Paul Manafort’s criminal trial in the United States has also incriminated his political allies in Ukraine, where Manafort made millions as an operative. But good-government advocates here think Ukrainian authorities will decline to prosecute any officials, fearful of angering Donald Trump — a man whose help they need to keep Russia in check.
“The Ukrainian government will try to ignore this,” Alyona Getmanchuk, director of the Kiev-base New Europe Center, a think tank that promotes European and Western standards in Ukraine, told POLITICO. “Manafort is a person who was close to President Trump, and for whom Trump still may hold some sympathy.”
“They fear losing Trump’s support, or to provoke an unnecessary conflict with the US administration,” she added.
“The situation isn’t stable between the White House and Ukraine — [Kiev] will try to avoid any factor that could weaken their position,” said Getmanchuk.
And the entire Manafort case, dating back to revelations last year, is a “very toxic” factor, Getmanchuk said, adding: “Some lessons have been learned.”
Still, she said, “I hope they will use this case as a pretext to communicate anti-corruption steps in the U.S. — to show that Ukraine is at least a little bit different now.”