Black ops, a fake think tank and “placed” articles in US media are just some methods ex-Trump aide Paul Manafort resorted to in order to help Ukraine’s fugitive president Viktor Yanukovych discredit his main opponent Yulia Tymoshenko between 2011 and 2013.
These new juicy details emerge from the latest investigation by Luke Harding, a journalist with The Guardian. Harding says that while ties between Manafort and Yanukovych (including a whopping $75 million worth of paychecks via offshore accounts) were previously in the know, his investigation exposes the great lengths they undertook to realize their mission.
“They came up with a plan in summer 2011 called “A Digital Roadmap” and it involved all sorts of projects – some of them conventional like ringing up newspapers and arranging interviews, some of them secret like “black operations” and interfering with Yulia Tymoshenko’s Wikipedia page,” Harding told Hromadske today.
The campaign also involved the set-up of a fake think tank called the Center for the Study of Former Soviet Socialist Republics, which Harding says, “looks like a real thing but, of course, it was being conversely funded by the Yanukovych government.” It also exposes the significant role of Alan Friedman, an American journalist based in Italy.
“I think what is also interesting is that Alan Friedman was paid via a bank account in the Seychelles, which is another offshore center. This may or may not be of interest for the FBI.”
On the whole, Harding says the campaign failed to achieve its goal due to the Yanukovych’s subsequent warming towards the Kremlin (as opposed to the West) and his dramatic ousting in February 2014.
“I think that perhaps people at the top of Yanukovych government had a rather primitive idea of how newspapers work. [They thought] that if you pay someone, say at the New York Times or The Guardian, you can get a positive article about Ukraine’s president,” Harding said. “But it doesn’t really work like that.”
READ MORE: Deep Dive Into Paul Manafort’s Corruption
/Interview by Ostap Yarysh
/Text by Maria Romanenko