Rove in Yalta

Rove in Yalta

[UPDATE: Rove in Hollywood?]

Karl Rove participated in a meeting at Yalta in the Crimea, at the place where Stalin, Churchill and FDR carved up the World in 1945. The Crimea is now part of Ukraine.

The weekend event, held at the Livadia Palace, was the 5th annual YES (Yalta European Strategy) conference. Mr. Rove was a panelist on a Saturday morning plenary session: Elections in Russia and the USA: impact on Ukraine and Europe. The panel, chaired by Richard Haas,  President of the Council on Foreign Relations, also included veteran Democratic speechwriter Bob Shrum.

Mr. Rove is a fugitive from a House Judiciary subcommittee subpoena, which summoned him to testify at a hearing on political interference at the Department of Justice, and is expected to be held in Contempt of Congress. For some unknown reason, Mr. Rove’s lawyer did not inform the House committee staffers that he was scheduled to participate in the YES conference in Ukraine. 

Many of Mr. Rove’s neo-con cronies have been consultants during Ukraine’s elections, bankrolled by financier Rinat Akhmetov, said to be the richest man in Europe (assets: US $31.1 billion). Mr.  Akhmetov is the major funder of the Party of Regions (Partiya Regioniv), the political party of pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor F. Yanukovich.

Prime Minister Yanukovich, from the Russian-speaking Eastern Ukraine, was formerly considered a Putin puppet but is now even more popular than Ukraine President Victor Yushchenko. The American consultants do for Mr. Yanukovich and company what they do for U.S. Republicans: sell oligarchy as populism.

Who are the American lobbyists working for Mr. Yanukovich? You recently heard about one of them, Richard H. “Rick” Davis.  He headed the McCain campaign until he was “outed” as a professional lobbyist and registered agent of a foreign country. Which country? The Republic of Ukraine.

Image by Mike Licht, Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

13 Responses to “Rove in Yalta”

  1. Karl in the Crimea — Rove, not Marx « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] [UPDATE: Rove in Yalta] […]

  2. Lawrence E. Rafferty Says:

    Thanks for the latest chapter in “Where in the World is Karl Rove”. I even saw a couple of pictures on the Yalta conference website. Is it just an accident that Bush BFF Tony Blair is also at this conference??

  3. Mike Licht Says:

    Ukraine wants into the EU in the worst way — that’s really what the conference is supposed to bring about — so politicians from EU countries get a weekend at the castle on the Black Sea.

    The conference is over, and I wonder if Mr. Rove will be meeting with Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych, the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Eduard Prutnik, the former Yanukovych advisor who now heads the State Committee on TV and Radio Broadcasting, other members of the Ukraine Party of Regions , or party benefactor Rinat Akhmetov, richest man in Europe. These are the folks who have been hiring U.S. neo-con cronies to manipulate public sentiment, an on-going task, especially in a country with a parliamentary system of government.

  4. Taras Says:

    Thank you for quoting my blog post on Akhmetov and for exposing the links between Ukrainian oligarchs and the US politicians/lobbyists they hire!

    As a Ukrainian, I should add a few things. Aside from Davis & Manafort, the Beltway Bandits who worked for the Party of Regions in the 2006 and 2007 campaigns, we also have Bill Clinton, who attended the 2007 YES summit as a guest speaker. Both connections resulted in unfavorable publicity for John McCain and Hillary Clinton respectively.

    Although we do have layers of Soviet mentality left in Ukraine, we no longer use the word “republic.” The official name is Україна (Oukra-yina) in Ukrainian, or Ukraine in English.

    Yanukovych is currently the opposition leader. (He was PM last summer, during the 2007 early parliamentary election campaign.) Our current PM is Yulia Tymoshenko:)

  5. Mike Licht Says:


    Thanks for the update. As you can see from my reply to Lawrence, I have since been to the Party of Regions website, which now has the flashing word “Opposition” in the corner. The US government FARA documents for the Republican Neo-Con political operatives alternately list the Ukraine PM and the party as the foreign contractors, and now I know why.

    I’m curious about your comments on the YES conference, which seems non-partisan. Is it the creature of one Ukrainian faction or another? It seems more pro-EU than I understand the Party of Regions to be.

