ukraine's prime minister in 1996-97, received at least $ 72 mm in bribe money from gas importer UESU. In return, Lazarenko helped UESU to become one of Ukraine's leading companies with an annual turnover of $ 10 billion."

"When Lazarenko was sacked as prime minister, his successor Valery Pustovoitenko started a comprehensive investigation into the business of UESU, which led to the first accusations. In December of 1998, Lazarenko was arrested in Switzerland on charges of money laundering. He fled to the United States, where he was again arrested and charged with the laundering of $ 114 mm received as bribe money during his time in office.

"This June, while still being held in the United States, Lazarenko was sentenced for money laundering in Switzerland. Yuliya Timoshenko, who was president of UESU when Lazarenko was prime minister, has so far avoided criminal prosecution. In 1997, she left the company and went into politics."

Ms. Timoshenko went on to become a deputy prime minister, in 1999, with special authority over energy matters. Her husband, still a member of the board of UESU, was arrested on charges of embezzlement of state property. Ms. Timoshenko, too, was arrested, and – after much posing and posturing as a "political prisoner" – was freed.

It is entirely appropriate that the "gas princess," as Ms. Timoshenko is known, should become the La Passionaria of Ukraine's phony "velvet revolution." As she leaps atop the stage at the massive rallies taking place in the middle of Kiev, she speaks with Amazonian forcefulness and the authority of someone used to being obeyed, as The Australian reports:

"'Form a column and come with us to the presidency,' she shouted to a crowd on Wednesday. 'Once we arrive at the presidency, we won't leave until Yushchenko enters it as the new Ukrainian president and occupies his post.'"

The Lazarenko-Timoshenko wing of the oligarchy is naturally grateful to Yushie – after all, he fronted for them in bilking the IMF. Now they are paying him back with their fulsome support. This isn't the struggle of valiant pro-Western "democrats" versus sinister pro-Russian neo-communists: Timoshenko's histrionics represent a falling out among thieves.

In any case, from the Gas Princess to the Boadicea of the "democracy" movement in Ukraine is a fanciful transformation, at best, but Western propagandists are counting on the American public's ignorance of the Ukrainian scene to pull off one of the biggest frauds since the selling of convicted embezzler Ahmed Chalabi as the Iraqi George Washington.

Few remember now that one of the alleged economic benefits of the "cakewalk" war was supposed to have been a huge drop in the price of oil: Iraq would be pumping as much and as fast as required by Washington, and the profits were going to finance the reconstruction. Well, that didn't exactly work out, now did it? So our grand strategists in Washington have turned to the legendary Caspian "Silk Road" to oil riches, reviving the dream of a Trans-Caucasian oil pipeline that will fill the gas tanks of Europe, bring down prices rapidly – and hand over control of much of the world's hydrocarbons to U.S. corporate interests and their allies.

Forget all this melodramatic folderol about Ukraine's "orange revolution" – and follow the money. The mythologizing of the Ukrainian "democratic" opposition serves certain Western economic interests, as John Laughland has pointed out:

"Efforts are being redoubled to crank into action the various pipelines which are supposed to transport Caspian oil to Western markets. One of these is the Brody pipeline which runs between the Ukrainian town of that name and the Black Sea port of Odessa (a Russian city but also in Ukraine). The Brody pipeline was initially supposed to take US-controlled Caspian oil to Western markets, but it has instead been pumping Russia oil, something the Americans do not like.

"So the New World Order strategists are determined to put their man in control of Ukraine, at the presidential election on 31st October. Huge influence, and presumably money, is being pumped in to ensure a victory for Victor Yushchenko. Paul Wolfowitz said in Warsaw on 5th October that Ukraine should join NATO. Mark Brzezinski and Richard Holbrooke have rattled their sabers over Ukraine, and Anders Aslund, the architect of Yelstin's mass larceny, has eloquently outlined the West's strategic interest in that country.

"These national strategic interests are, as ever, supported by the private interests of the powerful people lobbying for this new anti-Putin policy. They include people like David Owen and Jacob Rothschild: the former is Yukos' representative in Britain, the latter put up much of Khodorkovsky's original money, and sits (together with Henry Kissinger) on the board of the Open Russia Foundation, a Yukos front. They also include Anders Aslund, one of the signatories of the AEI's Open Letter, who works for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which is funded by Yukos, Conoco Phillips – the strategic ally of Chevron, on whose board Condoleezza Rice sat for many years – has recently announced a "strategic alliance" with Lukoil, the second largest private oil company in the world, and Conoco Phillips is said to want a controlling stake in the Russian company. Before Khodorkovsky's arrest, indeed, it was said that he wanted to sell Yukos to an American company."

The bottom line is that our oligarchs have allied with a faction of Ukrainian oligarchs, who have agreed to add Ukraine to the European Union, sabotage the free trade zone recently established between the pro-Russian nations of the former Soviet Union, and, most important of all, join NATO. The Yushchenko-Timoshenko forces want to align with Georgia, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Moldova (the other nations in the GUUAM configuration of junior league NATO aspirants) in erecting a ring of iron around Putin and the former Soviet Union. U.S. troops are already in Georgia, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. How long before they are in Kiev, training "President" Yushchenko's NATO-ized military in the use of American equipment – and advising a spiffed-up Ukrainian military within striking distance of the Kremlin?

