If U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland recently reiterated that Washington has spent $5 billion on “democracy promotion” in Ukraine over the past 20 years, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) openly acknowledges that “Over the last 20 years USAID has provided $1.8 billion in critical development assistance in support of the Ukrainian people.”
That seems an artificially low figure as USAID accounts for almost all non-military foreign aid, although the State Department directly and through respective embassies as well as the U.S. Congress-funded National Endowment for Democracy and its main affiliates, the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, work hand-in-glove with USAID in most instances in “democracy promotion.” (Chicago-based scholar Kim Scipes estimates that the National Endowment for Democracy spent $2,830,959 in Ukraine in 2013.)
The White House and State Department also, if you will, outsource some of the latter work to assorted non-governmental organizations and think tanks like Freedom House, the Heritage Foundation, the Brookings Institution. the Hudson Institute, etc. After the 2004-2005 “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine, then-U.S. Congressman Ron Paul demanded a congressional investigation into funding for it. Nothing more was heard about such an investigation; presumably Paul was the only one of 535 congressmen and senators who took objection to the “revolution” and the means used to effect it.
It is to assume that USAID is a “force multiplier” for other American governmental and so-called NGO (more often than not receiving government funding) advocacy groups; as well as from the European Union and individual member states thereof.
According to the USAID/Ukraine web site, “USAID/Ukraine implements a focused development assistance program to support: more participatory, transparent, and accountable governance….” That is, something the U.S. does not practice at home but will foster abroad when, and only when, it can contribute to overthrowing governments the U.S. wants overthrown.
Its website also says:
USAID is working to help Ukraine continue on a path of democratic development. Working with the Ukrainian and Crimean parliaments, USAID supports improvements to the legislative process and increased public engagement and accountability. USAID programs strengthen the rule of law through improved judicial accountability and independence, and established networks of advocacy organizations and legal clinics that increase access to justice in the areas of healthcare, employment and property rights.
Its funded programs span a wide range of initiatives, but include:
Fair, Accountable, Independent and Responsible (FAIR) Justice Program
Access to Justice and Legal Empowerment Program (LEP)
Ukraine Electoral Law Reform Program
Strengthening Civil Society in Ukraine Project
Regarding the last, USAID says:
“USAID’s civil society program in Ukraine helps foster civic activism, boosts reforms, and builds sustainable NGOs. The Ukraine National Initiatives to Enhance Reforms (UNITER) project strengthens the capacity of leading Ukrainian NGOs and community leaders to better represent citizens’ interests and drive Ukraine’s reform agenda through more effective advocacy, monitoring and activism. The project assists NGOs to increase citizen participation in policy-making, establish legal frameworks that govern civil society and improve the institutional and financial viability of NGOs across the country.”
Again, this is exactly the sort of “grassroots” democracy that is non-existent and fought by the government at every turn in the U.S. itself.
USAID also says:
“USAID programs promote political processes that lead to more representative and accountable governance. These include training for political party activists and locally elected officials to improve communication with civic groups and citizens, and the development of NGO-led advocacy campaigns on electoral and political process issues….
Domestic Oversight of Political Processes in Ukraine Program
The goal of this activity is to improve Ukraine’s electoral process and its corresponding legislation to better reflect the will of the Ukrainian people. The activity will achieve this goal by improving the integrity of Ukrainian elections through domestic monitoring, supporting development and implementation of relevant legislation that is inclusive, transparent and conforms to European standards, and increasing the organizational and technical capacity of the Civic Network OPORA.”
OPORA a variation of Pora, the “youth group” created for the “Orange Revolution” in 2004, modeled after and organized by Otpor (now CANVASS) in Serbia and Kmara in Georgia (the 2003 “Rose Revolution”).
From the OPORA website:
“The Civil Network ‘OPORA’ is a non-governmental, non-political and financially independent nationwide network of public activists. We have teamed up to enhance public participation in the political process by developing and implementing models of citizens’ influence on the activities of state and local government in Ukraine.
We work to develop civil society in Ukraine as the foundation of a sovereign, independent, democratic, social and legal state.
Strategic objectives of the Civil network ‘OPORA’:
Ensure the openness and transparency of state and local government in Ukraine
Support and develop the social groups and environments at local communities, their association in the nationwide network of cooperation and communication.
Develop and implement the innovative training system of community activists.
Priority areas of CN OPORA:
Educational policy – development and testing of integrated public observation mechanisms for independent external testing (EIT) and admission to higher education during all phases of the process.
Municipal policy – development and implementation of the effective institutionalized model for condominiums’ organization in Ukraine.
Election process – providing a comprehensive long-term monitoring and analysis of the electoral process and program activities of political parties in Ukraine, observations during the elections.
Forms and methods of our work:
Monitoring and public control (watch-dog activity)
Research and policy analysis
Law education and human rights of citizens
Social media lobbying
Protection of rights and public interests….”
The following is from USAID Country Development Strategy 2012-2016 for Ukraine:
“Ukraine is the largest country wholly in Europe and shares a 1000‐mile border with the southwestern part of Russia. This geographic location between Russia and the European Union, (and the home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet) gives Ukraine particular strategic importance.”
“Viktor Yanukovych was elected in a February 2010 Presidential election judged free and fair by the international community.”
“Fostering Ukraine’s integration into Europe remains a major diplomacy goal of the USG. As Ukraine progresses along a path toward Europe, opportunities will arise to leverage EU commitments to advance democratic, economic, and social reforms critical to meeting USAID development objectives.”
“USAID provides the largest amount of donor support to the Verkhovna Rada, and coordinates closely with other donors involved in strengthening the Parliament of Ukraine, including the Westminster Foundation and the European Commission’s Ukraine‐Legal Policy Advice Centre.”
“USAID is also the largest donor in providing support to political parties and election observation, whereas private foundations engage parties on a limited basis, pairing Ukrainian parties with ideologically like‐minded political parties in counties for small‐scale training assistance. USAID collaborates with the Canadian International Agency for Development (CIDA), the German Embassy, the British Embassy, the Council of Europe, the European Commission, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to support political processes, political party development, and elections in Ukraine. USAID’s programming focuses on improving parties’ responsiveness to citizen needs. USAID operation in Europe (OSCE) to support political processes, political party development, and elections in Ukraine. USAID’s programming focuses on improving parties’ responsiveness to citizen needs. USAID ration in Europe (OSCE) to support political processes, political party development, and elections in Ukraine. USAID’s programming focuses on improving parties’ responsiveness to citizen needs. USAID also provides significant support – along with CIDA, the German Embassy, and OSCE Office for Democratic Initiatives and Human Rights (ODIHR) – to long‐term and short‐term election monitoring to ensure that fair, transparent and inclusive elections take place.”