Decision 2008: The Ukraine 2010 edition

The Financial Times takes a look at the high-profile Washington players brought in to advise Ukraine’s presidential candidates, who are headed for a run-off on Feb. 7. There’s an interesting partisan breakdown between the candidates: Paul Manafort – a Republican strategist whose firm, Davis, Manafort and Freedman, advised several US presidents – has turned round ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
573940_100129_ukraine2.jpg
573940_100129_ukraine2.jpg
Placards of Ukraine's Prime Minister and the Presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko (R) and Ukraine's Regions Party and the Presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovich are displayed in central Kiev on January 27, 2010. The second round of voting in Ukraine's presidential election is scheduled for February 7. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

The Financial Times takes a look at the high-profile Washington players brought in to advise Ukraine's presidential candidates, who are headed for a run-off on Feb. 7. There's an interesting partisan breakdown between the candidates:

Paul Manafort – a Republican strategist whose firm, Davis, Manafort and Freedman, advised several US presidents – has turned round Mr Yanukovich’s fortunes. Mr Manafort’s team provided strategic advice to Rinat Akhmetov, the country’s richest man, before Mr Akhmetov introduced them to Mr Yanukovich in 2005. They have now helped propel the humiliated loser of the fraud-marred 2004 election into pole position in the country’s first presidential vote since the Orange Revolution.

AKPD Media and Message, founded by David Axelrod, President Barack Obama’s senior adviser, has been helping Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine’s prime minister, who came second in the first round of voting earlier this month. She is also being advised by John Anzalone, who worked on the Obama campaign. [...]

The Financial Times takes a look at the high-profile Washington players brought in to advise Ukraine’s presidential candidates, who are headed for a run-off on Feb. 7. There’s an interesting partisan breakdown between the candidates:

Paul Manafort – a Republican strategist whose firm, Davis, Manafort and Freedman, advised several US presidents – has turned round Mr Yanukovich’s fortunes. Mr Manafort’s team provided strategic advice to Rinat Akhmetov, the country’s richest man, before Mr Akhmetov introduced them to Mr Yanukovich in 2005. They have now helped propel the humiliated loser of the fraud-marred 2004 election into pole position in the country’s first presidential vote since the Orange Revolution.

AKPD Media and Message, founded by David Axelrod, President Barack Obama’s senior adviser, has been helping Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine’s prime minister, who came second in the first round of voting earlier this month. She is also being advised by John Anzalone, who worked on the Obama campaign. […]

The PBN Company, another US group, failed to restore the popularity of Viktor Yushchenko, the outgoing president. Although Mr Yushchenko also received advice from Mark Penn, campaign strategist to Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, his support plunged to about 5 per cent after his triumph in the 2004 Orange Revolution.

Hmm… so the candidate with an ex-Clinton advisor got knocked out in the first round leaving the Obama-associated advisors and the McCain-associated advisors to fight it out. Sounds familiar. It doesn’t appear likely to end the same way, though.

Manafort’s connections to Yanukovych have been a bit embarrassing for the Republicans since the Orange Revolution, which was staunchly supported by both the Bush administration and McCain. But given the Tymoshenko camp’s campaign tactics, it’s not the most savory association for the company to have. Though judging by former AKPD partner David Plouffe’s speaking engagements, this group doesn’t seem too squeamish about it’s acquaintances on the post-Soviet world.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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