Diane Francis

  • Francis in the Kyiv Post: If Chicago can defeat corruption, so can Ukrainian capital

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  • What Ukraine Needs Now

    A prominent Ukrainian journalist Dmytro Gnap just threw his hat in the ring as a presidential candidate, and threw a spanner in the best laid plans of the country’s corrupt politicians and oligarchs.

    He has been an activist and a victim of the country’s corruption and is running because he’s fed up. He has exposed graft in high places and been beaten by thugs, threatened, and disinherited from his Donetsk birthplace. His disgust matches that of the publics, which is pervasive. Among his journalistic achievements was he led a team that exposed corruption by President Petro Poroshenko and others concerning offshore holdings.

    “We are at an important historical moment because we now see huge demand for reforms and my colleagues and I will try to do our best to answer this strong civic demand,” he said in a...

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  • Hunger Strike Points to Missed PR Opportunity for Putin Regime

    The World Cup in Russia is a Potemkin football extravaganza or a fancy façade designed to depict the country as advanced and civilized.

    In reality, it’s neither.

    Facts are that in recent international sporting events Russia’s athletes have been caught doping on a massive scale, or, alternatively, Putin has used festivities to camouflage the invasion of neighboring nation-states Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014.

    Since the World Cup began on June 14, Russian tanks have not rolled into any smaller countries, but the Games have been blemished by a more than month-long hunger strike by Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian filmmaker unjustly sent to a Siberian prison camp. The 41-year-old has been starving himself for more than forty days to raise world opinion during the World Cup about the torture and unjust imprisonment of himself and 64 Ukrainian political prisoners.

    These human rights abuses, and the fact that no one has access to him to determine...

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  • Francis in The American Interest: Three Glimpses of the Future

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  • Ukraine’s Devastating Problem Is Only Getting Worse

    Ukrainians continue to “vote” with their feet by leaving, and the numbers are escalating due to pessimism at home and active recruitment by Europe.

    Fresh polls register a devastating rejection by 71 percent of Ukrainians regarding the country’s political direction and even greater distaste for its leaders.

    The 81 percent polled disapprove or somewhat disapprove of President Petro Poroshenko; 73 percent feel the same about Prime Minister Volodymyr Groisman; 88 percent feel the same way about parliament; and 77 percent feel that way about the judiciary.

    Those polled, aged between 18 and 35, are even more disaffected. The poll also...

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  • Time to Cut Out the Middlemen in Ukraine Gas Trade

    Four years after Ukrainians protested in the streets against jaw-dropping corruption, the most odious scheme of all—the corrupt natural gas market—continues to siphon billions from Ukraine. These proceeds underwrite a sophisticated bribery scheme in Russia and Ukraine, and more recently help subsidize Russia’s war and occupation against Ukraine.

    The heist was devised years ago by mafia kingpin Semion Mogilevich, and has been fronted by Dmytro Firtash with the blessing of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his insiders. It was simple: A foreign intermediary company was established to buy gas from Gazprom, then sell it to Ukraine’s utility Naftogaz for huge profits that would then be diverted to Russian and Ukrainian politicians and officials.

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  • Unreality TV: Why the Kremlin's Lies Stick

    In 2014, Russian-backed rebels used a Moscow-supplied missile to shoot down Malaysia Airlines flight 17 over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. Russian state TV made wild claims such as the passengers were already dead, a Ukrainian fighter jet shot down the plane, and the CIA was behind the plot.

    Since 2016, Russian hacking, influence, money laundering, and collusion in US elections has been the subject of headlines and Congressional or legal probes against dozens of individuals, including President Donald Trump and his team, as well as social media companies. “So what if they’re Russians, said Putin in an interview. “They do not represent the interests of the Russian state.”

    In 2018, a Russian military intelligence officer, convicted of being a double agent for Britain, was...

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  • The Window for Reform May Be Closing in Ukraine, But It’s Still Wide Open in Kyiv

    Countries like Ukraine, afflicted with systemic corruption, need new leaders at the top, but also those willing to engage in erecting bulwarks against graft at the local level.

    And while the president and parliament disappoint and foot drag on implementing major revolutionary reforms, real change at the Kyiv City Council, the biggest local government in Ukraine, is underway.

    Spearheading the effort is entrepreneur Sergiy Gusovsky, who heads the 22-member Samopomich faction at city hall, among 120 deputies in total. They have gained approval for several notable anti-corruption measures which should be a template for other cities in Ukraine.

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  • Exclusive: New Owner of Kyiv Post Promises Editorial Independence

    On March 21, the hearts of reformers and journalists sank when Mohammad Zahoor sold the crusading Kyiv Post to Odesa businessman Adnan Kivan. Many were convinced that the new owner would soften the editorial line of Ukraine’s top English language newspaper.

    But in an interview March 25, Kivan said he bought the newspaper because of its English speaking, mostly foreign, audience and because he believes in its mission to fight for democracy and against corruption in Ukraine.

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  • Why Nord Stream 2 Isn’t Just an Ordinary Pipeline

    Of all nations, Germany must heed the lessons of history, both current and past. This begs the question as to why Germany would help Europe become more energy dependent on a country like Russia that ignores norms, contracts, laws, treaties, and borders.

    And yet that is exactly what Germany is about to do if it approves Gazprom’s $11.5-billion pipeline gas megaproject called Nord Stream 2. Proponents argue that the pipeline is an “economic project” that simply will deliver cheaper gas to German industries and turn Germany into a European hub for Russian gas. They say this is the same gas, only a different pipeline.

    But this is not an “economic” project and this is not just a different pipeline.

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