Oleg Tsarev: How Ukraine Was Being Killed

About Maidan, principles in politics, and the 2014 presidential campaign

Oleg, Ukraine is the focus of attention in connection with pressure allegedly now being put on Zelensky by Trump in relation to Biden‘s case. What do you know about it?

“In 2014 Biden, being the Vice President of the United States, allocated $3 billion to Turchynov when he was the acting president of Ukraine. Financial contracts that didn’t correspond to Turchynov’s status were signed. In the US a criminal case was initiated.”

About the allocation of this tranche?

“Yes. It happened within the framework of international aid programs to help ‘democracies’ through the USAID agency, created under Kennedy. And because of this criminal case all American tranches to Ukraine are now suspended. There are seizures in three American banks associated with these machinations of the US Democratic Party elite.

Very few people know the case of Burisma Holdings in detail, but concerning the last one billion dollars it is known that Joe Biden kinda said: I can give or not give this money. This is a gross violation of American procedures! There were neither calculations of risks, nor necessary audit reports, nor the corresponding visas. Everything went, as is said, on a call. And democracy in the US is, first of all, a procedure. Procedures were violated, and a criminal case was initiated two years ago, it is now in court now, it is conducted by the US Attorney General.

The well-known Sam Kislin arrived in Ukraine concerning this case. Together with lawyers, they interviewed a number of my former colleagues. They were even summoned in the US. Poroshenko perfectly understood that they ‘dig’ under him. It is precisely for this reason Sam Kislin was made persona non grata in Ukraine.

Not only was the theft of $3 billion proved, but it was also shown who stole it and where it was stolen. Ten Ukrainian top officials, among them — Petro Poroshenko, are involved in the case. And the main suspects and defendants — Nataliya Yaresko and Aleksandr Danilyuk in charge of Ukrainian finances Natalia.

Danilyuk was strongly advised not to invite Zelensky to the United States, and he did not go. Although, in principle, he had to become chief ‘moderator’ of this process. Poroshenko was taken out of the scope of the case at the time, he was mentioned there under the operational call sign ‘Porke’. And since he is no longer President, he may well be questioned and arrested. But for a start it is still necessary to take testimonies from Yaresko and Danilyuk.”

From where do you know all this?

“I’ve been watching the situation for two years. When the first mini-‘primaries’ among Democrats went, it turned out that Biden, who was engaged in Ukraine, was Trump’s main rival. It is obvious that it is possible to remove Biden from the presidential race only via the ‘Ukrainian trace’. From the first interrogations that were carried out by Kislin I took this work under my unspoken control. This activity could no longer be hidden. Poroshenko precisely knew about it, and it’s not a coincidence that Sam Kislin, a person close to the personal lawyer of Trump Rudy Giuliani spent a whole night in Boryspol, in the transit zone of the airport, he was not allowed to get to Kiev, and he, an elderly man, was forced to return to the US. Giuliani already wasn’t disposed to Poroshenko, so here it became even worse…”

Oleg, you one of those politicians, rare in Twitter time, who continue to write articles. And if not to know you personally, then YouTube and Google strongly distort the essence, showing first of all your fights in the Verkhovna Rada. Was it necessary to fight often? And at least for such an active activity you have to be an athlete?

“I did swimming, then Greco-Roman wrestling, in the 8th class to the 5th class was even a champion of the Union among young men, and at an institute I was involved in sambo. But I was never the first to use force, as you can see from the video.

One of the rough episodes is memorable. We voted concerning the fate of the Russian language, and here I grappled with Poroshenko, who tried to block the podium in order to interfere with the vote. I just grabbed him from behind and carried him away from the podium. At the time I pulled my back very seriously, I did not think that he would be so heavy.

And in the first ‘orange revolution’ in Ukraine, I remember that we, the losing side, held a meeting (and I was ‘at the head’ of it, so it turned out) and adopted a resolution. With this resolution I reached Yushchenko himself, passing the Federal Protective Service and other barriers! Only the first Assistant to the President Tretyakov tried to get in my way, but I quietly push him away and came into Yushchenko’s office. And he hid.”

I.e., physically hid? This isn’t a figure of speech?

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“He wasn’t in the office. Although immediately before that everyone was saying to me: ‘Don’t go into the office, the president is busy, he works’. I came, put the resolution on his table, and left. That’s what a Deputy could do back then! And then ‘orange’ led by Poroshenko came and smashed public institutions about the country, using their deputy status.”

