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Press by
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russia Proposes Medvedchuk as Mediator
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The office of the President of Russia has announced that Viktor Medvedchuk is to act as a mediator in south-eastern Ukraine through his Ukraine's Choice political group. The statement (in English) reads:

Vladimir Putin welcomed the news that the Ukraine’s Choice public movement has started making contacts in Donetsk and Lugansk. Ukraine’s Choice is led by Viktor Medvedchuk, who has consistently supported the idea of federalism in Ukraine. At the same time he is a respected figure in Kiev and is known in the West.

The news has come that Mr Medvedchuk met with representatives of the Donetsk People’s Republic and obtained an agreement to hold a meeting with the OSCE mission in the aim of establishing dialogue between Kiev and southeast Ukraine. Russia supports such a meeting at the ambassador level.

Mr Putin has made repeated statements that the only way to settle the crisis in Ukraine is through peaceful dialogue and taking into account the eastern regions’ interests.

Medvedchuk is a wealthy, pro-Russian Ukrainian businessman believed to have been instrumental in Russian attempts to manipulate Ukrainian politics.

Viktor Medvedchuk (left) is seen with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev (second from left), Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Sochi on August 17.

Medvedchuk sits on far left, with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev in Sochi on August 17, 2013.

His ties to the Russian government are indeed close: Vladimir Putin is the godfather of Medvedchuk's daughter. 

Allegations of Medvedchuk's dealings go a long way back. Notably, he has been accused of paying for a neo-Nazi demonstration during the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election campaign in order to tarnish the image of then opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko.

According to a document purportedly leaked to Ukrainian press last summer, Medvedchuk was a key figure in Russian attempts to manipulate politics. While the Kremlin says that he is a "respected figure in Kiev", his home was torched on the same night that Viktor Yanukovych fled the capital, and, as for "known in the West" - he is on the US sanctions list.