Who in Ukraine Was Paid by Soros in 2016

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



The international fund “Renaissance”, which is a private fund of the American billionaire George Soros, published a report on its expenditure in 2016. “Strana” analysed who grants of this fund were given to.

According to the report, in 2016 the Soros fund distributed grants worth 176 million hryvnia. This is less than the 200 million spent in 2015. But it is much more than in 2014 (103 million UAH) and in 2013 (50 million UAH).

If to consider the depreciation of the hryvnia-dollar exchange rate from 8 to 25, it is possible to estimate the amount of financing of projects of the fund in 2016 at the sum of 7 million dollars, which approximately corresponds to the level of previous years.

Top-20 recipients of grants

At the same time, the greatest sum spent by the Soros fund (28.6 million) was for its projects. “Strana” compiled information on the 20 largest recipients of grants, excluding the fund’s own projects. The list of leaders included organizations, mainly from Kiev, but there are large grantees also in Poltava, Kharkov, and Odessa:

The largest sum of 6.6 million hryvnia was received by the All-Ukrainian fund “Step by step” in Kiev. It is an affiliated structure of the Soros fund, since the latter is its cofounder, together with the head of the “Step by step” fund Natalya Sofiy. Money was issued for 6 projects to provide quality education and development for Roma (Gipsy) children and on development of the fund itself.

This fund also realizes a number of projects with other grantors, among which are the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Soros’ Open Society foundation, UNICEF, and others.

Slightly more than 4 million was received by the “Ukrainian Legal Aid Fund” for 5 projects – in the sphere of medical law and on the protection of witnesses, victims, and detainees. It is also an affiliated structure of the Soros fund. Besides this example, the founders also include five public organizations from Kiev, Kharkov, Bila Tserkva, and Khmelnitsky.

Kiev-based “Expert Center for Human Rights” received nearly 3.3 million for programs for the protection of addicts and those detained by the police. It is a new organization, created at the end of 2015. The cofounder and head of the center Yury Belousov previously worked as the head of department of the National Preventive Mechanism in the office of the Commissioner for Human Rights.

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After his dismissal at the beginning of 2016 he became a businessman and declared a 432,000 income. One more founder Vyacheslav Svirets is now the head of the department on supervision of the observance of the law in places of detention of the Prosecutor General’s Office.

At the beginning of 2016 he also was a businessman, having declared a 268,000 UAH income from business activities.

The center for political studies and analytics “Eidos”, which received 3 million, was founded by the political expert Viktor Taran (the former spouse of the Deputy from “People’s front” Viktoria Syumar), Sergey Derkach, and Inna Turkenya. The latter also heads the fund “Bezopacnaya Darnitsa”. Projects for which the “Eidos” Center received funds for: monitoring the financing of parties (1.27 million UAH), control of medical expenses (nearly 1 million UAH), and reform of the state budget (730,000).

For projects on the fight against discrimination the charitable organization “Tochka Opory” received 2.7 million hryvnia from the Soros fund. It’s main project – the Ukrainian index of corporate equality. The founders of the organization – activists of the LGBT movement Zoryan Kis, Bogdan Globa, and also Aleksey Zavadsky.

And one of the most famous recipients of the Soros fund “Ukrainian crisis media center” received in 2016 2.6 million for the “Communication campaign in the Netherlands” project. In the report of the fund the content of this campaign isn’t stated. Possibly, it is connected with the referendum that took place in the Netherlands, in which residents of the country voted against the signing of the EU association agreement with Ukraine.

“Ukrainian of the crisis media center” has high-ranking founders. This concerns Valery Chaliy – the ambassador of Ukraine in the US, who earlier for over a year worked as the deputy head of the Poroshenko administration. One more founder – Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze – is now the vice-Prime Minister concerning European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Until April, 2016, she was the People’s Deputy and held the position of the first deputy chairman of Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on foreign affairs. Also its founders include the PR managers Gennady Kurochka and Natalya Popovic.

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In 2015 the “Ukrainian crisis media center” also received grants from the Soros fund totalling more than 5.6 million UAH. From the venue of this center Ukrainian TV channels broadcast official news of the anti-terrorist operation.

Regional Leaders

The largest non-Kiev recipient of aid from the Soros fund is the Poltava “Institute of Analysis and Advocacy”. It received nearly 4 million hryvnia, in the overall ranking this is third place among all recipients of grants. In 2015 this institute was also the largest regional recipient of IMF grants, having received 4.8 million UAH. The main projects of the organization are in the sphere of medicine and local government.

The founders and heads of the institute are local activists Yury Nestulya and Yury Romashko. According to our data Yury Nestulya is the son of the rector of the Poltava University of Economics and Trade Aleksey Nestuli.

And the Poltava residents from the charitable organization “Light of Hope” received 1.6 million for the project on the expenditure of budgetary means, also in the sphere of medicine. In 2015 they also nearly 2 million for 6 projects.

The Odessa fund “Impact Hub Odessa” received nearly 2.6 million. From them – 1.3 million for a business incubator for temporarily displaced persons. In 2015 for the same subjects the fund received nearly 2 million UAH.

The Kharkov-based “Institute of legal research and strategy”, which received nearly 2.3 million, was engaged, mainly, in the observance of the rights of patients in medical institutions and palliative medicine. The head of the organization Andrey Rokhansky also heads the Kharkov regional hospital cash desk.

The Kharkov-based “agency of changes ‘Prospect’” received 1.1 million for 2 projects of reforms of primary medicine in the region, and 645,000 more for the English-speaking website “Kharkov Today” and the news service “Kharkov Observe”.

But the Soros fund spent more than a half of its means (nearly 100 million) in Kiev. However, at the same time it is noted that many Kiev projects have a nationwide character. In second place – Kharkov (9.1 million), in third – Odessa (8.1 million). Here is the map of distribution of grants from the report of the Soros fund:

Last year’s favourites were left out of work

As “Strana” reported, in 2015 the Donetsk regional public organization “Institute of Social Research and Analysis” located in Vinnytsia was the largest recipient of grants of the Soros fund. It received nearly 7 million UAH for the development of the Donetsk National University, which in 2014 moved from Donetsk to Vinnytsia. However this sum didn’t correspondent to the income on the site of the organization itself. In 2016 the Soros fund ceased to finance it.

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Also we reported that third place in 2015 with the sum 5.4 million was claimed by the “Europe without Barriers” organization. From them 3.8 million were given out for the project of “development of institutional opportunities” (in fact, for the maintenance) of the organization. The head of the organization was Irina Sushko who, perhaps, was the spouse of the chairman of the board of the fund of Aleksandr Sushko. In 2016 this organization ceased to receive direct financing from the Soros fund.

From the list of recipients of grants of the Soros fund “Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives” foundation also disappeared. This foundation is known for organizing sociological research. As “Strana” reported a year ago, from the nearly 5.3 million allocated by the Soros fund in 2015 the Democratic Initiatives foundation for some reason reflected only slightly more than 2 million in the report.

In total 367,000 hryvnia in 2016 was received from the Soros fund by the Agency of Journalism – the owner of the website texty.org.ua. This is 10 times less than the 5.4 million that was received in the previous year. And one million instead of five was received by the “Diski group” – an organization that is engaged in lobbying bills in the sphere of energy.

In general, it is possible to draw the conclusion that in 2016 the activeness of the Soros fund in Ukraine decreased a little. Generally the fund handed out grants for its own projects and for projects of its affiliated structures. The media began to receive much less money, and more funds began to be allocated for medical subjects (perhaps it is connected with the active promotion of the medical reform of Ulana Suprun) and support of Roma programs.

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