And how would you characterised Poroshenko?

“A strong-willed, aggressive, and rather tough person. He is very fairly clever. He didn’t flee from the country, despite all criminal cases.”

And how do you formulate the purpose of life for yourself?

“This is a very difficult question. Life has to be rich and bright, but it is impossible to do something extraordinary every day. I calm myself with the fact that life changes, it becomes different, my four children grow up and build it. It is a good process.”

And if the situation changes are you ready to return to the thick of political life?

“Too difficult a question. After all, I never consciously rushed into politics, the political situation itself was created in my life.”

Did you come to politics from business?

“Yes. I acquired an enterprise that stood idle for several years. These, in general, were the years when we had half of Dnepropetrovsk. A bankrupt enterprise was very inexpensive.”

Industrial?

“Yes. I became the director of a paper-mill. The horror was that all the hungry inspectors immediately came to us. They broke through the checkpoint, climbed over a fence … It was the period when a purely gangster racket was replaced by official lawlessness. And in order to stop it, I went to the Verkhovna Rada. I worked a lot in the field of the tax law, I had charter as the most fruitful Deputy in the number of introduced and adopted draft laws.”

Did you go by district or by party lists?

“By district, and I unexpectedly won, having bypassed the forces of administrative resources. I became a politician, a People’s Deputy. And was privy to all that was happening on so-called independence square… Just imagine a remote outpost, there is a sentry, there are enemy troops … He must stand tall, and not leave! Maybe he won’t succeed and he won’t stop anyone. But there is a call of duty. Enemies, of course, could seep through in other place. But you stand at your outpost, and every day make decisions.

But as a result of the known events and the inability to engage in politics, I remained in Crimea. And now I am engaged in my family now.”

However, if asked, will you return to politics?

“Yes, of course.”

Oleg, it is necessary to remember the terrible story of April 2014 after the airing on “ICTV” in the “Freedom of speech” broadcast, back then you were mobbed by a furious crowd. It was scary to watch even on TV. Could you tell us a little bit about what happened?

“It was, indeed, a dramatic episode in my life. Everything started with the fact that orthodox people from Odessa called my mother and said that in such and such days of the month your son will have big trouble, he may even be killed. My mother asked me to be somewhere safe at the specified time. I promised her that during these days I will be in Moscow, however I was forced to go to Kiev, to the telecast ‘Freedom of speech’. It was my last opportunity as a candidate for president of Ukraine to address people and to warn them against possible big war. I needed this podium because I was not given the opportunity to speak all the time.

And here is the broadcast of ‘Freedom of speech’ … As I understood later, Kolomoisky did everything in order to gather activists for my visit. Back then I didn’t know about it. Until then people’s deputies during broadcasts had never been attacked, and certainly not presidential candidates!!

The situation was such: the building of the TV channel was blocked. I remembered that I promised my mother I would leave Kiev before midnight (because after midnight came the very day of which I had been so strongly warned), but with all my desire I could not do it… We decided to call the OSCE. They answered that their task was to observe. They were just watching!

As a candidate for president, I was protected by the staff of the Federal Protective Service, who soon contacted their leadership since thousands of people were waiting for me in the yard with obviously evil intentions. What to do here? Open fire? They surveyed attics and basements, but was no opportunity to bring me there.”

People from the Federal Protective Service handled the situation very responsibly.

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“Yes, they were wonderful guys. (In the spring of 2014 both ‘Alfa’ troops and FPS were in the majority on our side. And about rare exceptions they said: ‘Here … a moron!’). That memorable night two attempts to occupy the studio followed, with me there was a press secretary, a girl … And I made the decision: I removed my watch, chain, jacket, and went outside.”

In all honesty, you understood that it could be the end?

“Yes, I also felt it when I started to be beaten and was clothes torn. When the madmen tore off all my clothes, the FPS succeeded to bring an ambulance, where I also jumped. But they started to slash the wheels and shake the ambulance. The doctors were frightened especially as the crowd started to chant: ‘Death!’, ‘To Maidan and burn them!’, and so on. And my mother and the son looked at all of this on the airwaves…

There are many videos on YouTube about these events:

Then the leaders of the so-called hundreds, who understood that to kill a presidential candidate on the airwaves isn’t really good, came. And I was told to kneel and repent.”

As was done by a part of the governors and Western Ukrainian “Berkut” officers.