After all, as Jonathan Steele points out in the Guardian, American "advisors" have been directing and funding the entire Yushchenko operation, just as they did in the former Yugoslavia, with money pouring in not only from the U.S. Treasury but also from billionaire George Soros, who has his own interests in Ukraine and the former Soviet Union. According to the Ukrainian Center for Political and Economic Research (UCPER), a poll of the mostly pro-Yushchenko Ukrainian NGOs reveals that foreign sponsors pick up 60 percent of the tab, including:

"'Vidrodzhenya' (Revival) sponsored by George Soros - 36.3%, 'Freedom House' (the U.S.) - 22.7%, 'Poland-America-Ukraine Cooperation Initiative' - 22.7%, USAID - 22.7%, National Endowment for Democracy (the U.S.) - 18.2%, the World Bank - 13.6% (the total percentage exceeding 100%, since the respondents often named several sponsors)."

Ms. Timoshenko, who boasts of having a fleet of six jets at her disposal, no doubt picks up the rest.

We are being sold a bill of goods, and, upon close inspection, they turn out to be pretty darn shoddy. Yushchenko is no more the "democratic" savior of Ukraine than the Gas Princess is a paragon of idealism and Western-style "free-market" reform. Like Yushie, the Robber Baroness of crony capitalism is a symbol, not of "democracy," but of the gullibility of Western public opinion when faced with a slick public-relations campaign – and a compliant media that goes for attractive narratives which mesh neatly with their ideological presumptions.

The complex web of lies that make up the Yushchenko mythos requires extensive debunking, and one could write a good-sized book on the subject, but a matter that needs to be cleared up at once is the story about Yushchenko's alleged "poisoning" – presumably at the hands of the KGB. The internet is filled with before-and-after pictures of the once-handsome Yushie: the sight of his puffy and ravaged face, pitted with unappetizing pustules, is not a pretty sight to see. But what is the evidence that he's been poisoned by the pro-Yanukovich forces? There is none. As the New York Times reported on September 29 :

"An Austrian hospital that recently treated Viktor A. Yushchenko, the Ukrainian presidential candidate and opposition leader, said Tuesday that accusations that he had been poisoned were baseless."

The hospital's announcement was the occasion for death threats directed at the team of doctors involved, and the staff wisely retreated to a position of official agnosticism on the question of what caused Yushchenko's transformation from a prince into a toad. After all, a member of the Ukrainian parliament who served on a commission investigating the incident, and who had publicly dismissed the idea of Yushchenko's "poisoning," had a land mine placed outside his home.

The "poisoning" of Yushchenko is a cock-and-bull story. As a news story in the Globe and Mail pointed out:

"The problem for conspiracy theorists is that a variety of standard laboratory tests should have turned up signs of such drugs in blood, hair or tissue samples in relatively short order."

Not that they are letting a few facts get in the way. Propaganda doesn't require facts – only a gullible public and constant repetition. If these techniques are all-too-familiar, then they ought to be: isn't this how we got bamboozled into the Iraqi quagmire, buying into a narrative of "heroic" "pro-democracy" dissidents pushing back the frontiers of liberty, with the U.S. by their side?

As the worst president ever once put it:

"There's an old saying in Tennessee – I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee – that says, fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can't get fooled again."

The neocons are letting the Arab quagmire simmer, hoping that the Iraqi insurgency can be tamped down with the assistance of a Shi'ite majority government supported by the mainstream clerics and propped up by a growing indigenous military force acting in tandem with less-visible U.S. forces, a plan of dubious prospects. In any event, the Ukrainian events have given them the opportunity to move on another front while movement in the Iraqi theater is seemingly stalled.

The campaign against Vladimir Putin as the latest incarnation of Stalin has been going on for quite some time, its most recent crescendo having been reached with a neocon publicity campaign on behalf of "poor little Chechnya," as well as complaints about the uniformity of opinion in the Russian media – this, coming from the same crowd who regularly denounce the supposedly "antiwar" media as a "fifth column"! But fronting for the Chechens is another kind of hypocrisy altogether. That they are willing to bloc with Islamist terrorists allied with Osama bin Laden against Putin, and Russia, underscores their determination in pursuit of their latest victim. Russia is the latest front in what the more perfervid neocons call "World War IV," and Ukraine is the first battlefield, but not likely to be the last. John Laughland put it well:

"Chechnya borders Georgia, and Georgia, like Azerbaijan, is on the fast track to join NATO. There are already hundreds of US troops in Georgia, training the local forces. They are there for two reasons: first, to protect the US-built Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline; secondly – and this follows from the first – to assist Georgia in recuperating her two secessionist territories, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. It will not do to have Russia anywhere close to the pipeline, and she has troops in both these areas. Pushing Russia comprehensively out of the Caucasus, and humiliating her, requires victory for the Chechens. An independent Chechnya may also be the prelude to the longer-term break-up of Russia herself: the CIA predicted that oil-rich Siberia might escape Moscow's control in its report, Global Trends 2015, published in April."

Russia, the Middle East, the Trans-Caucasus, and even China – there is no limit to the ambition of the neocons, which surpasses the dreams of Alexander – and the hubris of Icarus.

I might add that the true politics of the "liberal" opposition are revealed in their response to the prospect that the eastern pro-Yanukovich portion of the country (which is far richer, and more industrialized, than the western region) might secede. Already the Easterners – culturally and temperamentally close to our "red" states – are holding assemblies in major cities calling for autonomy. The reaction from Yushchenko:

"Those who are calling for separatism are committing crimes and will definitely receive severe punishment."

Thugs always revert to form. The prince becomes a toad – and, no, I seriously doubt that Yushie's physical deterioration has anything to do with a nefarious plot by Putin's KGB against his good looks. Instead, let me suggest an alternative theory, one not contradicted by expert medical testimony – and the account of a parliamentary inquiry – and it is this: perhaps the Faustian deal that Yushchenko made with the U.S. government has taken its toll, and, as in the dramatic climax of Oscar Wilde's famous tale, "The Picture of Dorian Grey," his sins are being visited on his once-handsome visage, ravaging it – and revealing his inner soul.

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