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As Ukrainian oligarch sues lobbyist over Trump inauguration tickets, US media cry ‘RUSSIA!’

As Ukrainian oligarch sues lobbyist over Trump inauguration tickets, US media cry ‘RUSSIA!’
What does an Ukrainian tycoon suing an Ukrainian-born lobbyist over access to Trump inauguration have to do with Russia? Nothing, unless you’re a mainstream US media outlet, in which case it’s – everything.

Pavel Fuks, a real-estate developer from the Ukrainian city of Kharkov, apparently really wanted VIP access to President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, and paid $200,000 to Ukrainian-born lobbyist Yuri Vanetik to arrange it. Fuks is now suing Vanetik in a federal court in California, saying the lobbyist cheated him out of the money.

Vanetik says the money was at least in part a payment for legal work on behalf of Gennady A. Kernes, the mayor of Kharkov, and not for the inauguration – because foreigners are not allowed to buy tickets, you see. He is disputing the allegations and says he will counter-sue.

So how did this story come to the attention of the New York Times? Because it is never specified that Vanetik was born in Ukraine (at least if one hasn’t bothered to read his Wall Street Journal piece from back in April), and Fuks is described as “Ukrainian-Russian” because he has done business in Moscow – including, reportedly, interest in the Trump Tower project that never came to pass.

“The lawsuit sheds new light on efforts to accommodate foreign politicians and business executives who sought to attend Mr. Trump’s inauguration to press their agendas, curry favor or make influential connections with the incoming administration,” the Times explains to its readers, in what seems like an effort to shoehorn the story into the prevailing Narrative of Trump’s “Kremlin ties.”

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That narrative has run rampant for the past three years, fueled by cable news hosts, members of Congress and celebrity activists, who refuse to quit even after special counsel Robert Mueller admitted there was no “there” there, and never had been.

Time and again, the US press has declared tenuous connections between Trump campaign officials and Ukrainians as proof of “Russian” involvement. Even as the mainstream US media insist that Ukrainians are a distinct nation totally different from Russia, they continue to treat them as interchangeable, constantly.

Back in January, the Times was forced to issue an embarrassing correction when it claimed that Trump’s campaign was passing polling data to Oleg Deripaska, “a Russian oligarch close to the Kremlin,” when the actual recipients were revealed to be “Ukrainian oligarchs, Serhiy Lyovochkin and Rinat Akhmetov.”

Political consultant Konstantin Kilimnik – once an employee of the US International Republican Institute – was sensationally described as “Russian-Ukrainian” and even “assessed” by the FBI to be a Russian spy, based on where he went to school. Now the same treatment is being meted out to Vanetik and Fuks. Yet Vanetik immigrated to the US from what was then the Soviet Union, and Fuks recently told Ukrainian media he refused Russian citizenship.

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