  6. Rove in Hollywood? « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] NotionsCapital Ideas on Events and Culture from Washington, DC « Rove in Yalta […]

  7. Taras Says:

    YES operates as a pet project of billionaire Viktor Pinchuk, son-in-law of Ukraine’s autocratic former president Leonid Kuchma. Both supported pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovych in the rigged 2004 presidential election.

    So much for any pretense of promoting a strictly European future for Ukraine.

    After marrying Kuchma’s daughter, then-millionaire Pinchuk has risen to the rank of Ukraine’s second-richest man, with a net worth of $8.8B. Following the Orange Revolution, Pinchuk has capitalized on his Western-ness, charitable activities, and financial clout to befriend President Yushchenko, who had publicly accused Pinchuk of stealing Kryvorizhstal.

    (“Western-ness” means being perhaps the only Ukrainian oligarch who speaks some English and hasn’t missed a single Davos forum since the Orange Revolution, betrayed by Yushchenko.)

    This year’s YES summit saw Pinchuk praise his family ties with Kuchma, who participated in the event, offering his musings and opinion.

    Recently, Pinchuk promised to gradually commit half of his wealth to philanthropic causes. He views himself as moving toward a 50/50 ratio between business and philanthropy.

    Knowing that his wife, Olena Franchuk, reportedly paid £80M for a record-priced mansion in London, it remains unclear how long it will take him to reach that goal.

    Go to Pinchuk-Franchuk charity sites and see if you can find numbers that match the above sum:

  8. Mike Licht Says:

    Taras: Thanks for the details. It seems odd to an outsider that the founder of the pro-EU YES organization should also have close financial and political ties to Russia, but this probably stems from the paucity of coverage by the US press. Things are a lot more complex in Ukraine than we are led to believe.

  9. Знаменка Says:

    Ukraine is a difficult country to understand political processes there.

  10. Mike Licht Says:

    Знаменка Says: Ukraine is a difficult country to understand political processes there.

    I’ll say. Even political alignments are difficult to understand from a distance. If we hear anything in the U.S. it is that Eastern Ukraine is closer to Russia, Western Ukraine is closer to the EU, but there seem to be cross-cutting distinctions for each particular issue.

  11. Mike Licht Says:

    Newsweek caught up with Mr. Rove, too.

  12. Andy Frederickson Says:

    What a great post! – and informative comments.
    My fantasy about what really happened …
    Karl Rove, Georgian President Saakashvili and other Machiavellians, met 4 weeks prior to Georgia’s “initiative” in South Ossetia and agreed that forcing out the big bear’s “peace keeping” forces would be a “stunning” show of resolve for Georgia, the US and John Mccain.
    Selecting the week of the Olympics would serve to distract Russia’s attention to the east instead of the south and help Georgia accomplish a decades (if not centuries) old dream.
    Unfortunately, the plan went terribly wrong and the big bad bear smacked them down, humiliating the US and, if ever discovered, will sink the Mccain presidential campaign and put Karl Rove behind bars for practicing foreign relations without a brain.

  13. Mike Licht Says:

    Andy Frederickson: While it is true that Georgian President Saakashvili and Karl Rove were at the same conference, we do not know that they met privately together, and they were not on the same panels. The conference, in fact, is funded by a Ukrainian billionaire with many ties to Russia, and Russian politicians (Boris Nemtsov) and officials (Viktor Spasskiy, Anatoliy Shcherbakov, Sergey Zavorotnyi, Kostyantyn Gryshchenko) attended.

    Bob Shrum and Mr. Rove spoke about elections in the USA and Eastern Europe. Is it conceivable that Mr. Rove and President Saakashvili spoke? Certainly. Is it possible that Mr. Rove carried informal messages from the White House to Saakashvili? Far from proven.

    If Georgia was hung out to dry by the US, it was sandbagged by previous statements of support from President bush, just like the Kurds of Iraq were sandbagged by similar empty statements by previous administrations.

    I for one do not know what prompted Georgia to fire rockets at Russian positions in Ossetia. In fact, I wonder if some independent Georgian forces or individual commander did not do it. That is certainly possible with that type of ordnance.

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