Wednesday, September 22, 2004

State-Sponsored Terrorism

Excerpt from The Jamestown Foundation
Wednesday, September 22 -- Volume 1, Issue 90


Leading opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko is the target of a range of dirty tricks intended to defeat his bid to succeed Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. As Russian political commentator Andrei Piontkovsky wrote in Ukrayinska pravda on September 10, "The basic strategy of the outside political image makers is aimed mostly at the Russian population of Ukraine, to portray Yushchenko as a Russophobe and Ukrainian nationalist and to provoke an ethnic split in Ukrainian society."

Russian "political technologists" (a combination of political lobbyists and dirty tricksters), with close links to Russian President Vladimir Putin, have been very active in Ukraine's presidential campaign. Many of the dirty tricks originated with Gleb Pavlovsky, Maraty Gelman, and their Effective Policy Foundation (EPF), which works on behalf of Presidential Administration chief Viktor Medvedchuk.

This month Pavlovsky opened a public front in Kyiv for his secret EPF activities, the Russian Club. Both the Russian ambassador to Ukraine, Viktor Chernomyrdin, and Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych attended the club's opening.

Pavlovsky and Gelman's work on behalf of the Ukrainian Presidential Administration is based on long-standing ties with its head, Viktor Medvedchuk. Medvedchuk leads the Kyiv oligarch clan's Social Democratic United Party (SDPUo), which has worked closely with the EPF since the 1998 Ukrainian parliamentary elections.

The EPF has been hired to secure a Yanukovych victory by defeating his main rival, pro-Western reformer Viktor Yushchenko. Failing this, the election results could be annulled, with Yushchenko and Yanukovych barred from a repeat election. Kuchma could then stand for a third term, facing only weak left-wing opposition candidates (Ukrayinska pravda, August 30; Hrani Plus, August 30-September 5).

The EPF's objectives fall into three main categories. First they seek to undermine Yushchenko's credibility, by producing fake leaflets, critical books and pamphlets, and launching inflammatory television attacks. Second, they are using the Tax Police to investigate businessmen who support his campaign, thus undermining his financial support. Third, EPF has paid extreme nationalists to claim they support Yushchenko and use the same groups to carry out terrorist attacks that are then blamed on Yushchenko.

Read the rest here.

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