In Ukraine, Trump Allies Are Corrupt Oligarchs, Russian Stooges

President Donald Trump is right about Ukraine in one respect: For many years, the country’s politics have been dominated by a complex and ugly struggle over corruption. The short version is this: An underdog movement of civil society activists, journalists and liberal legislators, with the sporadic support of Western governments, has battled oligarchs – many with connections to Russia or to organized crime – and the compromised government officials who protect them. More often than not, the reformers have lost. What Trump does not explain is that he and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, have sided with the bad guys in this struggle: the Russians, the oligarchs and the compromised officials. The false stories they tell about Joe Biden and other U.S. Democrats result from this misguided alliance. Giuliani has a record of doing business with Ukrainians close to Russia and to former President Viktor Yanukovych, a stooge of Russian President Vladimir Putin who, after being ousted by a popular uprising in 2014, was accused of looting millions of dollars. To obtain his concocted allegations of wrongdoing, Giuliani relied on two former Ukrainian state prosecutors, both of whom were enemies of the reform movement and were accused by Western officials of blocking anti-corruption investigations. Viktor Shokin, who was forced out of the job of general prosecutor in 2016 following an intervention by then-Vice President Joe Biden, told Giuliani that he had been investigating a Ukrainian gas company that had given a position on its board to Biden’s son Hunter. Giuliani then fed this story to right-wing media. What was left out of his account was that Biden’s intervention was part of a broad campaign by Ukrainian reformers, European governments and international financial institutions to oust Shokin, who was blocking prosecutions of…

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