Monday, January 18, 2010

Ukraine Candidates Relying on U.S. Advisers

Who runs the show in the Ukraine? It ain't Moscow.

Judging by the political consultants hired by Ukraine's presidential candidates, they all want to make sure they are connected with Washington. AP reports:

Ukraine's presidential election might tilt Ukraine's orientation away from the West, but leading candidates of all stripes have sought help from expensive U.S.-based political operatives.

Candidates have hired campaign consultants, lobbyists and public-relations firms with deep ties in Washington. With an interest to securing vital connections, the most prominent candidates have sought firms with ties to recent U.S. presidential candidates, including U.S. President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (both Democrats) and Republican Senator John McCain.

While some of the U.S. contracts are aimed at importing political expertise into a country with relatively little experience with campaigning in a democracy, the candidates also seem to want to show off their Washington connections to their constituents.

"Ukrainian politicians think it is crucial to cultivate an audience in Washington both for domestic political legitimacy and to facilitate their agenda," said Samuel
Charap, an analyst on the region at the Center for American Progress in Washington.

Pro-Russia candidate Viktor Yanukovych, whose Kremlin-backed election victory in 2004 was overturned by the Ukrainian Supreme Court amid street protests and allegations of fraud, has employed Paul Manafort, a Washington political strategist who helped McCain's 2008 presidential campaign and whose partner Rick Davis was McCain's campaign manager...

Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is considered Yanukovych's chief rival for the presidency and is more westward-leaning, has relied on media consulting firm
AKPD, which was founded by Obama's now chief-of-staff David Axelrod. Axelrod no
longer works for the firm.

President Viktor Yushchenko has been getting polling and advice from Clinton's campaign strategist Mark Penn, as well as the Kiev office of PBN, a Washington-based consulting company...

None of the firms would comment on their work, but their employment is
widely known in Washington and Kiev.

1 comment:

  1. Ha! Nobody runs the show in Ukraine. The show itself is like a 5am aftermath of a drug party -- with all kinds of human detritus on the floor, walls, and ceiling. The U.S. "advisers" (correctly called "handlers") were all over the place in 2004 -- the last time Ukraine had anything reminiscent of democracy. Since then it's been a political free fire zone, somewhat like a political Afganistan or Kongo. The "orange revolution" types taken over and completely destroyed all branches of power. The so-called president was publicly and repeatedly trampling the constitution, impersonating a sort of emperor, though powerless. The government was totally useless, ignoring the president, its own responsibilities, and the courts. The courts turned into a non-entity. And the parliament turned into a violent circus, with every major fraction sabotaging it each and every time they were not getting what they wanted. There was no point in voting -- the minority would simply sabotage any work, and that was modus operandi. The government couldn't get a budget, any budget. The parliament couldn't make any laws. The president just couldn't. The country has been without anyone running it since 2004. The only reason it's still in one piece is that the people lost any hope of getting rid of these people, and simply went on with their lives as best as they could. Oh, yeah, the democratic part: each and every time a minority doesn't want to accept the will of the people, they call any elections a "fraud", and demand another elections. I lost count how many times there were elections since 2004, it's just surreal. Anyway, now there are two big animals: the woman with a braid, and the other guy. The other guy it a reguar kind of politician, nothing special. The woman though is a political vampire literally hypnotizing people into doing what she wants them to. She'd use anyone and anything to get into the presidential seat, including any foreign players. She doesn't need their advice, but she sure did take their money. Still, she can't fool most of ukrainians any more, as the appallingresults of their rule are obvious to everyone inside the country, and anyone interested outside. She's way behind that other guy in the first round of presidential elections. Anything is possible, even another "revolution" (just a coup), but it looks like she's going to lose this election. Hopefuly then Ukraine will return to Earth from that dark hidden place where Sun never shines, where it spent the last 5 years.