Brian Bonner: Ukraine’s Friend & Foe of the Week

Editor’s Note: This feature separates Ukraine’s friends from its enemies. The Order of Yaroslav the Wise has been given since 1995 for distinguished service to the nation. It is named after the Kyivan Rus leader from 1019-1054, when the medieval empire reached its zenith. The Order of Lenin was the highest decoration bestowed by the Soviet Union, whose demise Russian President Vladimir Putin mourns. It is named after Vladimir Lenin, whose corpse still rots on the Kremlin’s Red Square, more than 100 years after the October Revolution he led.

Friend: George Chopivsky

George Chopivsky, a long-time Ukrainian-American business and philanthropic leader, was one of the recipients of the Yaroslav the Wise award during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent trip to America.

The Chopivsky Family Foundation supports many education, culture, religion, information/research, and publishing programs that benefit Ukraine.

Two of Chopivsky’s grandfathers were members of the Cabinet of Ministers in short-lived independent Ukraine after World War I. One of them made his way to the United States but the other one died in a Soviet gulag in Siberia, according to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, which honored him in 2018.

His daughter, Alexa, gave the most authoritative tribute on her Facebook page.

“You were born in a refugee camp in Germany and eventually raised in a small town in Illinois. Through hard work you received scholarships to boarding school, Yale, and Harvard Business School. An entrepreneur, you relished moving to Ukraine after independence and starting an agriculture business based in Poltava, a family region. Your maternal grandfather was a founder and head of the National Bank of Ukraine and paternal grandfather served as minister of economy during the country’s pre-Soviet independence.”

In detail, Alexa Chopivsky credits the 35-year record of Chopivsky Family Foundation in detail, shortened here:

  • a founder of the “Ukraine in Europe” initiative at the Atlantic Council to educate the American public about Ukraine in the context of security issues. It has supported other Washington-based educational groups and think tanks, including the US-Ukraine Foundation, Jamestown Foundation, and Razom;
  • It helped support the early development of the University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Central/Eastern Europe’s oldest university founded in 1632, following the collapse of the Soviet Union; Kyiv’s International Management Institute (MIM), the first internationally recognized business school in Ukraine; and Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU);
  • It established the “Yale Ukraine Initiative” at Yale University;
  • It organized or sponsored numerous concerts and performances by Ukrainian artists abroad;
  • It supported the development of the independent, autocephalic Orthodox Church of Ukraine;
  • It has made possible the publishing of numerous books, including a multivolume history of Ukrainian agriculture, books on political science and IT, novels and collections of prose and poetry, and a highly regarded history of the Kyiv Monastery of the Caves. In parallel, it has consistently supported a Ukrainian young writers organization;
  • It has supported nongovernmental organizations and community groups advocating good government or providing assistance to rural students, and to elderly, disabled, and veterans injured in defending Ukraine against Russian aggression;
  • It has supported the Ukrainian Institute of America and its educational programs have been a significant focus of CFF’s support; and
  • It helped to support Ukraine’s first embassy to the United States following Ukrainian independence in 1991, by housing the embassy in its Washington D.C. offices until a proper embassy building was acquired, an effort it also supported. 

“Your initiative, long-term commitment, and passion are an inspiration – may they always continue,” Alexa Chopivsky wrote, concluding as only an adoring daughter can. “Love you – and am so very proud of you.”

Not only does George Chopivsky win Zelensky’s Yaroslav the Wise award, he wins the Kyiv Post’s recognition — and our own Yaroslav the Wise award — as Ukraine’s friend of the week.

Foe: Vladislav Klyushin

The United States is seeking to extradite the Russian Vladislav Klyushin, 40, arrested in Switzerland in March after his arrival on a private jet for a skiing vacation, on charges that the cybersecurity chief made millions of dollars from corporate hacking.

According to the Times of London on Sept. 3, 2021, FBI investigators say that the Kremlin-connected Klyushin and his accomplices hacked US companies to steal confidential data that they then used to make tens of millions of dollars on stock markets.

The Times reported that Klyushin is the founder of the M13 company, which provides media monitoring and cyber-security services to the Kremlin and Russian government ministries, including the defense ministry, which oversees the military intelligence unit known simply as the GRU. He denies any involvement in either hacking or insider trading.

The article said that Klyushin is believed to be close to Alexei Gromov, a senior presidential administration official who is responsible for ensuring the Kremlin’s control over the media. Gromov, 61, was sanctioned by the US in April for seeking “to exacerbate tensions in the United States by discrediting the 2020 US elections process.”

Russia is seeking the return of Klyushin, who argues that the U.S. charges against him are politically motivated, which would make him ineligible for extradition under Swiss law, according to the Times account.

It’s good that U.S. law enforcement is going after Russia’s top criminal hackers. Klyushin seems to fit the bill. Generally, Russia perfected its global hacking attacks against Ukraine.

So this move is welcome news for Ukraine. For his service to the Russian kleptocracy and criminal state, the Kyiv Post awards Klyushin with the Order of Vladimir Lenin as Ukraine’s foe of the week.

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