Thursday, January 30, 2020


When Vladimir Zelensky became president of Ukraine, there was a strong expectation that the winds of democratic change would be forthcoming. Perhaps they will come. But in the meantime, the road seems rocky.

Corrupt Ukrainian oligarchs who are pro-Russian appear to still wield some authority in Ukraine. For example, there is the Putin crony, Gregory Surkis, who is sometimes a guest in Russian President Putin’s St. Petersburg home. The United States reportedly revoked Mr. Surkis’ visa.

Surkis recently had a 70th birthday party in Ukraine, which was attended by members of President Zelensky’s inner circle, including Ivan Bakanov, the head of the Ukrainian Security Services. Mr. Bakanov has been implicated in the Rudy Guiliani-Joe Biden quagmire. David Holmes, an American diplomat at the U.S. embassy (who overheard the infamous call between Gordon Sondland and President Trump), testified in November 2019 to the House Intelligence Committee that, in a prior conversation with Mr. Bakanov, the latter stated that he had been contacted directly by Mr. Giuliani concerning the Bidens.

All of this sounds like more of the same old news. Hopefully President Zelensky can continue to institute democratic reforms and oppose the influence of corrupt pro-Russian oligarchs.


Gaithersburg, Md.

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