“Yes, I was told to write a statement about the resignation of the presidential candidate and people’s deputy. I told them: ‘Kill!’. I had no right to give up, as I felt that a lot of people were looking at me then. It was impossible to let down a huge part of the population. I was no longer in control of myself.

And nevertheless votes were divided, and the majority were in favour of not killing. And they were able to save me in that situation.”

Sometimes you are criticised for participating in the 2014 election. As if you promoted the legitimisation of the regime too. Why did you move forward when you would have lost?

“In one part of Ukraine — yes. And in another – No. All is not in vain.”

Were any surveys conducted the day before?

“Yes, very favourable for my candidacy. However, I won’t started to specify because it is not only my secrets, and history doesn’t like the subjunctive mood. I, as I could, tried to keep the country away from war, consolidated assets, having passed almost in all regions of the South and the Southeast of Ukraine. I knew all the governors, chiefs of regional offices of the SBU, and Internal Affairs of those regions personally. And everyone had the mood that they say, give a command, and we are ready to separate 7-8 regions from Ukrainian territory. Because they perfectly understood that lustration is possible, and they will be pursued.

Sasha Peklushenko, the Zaporozhye governor, my friend, was killed the following year near his house. Everyone understood that the flywheel only spins.

New leaders appeared, they also had to be rallied.”

It was seen with the naked eye that these trips were dangerous to you.

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“Well, nothing terrible … And, answering one of the previous questions, I will say: I had no purpose to legitimise Poroshenko’s election. It is precisely for this reason I withdrew my candidacy. It was important to me to rally people, to convey to them, if not the system of values, then at least my point of view.”

Do you consider that society and the state has to have some purpose?

“In Ukraine, when the state begins to impose pro-American ideology on the people and to climb into church affairs, it is difficult to say that the goal-setting is correct. National tasks have to proceed from the demands of society, the state is a tool for their implementation.”

And if to rise over the momentary demands of society and to think about the global — super-goal of the state? The super-idea that the Soviet Union had?

“The USSR had a purpose — the creation of a fair society. And although the Soviet Union sank into a non-existence, Soviet people remain alive. And a lot of good things that we have in life are preserved only because of the fact that the society remained Soviet people.”

Do you feel that you are a Soviet person?

“Yes. There are a lot of Soviet people. These are school teachers who continued to teach for a kopeck in the 1990s. And policemen who, despite general corruption, caught criminals. And engineers who worked at almost stopped enterprises. And scientists who didn’t run away abroad. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of conscientious politicians. It is very difficult for a decent person to live and breathe in politics.”

Unless politics is a sin, a dirty business?

“It depends on the person. When one has no internal limitations (fidelity to the word, beliefs, decency), the chances of success in politics are much greater. For people without principles, only a new level of power hierarchy is important. Take, for example, Poroshenko. Yuliya Tymoshenko is the same case.”

And it is possible to dream a little? Suppose Chinese comrades come and offer Poroshenko and Tymoshenko five suitcases of money to change course and start declaring communism. What do you think, they would agree?

“For a politician or an official power is the highest category, and money is only a derivative. In this sense, Poroshenko would agree to accept money, and Tymoshenko – no. This also brought down Poroshenko. He took money and gave power. As a result, he did not even have the leverage to remain in power.”

If to wind back and you lose on a new November 2013, would you leave politics or re-engage in the exhausting struggle?

“So there is no choice! When everything started to blaze, Efremov, the head of the Party of Regions faction, invited me to Kiev as he had heard a lot about my ability to break any barriers. My wife and mother were categorically against it, and in fact I ran away from the house. In Kiev I started to carry out the role of head of faction. Then the coordination board – ‘Institute of Discussion’ – worked with the opposition leaders; and speeches at meetings and press conferences fell down me — I headed anti-Maidan activity.

During this work I gained access to information that nobody had! Wiretaps, ‘outdoor advertising’ and shorthand reports of meetings of leaders of the opposition, and just a great lot of data concerning their private (and not only private) lives. An impressive folder gathered every day with the unit manager who was engaged in Euromaidan. From these papers, ‘squeezing’ was made in the amount of ten to twenty A4 sheets, which went to the first deputy chief of the SBU, who in turn reduced their number to two or three — personally for Yanukovych. I went through the primary large folder every day.

The same method was at work also in the police. There was already hundreds of times more information. I saw that the country is heading towards big blood, on the airwaves I always said that the country is doomed to the Yugoslavian scenario. But there was a chance to save the country!”


Aleksey Goncharov

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