The Ukraine Lobby
During Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, a group of Ukrainians sat in the gallery of the House Chamber. Soon after Zelensky stepped up to the rostrum, they cheered, “Slava Ukraini!” The President of Ukraine waved back at them and answered, “Heroyam Slava.” Some members of Congress looked up and turned around with surprised smiles.
A few minutes later, Zelensky prompted Congress’ first standing ovation during his speech by addressing “dear representatives of [Ukrainian] diaspora…” He paused for a moment and nodded at those in the gallery. Later on, they again chanted “Slava Ukraini!” This time, some members of Congress finished the Nationalist call and response: “Heroyam Slava!” But who were the special guests?
For starters, there was Andrew Mac, a lawyer in Washington and unpaid advisor to Zelensky that Politico has identified as “one of the biggest Washington power players for Ukraine.” A significant portion of the “representatives of diaspora” consisted of Ukrainians that work for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, or the Embassy of Ukraine. Perhaps an invitation went out to the World Bank Group-IMF Ukrainian Staff Association, or just its chairman, who sat in the front row of the gallery.
Also in the front row was Natalie Jaresko, the Ukrainian American former Finance Minister of Ukraine (2014–16), in which capacity she proudly negotiated “the largest IMF program in the institution’s history.” Her presence seemed like a bad omen. In 2016, Jaresko was considered a “top candidate for prime minister.” Earlier this year, Jaresko stepped down as the executive director of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, also known as “La Junta,” which Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has described as “the Wall Street-connected fiscal control board that the US gave power to over the island.” Now with Ukraine facing a debt trap after the war, Jaresko appears to be part of a financial clique that has taken the reins of the “Ukraine lobby” in Washington since Joe Biden took office.
On February 25, 2021, Volodymyr Zelensky appointed Oksana Markarova as the Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States. At the turn of the 21st century, Markarova interned at the World Bank in Washington between jobs at the Western New Independent States Enterprise Fund (WNISEF), which the U.S. Agency for International Development financed to invest in “small and medium-sized companies” in Ukraine. Natalie Jaresko, as the CEO of WNISEF, co-founded Horizon Capital, “the leading private equity firm in Ukraine,” to manage this $150 million investment fund backed by the U.S. government. Markarova served as the Minister of Finance in 2018–20, but got started as a deputy minister under Jaresko in 2015.
The Ukrainian ambassador didn’t sit in the gallery, but feet away from the rostrum, so Natalie Jaresko sat next to Alexa Chopivsky, who is a program director of the Aspen Institute, a prominent Washington think tank founded in 1949. Jaresko chairs Aspen Institute Kyiv, its partner organization in Ukraine. Chopivsky’s father George sits on the board of directors of the Atlantic Council, which typically receives $100,000 a year from his Chopivsky Family Foundation. Jaresko is a former distinguished fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, which is directed by John Herbst, a board member of the Western NIS Enterprise Fund who formerly served as the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine (2002–2006).
Until recently, Alexa Chopivsky was the executive director of Ukraine House Davos, a sideshow at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland purporting to showcase the “new Ukraine.” Chopivsky chaired the organizing committee of Ukraine House Davos. The other three members represented the WNISEF, Horizon Capital, and the foundation named for Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk that has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Atlantic Council.
Last year, Volodymyr Zelensky opened a permanent Ukraine House in Washington, which is essentially a cultural center associated with the Embassy of Ukraine. Alexa Chopivsky and Andrew Mac were among the “recipients of honorary awards” at the ceremony. Ambassador Markarova is one of three members of the advisory board of Ukraine House DC. In 2016, Markarova oversaw the launch of UkraineInvest, “the Ukrainian government’s foreign direct investment promotion agency.” Chopivsky joined its supervisory board.
Lesya Sevruk, a member of Ukraine House’s executive board, formerly worked as an advisor to UkraineInvest and Markarova in the Finance Ministry. Danylo Volynets, one of the other two members of the executive board, also sits on the board of the ITT Investment Group, which Markarova led for a dozen years. The Ukraine House DC Foundation is partnered with the Olena Zelenska Foundation and United24, which Volodymyr Zelensky launched as “the main venue for collecting charitable donations in support of Ukraine.”
