The Mueller Report made clear that Russia tried to influence the 2016 election and that the Trump campaign was open to receiving help from Russian sources.
We may never see the whole story. There is a cast of thousands, probably with each major player pushing their own agenda during the influence campaign and certainly their own brand of disinformation now.
Oleksandr Dubinsky, a former member of the Ukrainian parliament, is in jail in Ukraine awaiting trial on charges of treason. The basis of this charge is that Dubinsky, along with another former member of parliament, Andriy Derkach, and former prosecutor Kostiantyn Kulyk, was working for Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, and “carried out subversive informational activities in favor of the Russian Federation.”
“The main task of this organization [was] to destabilize the sociopolitical situation in Ukraine and discredit our state in the international arena,” the SBU [Ukrainian intelligence agency] statement said. “Perpetrators face up to 15 years with confiscation of property.” [Washington Post]
The United States put the three under sanctions for interfering in the 2016 election.
In December 2019, as the House was drafting impeachment charges against Trump, Giuliani, then the president’s personal lawyer, met with Dubinsky and Derkach in Kyiv while working on a documentary on Ukrainian corruption.
The documentary, aired on the far-right One America News network, sought to counter the charge that Trump abused the power of his office when he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a phone call months earlier to “do us a favor” and launch an investigation into Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company where Hunter Biden had served on the board of directors.
All this is connected to the Burisma oil company and the attempts to get dirt on Hunter Biden. Philip Bump works through some of this detail and adds in a few more Ukrainian names that you may or may not have heard before.
Marcy Wheeler provides more background, in her customary detail.
This story needs more effort to find how it interweaves with US political interests. The problem is that I can’t keep track of all the names and all the activities, and this is in my very online wheelhouse. I’m glad others, particularly Marcy, are working the details, but I wish short and simple explanations were available. In trying to boil things down in this post, I’ve written more than I’d prefer, and what I’ve written is only about the micro aspects of this particular action by the Ukrainian government and the most immediate implications for the election interference story.
The New York Times seems not to have covered Dubinsky’s arrest at all, but they do have a story involving some of the same characters from 2015.