May 2019: Ukraine Anti-Corruption President Elected
Ukraine from the date of its independence in 1991 has had five presidents. The political legacy of all was one of political intrigues, corruption, dancing to the tunes of oligarchs and foreign powers and devoid of any popular support from the long-suffering and impoverished Ukrainian people.
The present incumbent is 41 year old, Jewish born Volodymyr Zelensky, who before taking on the role of President on 20 May 2019 enjoyed a career in the entertainment industry including participation in a popular televised comic student-led quiz show the success of which provided him with public exposure as a comedian, actor and screenwriter.
In his campaign for the Presidency, he declined to align himself with any political policies in preference for popularist addresses to the public in which he said that he represented a fresh start for Ukraine and he would end the graft, criminal influence and power of corrupt politicians and oligarchs who illegally transferred the wealth of the nation to personal off-shore accounts and properties all over the world.
Aug 2019: Stewart McDonald MP for Glasgow South
Stewart McDonald’s interest in Ukraine and Russia is quite remarkable.
Until 2018, he showed little or no interest in the countries, but then, following an opaquely funded and organized jolly to Ukraine, he suddenly transformed into an ardent opponent of Moscow.
He also became a passionate supporter of the British establishment’s position on foreign policy.
Perhaps it was the chicken Kyiv that turned his head. But he was rewarded for his efforts with the presentation of the “Third Class of the Order of Merit of Ukrainian” award from President Zelensky for his significant personal contribution to strengthening the international prestige of Ukraine, the development of interstate cooperation and fruitful public activities.
Oct 2021: President Zelensky and the Pandora Papers
As the avatar of reform, Zelensky promised to take down the oligarchs with their untouchable offshore assets and break their magic walls of influence throughout the country.
But Some things never change in Ukrainian politics, where power brokers with offshore wealth hold the reins. The revelation that Zelensky has his own impregnable offshore assets of ambiguous legality is yet another blow to his already damaged reputation.
The 12 million files analyzed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed, among others, the international financial schemes of 38 highly placed Ukrainians, the most of any country.
The papers show that Zelensky and his friends set up their chain of offshore companies long before they ever considered going into politics.
When Zelensky was about to be elected president in 2019, he handed his share over to his closest adviser, Serhiy Shefir. But the papers revealed that under the arrangement, dividends would keep flowing to a company owned by Zelensky’s wife Olena.
Much of these assets went undeclared. What’s also troubling is that there’s also evidence that Zelensky’s offshore companies received payments from entities connected to Ihor Kolomoisky, the billionaire oligarch that airs Zelensky’s shows. Some of that money may have been stolen by Kolomoisky through PrivatBank from Ukrainians.
Thus far, Kolomoisky has faced no criminal charges in the $5.5 billion bank fraud that forced Ukraine to bail out the nation’s largest bank and take ownership in 2016, although he faces civil lawsuits and at least one criminal investigation in the U.S.
These revelations show that far from being different, Zelensky is a lot like his arch-rival, the oligarch and former President Petro Poroshenko, who was revealed to have a massive offshore network in the previous Panama Papers leak in 2016.
Zelensky is not dissimilar to other oligarchs he vowed to take down.