Alexa Chopivsky and the CEO of Horizon Capital each moderated a “break-out session” at the July 2022 Ukraine Recovery Conference co-hosted by the Swiss and Ukrainian governments in Lugano, Switzerland. According to the event’s website, it was largely dedicated to discussing the “Recovery and Development Plan of Ukraine (within United 24 initiative of President Zelensky).” According to Multipolarista, “the Ukraine Recovery Conference’s economic proposal was little more than a repackaged Washington Consensus: a typical right-wing program that involves implementing mass privatizations, deregulating industries, gutting labor protections, cutting taxes on the rich, and putting the burden on Ukrainian workers.” In September, Zelensky virtually joined the “$125 million signing ceremony of a new Ukraine-focused fund” launched by Horizon Capital.
The administrative director of Ukraine House DC sat in the gallery of the House Chamber with her husband, an assistant to Ambassador Markarova and Third Secretary of the Embassy of Ukraine. At least two or three other “representatives of diaspora” present also worked at the embassy. That included its First Secretary for press and media, and a Next Generation Leader at the McCain Institute who formerly “worked for the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv as the principal liaison officer with Ukraine’s parliament.” There was also the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Ukraine, unless she is now a consultant for the World Bank.
The aforementioned chairman of the World Bank Group-IMF Ukrainian Staff Association sat next to an alternate executive director of the IMF. Sitting behind them was Roman Kachur, an alternate executive director of the World Bank. In 2004–2007, Kachur was a vice-president of ITT Investment Group. In 2015–16, like former ITT president Oksana Markarova, he was a Deputy Minister of Finance under Natalie Jaresko, until he joined the board of directors of the World Bank.
Also invited to hear Zelensky’s speech to Congress were the leaders of the trio of Ukrainian American organizations favored by the Embassy of Ukraine. These are: US Ukrainian Activists (USUA) and United Help Ukraine (UHU) in Washington, and Razom for Ukraine in New York. These organizations have sprung up since 2014. The following year, one of their members described the embassy as a “playground for meetings, discussions and charity events.” In 2021, the USUA formed a 501(c)3 organization, and the Ukrainian government opened a bigger “playground” called Ukraine House.
Of course, the “representatives of diaspora” included at least a few veterans of the Ukraine lobby, which Nationalists led during the Cold War. Orest Deychakiwsky, a policy advisor for the U.S. Helsinki Commission, isn’t a “Banderite,” or follower of Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera (1909–59), but his father was a member of Bandera’s fascistic Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. In 1980, the OUN-B, or clandestine Banderite faction of the Organization, staged a controversial takeover of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA). Newer organizations like USUA, UHU, and Razom haven’t joined the allegedly corrupt, Banderite-led Congress Committee, which has struggled to keep up with the all pro-Ukraine activism in 2022.
Banderite proxies still run the UCCA, including its president Andriy Futey, who sat with his father Bohdan between IMF officials and Natalie Jaresko in the House Chamber. In 1984, four years after the Banderite “coup” of the UCCA, Bohdan Futey went from being its leader in Cleveland to the head of the U.S. Foreign Claims Commission. In 1987, Ronald Reagan appointed him to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. A couple years later, in his book Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party, journalist Russ Bellant disclosed that he interviewed an OUN-B member. “You have to understand,” explained the Banderite. “We are an underground organization. We have spent years quietly penetrating positions of influence.” According to Bellant, Bohdan Futey was “described as [one of] the contact points between the OUN-B and the White House.” Since I started writing this, someone in the Ukrainian community has declared that “Andriy Futey leaks [sic] Waz ass!” For those who don’t read my Bandera Lobby Blog, “Waz” is the nickname of the U.S. leader of OUN-B.
The Banderite-led Congress Committee is a shell of its former self, which nevertheless pretends to remain the official spokesbody of the Ukrainian community, akin to the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. The UCCA’s most active branch, the Illinois Division, has two vice presidents for “Government and Community Relations.” One is an aggressive OUN-B leader in Chicago. The other is a friend of the “Bandera Lobby” in addition to a board member of Western NIS Enterprise Fund who joined the steering committee of “Ukrainian Americans for Biden.”
