Throughout this war, one of the most prolific voices has been the Kyiv Independent. Through both their website and their twitter account they have been posting a nearly endless stream of unconfirmed and often fantastical pro-Ukrainian propaganda. However, despite never offering even a scrap of evidence, they exploded from a few thousand followers before the war to several million now, with millions more following their individual reporters. Their war “reporter” Illia Ponomarenko has even been on Fox News
I was doing a little legwork on their most odious propagandist, the admitted Azov member Ponomarenko (https://twitter.com/IAPonomarenko) and in so doing I have happened upon what I think is clearly a NATO propaganda operation.
I’ll get back to Illia in a moment, but for now we must turn an eye to the paper he works for, the Kyiv Independent. While it is normal on the surface, when you examine the “journalists” they employ, a certain pattern emerges.
Olga Rudenko, Editor-in-Chief:
According to her Linkedin she worked for three years with an organization called “Objective Investigative Reporting Project” as a grant coordinator for “independent Journalists”
A little digging around finds that she is referring to this, of which no unpacking is necessary given as the sidebar tells us what we need to know.
“Launched in July 2013, Objective is a new media development project and joint venture of Niras/BBC funded by the Danish Foreign Ministry. The project will run for four years in seven countries – Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey.”
The question could now be asked of how Miss Rudenko was able to get this grant (and it must have been a significant one, given as it was paying for 3 years of work) so quickly after graduating. Up to this point she was not a particularly distinguished journalist, writing mostly local stories for Kiev papers. Perhaps further investigation would reveal this answer.
She would also at some point, become a fellow of the Wilson Center, another US Government funded think tank for whom she has also written some news articles.
Prior to the Kyiv Post, and later Independent, she would work as a foreign freelancer for a somewhat mysterious, albeit probably mostly benign organization, Associated Reporters Abroad, wherein she wrote stories for various American and overseas press.
Jakub Parusinski, CFO:
The CFO of the Independent, Jakub is a suspiciously young person to be holding such a position graduating college only in 2015. Perhaps he was simply born wealthy, or perhaps he was something else. His training and education seems to be mostly in the field of economics, not media or journalism.
Earlier in his unlife, this vampire managed an office for McKinsey, about which very little needs to be said. The history of McKinsey and US intelligence working together is long and clear.
However, a deeper look shows that he also worked for the International Center for Policy Studies. This is a think tank founded in 1994 by the Open Society Institute, and funded in large part by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, which was founded by the German government and is currently funded by USAID more than any other donor (view page 20)
He also founded the Media Development Foundation with Shevchenko and Rudenko. The MDF is an organization which seems to exist primarily to spread money from the NED, USAID, NATO and Internews (which is itself 90% government funded) to the so called “independent” press of Ukraine.
As you can see from their documents, they are in up to their heads in NATO regime change cash.
Furthermore, this foundation is in bed with most of the rest of the Ukranian English press.
An article about the MDF itself, and it’s influence within Ukranian media, will be forthcoming.
Daryna Shevchenko, CEO:
Her background is very juicy indeed, working for a company called IREX. IREX is a global education and development NGO created by the Ford Foundation and US department of State in 1968 and funded to them to such an extent it’s financial disclosure form says the following:
“IREX receives funds from the U.S. Department of State (DOS), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), other Federal agencies, and private-sector sources. Approximately 86 percent and 90 percent of the funds received in 2020 and 2019 including cost share, respectively, were through awards from the U.S. Government.”
After that, she founded a company called the Media Development Foundation, which works with both the National Endowment for Democracy and the US Embassy in Kiev before getting together with Jakub to found jnomics media, then the Kyiv Independent.
According to her Facebook, she also did a stint at the Institute for the Development of the Regional Press, another NGO with USAID funding, quite openly so in this case.
The intelligence ties of Miss Shevchenko have deeper roots than her comrades, she was working for IREX all the way back in 2011. From there, her pattern of collaboration with the US and NATO regime change agencies continues for her entire career as you can see. A quick perusal of her Facbook also reveals some nationalist ties, laying wreaths on monuments to fascist terrorists all the way back in 2011. She also seems to enjoy reading books by nationalist author Vasyl Shkliar.
Oleksiy Sorokin, COO:
Started as an Intern for Transparency International which, according to it’s own disclosures is funded by the US Department of State, UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the Foreign offices of many other NATO/US aligned states.
He then went straight from that into a COO and editor job after only 3 years experience. This man is also VERY young, only graduating college in 2018. His ties to NATO are not as deep as the rest, although we can say they have deepened considerably now.
Illia Ponomarenko, Azov Member:
Now we’re back to this punk.
Attended a very odd university, Mariupol State Humanitarian University who you can see right on their front page is quite proud of their partnership with USAID. From there, he went straight into working as a “defense reporter” and befriending Nazi militia commanders and becoming one of the most odious propagandists in this war.
The university is a strange tale. Formed only in 1991 and, again, openly USAID funded. Their rector Mykola Trofymenko got the job in 2020 at age 34. The university seems to be very much NATO aligned, as we can see here from Illia’s professor.
This little rat is the reason I started on this journey in the first place, being the least credible propagandist since Baghdad Bob.
What is very credible, however, is his ties to and friendship with Azov. He lacks even the shame to scrub this evidence from his twitter before going on Fox news.
In a new low even for him, on March 27th, 2022, in response to widely circulated videos of Ukranian fascists torturing and kneecapping Russian prisoners, Illia not only made apologies for their crimes, but called for further atrocities.
It has become increasingly clear that Mr. Ponomarenko is a violent, dedicated fascist, who advocates for terrorism, torture and murder on the dime of the United States taxpayer.
This is a work in progress, more will be found, and more will be added.