My plan to save Leonid Kuchma
"There will be little chance that the trail of blood can be followed to your door." — Lubomyr Prytulak
Related to the topic of contract killings under the Kuchma administration in Ukraine is the Lubomyr Prytulak essay, Ukrainian assassins — Come forward! Any of the "eliminated" assassins mentioned below who had heeded my advice to come forward would be alive today, and heroes, instead of unknown murderers who had been shot in the back of the head by other murderers.
Also related to the topic of Leonid Kuchma's rule over Ukraine is the story of how George Soros got him the job.
June 4, 2000
Leonid Kuchma, President
vul. Bankova, 7
My plan to save you ...
Recent press reports indicate that former Prime Minister — in your administration — Pavlo Lazarenko has been indicted in the United States on 31 criminal counts, including conspiracy, money laundering, transporting stolen property, and having stolen $114 million. If convicted on all counts, Lazarenko could face a sentence of up to 370 years in prison.
Among the pieces of evidence that Pavlo Lazarenko had illegitimate sources of income bolstering his $3,000 annual Prime Minister's salary is that he paid $6.75 million in cash for a California estate that had 41 rooms including a ball room, five swimming pools, five dog kennels, two helicopter landing pads, and gold doorknobs. (Next door to Mr. Lazarenko's California estate is that of his sidekick, Peter Kyrytschenko — perhaps you also have heard of him?) One wonders if some of this California wealth might not have come out of the pockets of the Ukrainian people, whose economy is not prospering nearly as well these days as they might wish.
The immediate problem before you is that should any trial of Pavlo Lazarenko take place in the United States, then it may happen that evidence will be presented that Pavlo Lazarenko was only one gangster in an administration of gangsters — your administration — and that as a result of your being unmasked in an American court of law as being a gangster little different from Pavlo Lazarenko, your prestige will fall even lower than it is today, and you will stand in even greater danger of spending your last days in prison.
For this reason, it is important that you take some preventative action to avoid the growing danger to yourself and to the other members of your clan. What has to be done is obvious. You must get Pavlo Lazarenko out of the United States and into Ukraine before this American trial of him can begin. Once Lazarenko is in Ukraine, I am sure you will know what to do with him.
And of course there is only one way to get Pavlo Lazarenko out of the United States — it is to present the image of a mafia-prosecuting Ukrainian government which has amassed evidence of much greater Lazarenko crimes than he is charged with in the United States, such that the Ukrainian claim to him will take precedence over the American claim. In other words, to save yourself, your prosecutors must suddenly (you have left the matter to the last minute) charge Pavlo Lazarenko with crimes so horrendous that the American government will be persuaded to drop its case against him and to extradite him to Ukraine instead.
There are two obstacles to this plan succeeding. One is that Ukraine has no extradition treaty with the United States, but perhaps this means only that the United States is not obligated to extradite Pavlo Lazarenko, but may still do so if it chooses. Thus, this obstacle may be one that can be removed. However, the second obstacle is less easily removed. That second obstacle is that Ukraine is a land where the government and various mafia clans take turns robbing the Ukrainian people on a daily basis, where journalists and even members of parliament are beaten and kidnapped, where contract killings are commonplace — and where the justice system stands by and does nothing. The obstacle, then, is that nobody is going to believe that Ukraine intends to prosecute Pavlo Lazarenko. As Ukraine has never prosecuted any mafia chieftain, never has recovered any stolen millions, never has jailed any corrupt politician, never has solved a single contract killing — then the American government may find itself wondering why Ukraine insists on starting to do so with Pavlo Lazarenko who is in jail in California, and not with any of the hordes of others who are nearer at hand. And so, this picture of Ukrainian justice as a frail spider web which catches some small insects but lets all the big ones escape is indeed a very great obstacle to getting the United States to drop its case against Lazarenko, and hand him over to Ukraine. The American recognition that your administration is almost as afraid of Lazarenko spilling the beans in a Ukrainian court as it is afraid of him spilling the beans in an American court will add to the American incredulity at your story of intending to prosecute him in Ukraine.
So, the plan of extraditing Lazarenko to Ukraine has a good chance of not working, but what the heck — you have no options, so you may as well try it!
... which you obviously don't need!
But as the newspapers continue to cover the unfolding Lazarenko story, I begin to see that you do not need my advice, as you have already begun following the very course of action that I am recommending. The United States charging Pavlo Lazarenko with the theft of $114 million is small potatoes compared to Ukraine requesting extradition so that it can charge him with the theft of $700 million — here was a shrewd move on your part which begins to demonstrate why you are President of Ukraine and others are not! And of course as the United States does not charge Lazarenko with murder, then it is an even stronger move on your part to suddenly request extradition for Lazarenko's having arranged at least three contract killings, including that of Ukrainian legislator Yevhen Shcherban together with his wife in 1996, and with plotting to assassinate two other high-ranking government officials — finding time to do all this, one notes with admiration, even while carrying out the duties of Prime Minister in your administration. Your discovery of a group of 20 assassins who managed to kill about 20 victims is just the sort of concrete detail which could help convince the American government that Ukraine had indeed set out on a course of serious mafia-cleansing — and how fortunate for you and for your clan that someone has taken the trouble to "eliminate" most of these 20 assassins — that way, there will be little chance that the trail of blood can be followed to your door.
Too bad that the new assassins who eliminated those twenty old assassins now themselves have to be eliminated, and that once anyone sets out on a course of bloodshed, he discovers that there is no stopping.
But to return to the immediate Lazarenko problem, it seems that you have evaluated the situation correctly — certainly I can do no better — and that you are not in need of my advice. I send you my analysis anyway, merely to reassure you that you are on the right track, and to remind you that there are people even on the other side of the globe who think of you.