The Chicago area is a hotbed of Ukrainian nationalism, and where Natalie Jaresko grew up. Earlier this year she recalled, “I spent my Saturdays learning Ukrainian language, culture, literature, and history. With your eyes closed, you had to be able to go through the rivers and tributaries of Ukraine and the mountains and every major town.” Her brother John is the president of the parish board of St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Bloomingdale, a suburb of Chicago. A local OUN-B leader is vice president.
John Jaresko at least used to be a member of the right-wing Suburban Council of Ukrainian Voters (aka “Ukrainians for Trump”) in Illinois, led by members of the OUN-B affiliated Organization for Defense of Four Freedoms for Ukraine (ODFFU). In 2019, St. Andrew’s hosted a dubious OUN-B “extraordinary convention” that declared a new ODFFU board of directors and a new manager of its headquarters building in Manhattan, formerly known as the “Home of the Organizations of the Ukrainiain Liberation Front.” The Banderite president of UCCA-Illinois chaired the meeting. Andriy Futey sent his greetings to the overthrow of the “old board” that essentially made “Waz” the ODFFU leader in New York.
Although the “Bandera Lobby” is falling behind the “Ukraine Lobby,” it was the Banderites who started the call and response “Slava Ukraini — Heroyam Slava,” originally accompanied by a fascist salute. Numerous “Ukraine experts” in Washington, and in particular at the Atlantic Council, are on a first name basis with Walter “Waz” Zaryckyj as the longtime executive director of the Center for US-Ukrainian Relations (CUSUR), which is an OUN-B “facade structure.” In Bloomingdale, the Banderites installed CUSUR’s Washington bureau chief as the new ODFFU president. The UCCA and CUSUR can still bend ears in the Congressional Ukraine Caucus and Senate Ukraine Caucus. And their days may be numbered, but the OUN-B still looms large over the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC). “Waz” is the last known chairman of its International Scholarly Council. Banderites have held the UWC presidency throughout the 21st century, including a plotter of the “extraordinary convention” in Bloomingdale who later advised “Ukrainian Americans for Biden.”
Lenna Koszarny, the CEO of Horizon Capital and Executive Vice-President of WNISEF, is a Canadian vice president of the Ukrainian World Congress who served on the organizing committee of Ukraine House Davos. Another UWC vice president is the WNISEF board member who is also vice president of UCCA-Illinois. Lenna Koszarny, Natalie Jaresko, and George Chopivsky are all members of the UWC Advisory Council. Another member is Borys Gudziak, archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic in the United States, who also made it to Washington on Wednesday.
Perhaps Zelensky’s interaction with Ukrainians in the gallery was orchestrated to put any Republican legislators on notice who might have thought about heckling him, and/or to send a message to certain parties that Zelensky is standing side by side with the self-described “rabid Ukrainian diaspora” that raged against him before the war. Volodymyr Zelensky has certainly won the hearts and minds of many, such as UCCA president Andriy Futey, who now fawns over him: “my hero!” But in 2019, days after the Banderite Bloomingdale conclave, the OUN-B launched the far-right “Capitulation Resistance Movement” in Kyiv against the newly elected President of Ukraine, when Zelensky was still presumed to be a peacemaker.
Nationalists in the diaspora cheered the protests, which threatened to escalate and topple the government. Zelensky subsequently appointed DC lawyer Andrew Mac as an advisor, reportedly “with a mandate to build relations with ethnic Ukrainians living in the United States.” On Wednesday night, Mac sat next to Irena Chalupa, who read poetry at the 1986 funeral of Yaroslav Stetsko, a Nazi collaborator who led the OUN-B from 1968 onwards. Stetsko, an antisemitic OUN-B ideologue, unsuccessfully declared the pro-Nazi “restoration of Ukrainian statehood” in 1941 German-occupied western Ukraine as its short-lived “Prime Minister,” on the eve of unleashing pogroms across the region. Chalupa sat between Andrew Mac and Michael Sawkiw, the UCCA’s Washington bureau chief, who mourned the death of Stetsko in a letter to a Ukrainian American newspaper.
