Voice of Russia
March 4, 2014
The US online whistleblower magazine Pando has leaked documents that suggest the American government in the form of US Agency for International Development (USAID) could have played the role of force multiplier in the overthrow of Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych, having funded a host of opposition groups prior to the revolution.
Pando published financial documents, showing numerous funding entries for NGO activities across Ukraine, including in Poltava, Vinnytsia, Zhytomyr, Ternopil, Sumy, and elsewhere, mostly in the Ukrainian-speaking west and center. The list also names US-based contributors, such as billionaire George Soros, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his Omidyar Network foundation, as well as the National Endowment for Democracy, which is funded largely by the US Congress.
According to the leaked papers, a network of interlocking NGOs– Chesno (Honestly), Center UA and Stop Censorship, to name a few – were growing in influence in Ukraine by “targeting pro-Yanukovych politicians with a well-coordinated anti-corruption campaign that built its strength in Ukraine’s regions, before massing in Kiev last autumn.”
The fundraising papers show that from October 2011 to December 2012 USAID provided Chesno with a hefty sum of over $421,000, while also planting nine of Center UA experts on its staff whose duty it was to manage the NGO’s affairs on the regional level, coordinate its efforts, provide photo and video coverage, as well as creative input.
Hence, it may well be that the activities of Chesno, which bills itself as a civil watchdog movement bent on “filtering the power,” received a large percentage of funds from American taxpayers under the watchful eye of the US Agency for International Development.
Chesno was set up on 29 October 2011 as part of the “Let’s Filter the Parliament in 24 hours” campaign, which happened just as the Ukrainian opposition was discussing a unified structure in a bid to consolidate its efforts. Its public face was Oleg Rybachuk, a prominent politician in the country and the right-hand man to Orange Revolution figurehead Viktor Yushchenko.
It was reported earlier that the Maidan unrest in the late 2013 drew large scores of western foreigners in Ukraine’s capital Kiev, including the so-called “mercenaries” from the United States, Germany and Poland.
“There weren’t many Russians there, compared to some 60 people from the United States, around 30 and up to 50 Germans, as well as Poles, Turks and many others,” one of the participants, who identified himself as Vladimir, confessed.
The heavily fortified Maidan camp in Kiev’s Independence Square was the flashpoint of the anti-Yanukovych uprising. It attracted some of the most prominent, if not exactly controversial, public people from the West. Among them were US Republican Senators John McCain and Ryan Murphy. McCain promised protesters the support of the American nation and quoted the 19th-century Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko in his podium speech.
Another Maidan guest was US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland hand in hand with the US ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey R. Pyatt. The US couple met with top insurgents and gave out cookies to the hungering crowd.