Irena Chalupa, unrelated to Andrea and Alexandra Chalupa, worked for Stetsko in the OUN-B’s Cold War headquarters building in 1980s Munich before starting her career with the U.S. propaganda broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). Andriy Haidamakha, a Belgian-born Banderite who directed the Kyiv bureau of RFE/RL in 1990s Ukraine, succeeded Yaroslav Stetsko’s wife as OUN-B leader from 2001–2009. In those days, a veteran of the Ukrainian Waffen-SS led the OUN-B in Ukraine. From 2007–2011, Irena Chalupa directed the Ukrainian language service of RFE/RL. In 2014, the Atlantic Council partnered with the Ukrainian World Congress, and Chalupa subsequently became a leading contributor to the think tank’s “UkraineAlert” blog. Her British Banderite journalist husband also wrote for them after embedding with the Azov Battalion.
As previously reported by “Ukes, Kooks & Spooks,” the neo-Nazi press officer of the Azov Regiment visited Washington last month, and stopped by the Ukrainian Saturday school in Bethesda, Maryland where Chalupa teaches literature. The principal of the Taras Shevchenko School of Ukrainian Studies of Greater Washington also received an invitation to witness Zelensky’s speech to Congress. Irena Chalupa is among other things a producer for Stop Fake, an info warrior outlet in Ukraine that has whitewashed the far-right.
In early November, Azov Regiment fighter and photographer Dmytro Kozatsky appeared on MSNBC alongside Oksana Markarova to promote a book that includes photos by Kozatsky and an essay by the Ukrainian Ambassador. That same day, Markarova and Kozatsky attended a related event at Ukraine House, the US partner of United24, which used the same self-portrait by Kozatsky that made the front cover of the book. From Washington, after visiting the school in Bethesda, Kozatsky hitched a ride to New York with a motorcade sponsored by United Help Ukraine, the president of which attended the recent joint session of Congress.
The president of Razom for Ukraine also made it, although she had to catch a train in Manhattan, where she recently took a selfie with Kozatsky outside of the Ukrainian National Home, which is puppeteered by Banderites, next door to their US headquarters building. Earlier this year, Razom organized a protest in Manhattan at which protesters chanted, “Azov! Azov! Azov!” Years ago, Razom invited a member of Right Sector, a notorious extremist organization in Ukraine, to a meeting of the World Bank Group-IMF Ukrainian Staff Association.
This past September, the Azov movement sent a delegation to the United States, including the wife of the Azov Regiment commander and the leader of an anti-feminist group affiliated with the neo-Nazi movement, both of whom spoke at one of the USUA’s weekly rallies in front of the White House. At events with the Ukrainian community, the representatives of Azov promoted their new charity wing, in which the ideological female figurehead of their movement has gotten involved.
Earlier this month, Kozatsky returned to Washington to participate in an annual “Ukraine in Washington & Beyond” symposium organized by the US-Ukraine Foundation (USUF), an influential think tank, and self-described “do-tank.” Orest Deychakiwsky, a vice-chairman of the USUF, sat between the Greek-Catholic archbishop and president of “US-Ukrainian Activists” on Wednesday. Deychakiwsky co-chairs a task force of the USUF’s Friends of Ukraine Network, which described itself by 2019 as “the largest, highest level and most politically diverse group of Americans to call for arming Ukraine with American weapons.” That year, the Canary UK warned that the “Friends” were “pushing a frightening escalation of the armed conflict in Ukraine.” In 2020, Deychakiwsky joined the steering committee of the Democratic National Committee’s “Ukrainian Americans for Biden,” perhaps as its chairman.
In the summer of 2020, I wrote one of my first articles about the USUF hosting a webinar with a neo-Nazi leader of Right Sector. Deychakiwsky’s brother is a volunteer for United Help Ukraine who donated hundreds of dollars to the short-lived “Right Sector USA.” In years past, the USUF and UHU have both worked with a Ukrainian nationalist “volunteer movement” in Syracuse that is closely associated with the far-right Banderite paramilitary leader who founded Right Sector. The point here isn’t that “neo-Nazis” run the Ukraine lobby, but that the Banderite “representatives of diaspora” can almost say “mission accomplished” and retire. Of course, that won’t happen until the nuclear bombs start to fall.