Putin has said he wants to rid his western neighbor of Nazis, and we know that Nazis exist in Ukraine because an entire military unit – the Azov Battalion – is rife with neo-Nazis. He also has said that Ukraine moving more toward NATO and the West is a national security issue for him and Russia – just like it would be for the U.S. if Mexico was attempting to move into a Russian or Chinese-led security alliance. And he spent the better part of the 2000s attempting to move closer to the West and its institutions, only to be rebuffed and see former Soviet satellite nations move into NATO.
Putin isn't "crazy" and he's not a "madman" – he has legitimate concerns about the safety and security of his country.
By the same token, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is no saint, either. Before the war, his country was seen as one of the most corrupt in Europe – and after all, let's not forget that a major Ukrainian energy company paid Hunter Biden, a lawyer with no energy company experience, millions of dollars to sit on its board of directors (so that they could cozy up to Joe Biden, the then vice president who just conveniently became president a few short years later).
And now, others in Europe are asking legitimate questions as to how this former comedic actor could amass a fortune of some $850 million in such a short period of time.
The site Europe Reloaded noted: "Last year, a Pandora Papers leak revealed that Zelensky, who campaigned on promises to 'break the system' of oligarchic control and corruption in Ukraine (ER: to our knowledge, the very opposite has happened), set up a spider web of offshore companies in 2012. Zelensky's office justified the move by saying they were a form of 'protection' against former President Viktor Yanukovych.
"Zelensky has a fortune: various estimates put his wealth at around $850 million. He amassed most of it after taking office as president. Where does the money come from? And more importantly, where is it going?" the Forum For Democracy, a Dutch organization, asked on Twitter.
Zelensky bezit een fortuin: verschillende schattingen komen uit rond de 850 miljoen. Het grootste deel hiervan kreeg hij pas na zijn aantreden als president. Waar komt dat geld dan vandaan? En belangrijker nog: waar gaat het heen? #FVD pic.twitter.com/32MktnPsXJ
— Forum voor Democratie (@fvdemocratie) April 25, 2022
The Dutch hardline Eurosceptic party has condemned Zelensky for speaking to the country's parliament, pleading for assistance in his effort to defend against Russian aggression. The group claimed that the speech was a violation of nearly two centuries worth of tradition forbidding foreign heads of state from directly addressing Dutch lawmakers in the chamber. Also, the party has criticized "Zelensky's ban on political parties, including the main opposition party, and the shuttering of TV channels critical of his regime."
Europe Reloaded added: "Ilya Kiva, a Ukrainian opposition lawmaker who was stripped of his mandate last month, alleges that 'hundreds of millions of dollars' are being wired to accounts controlled by the president's office, where they are being plundered, not just by Zelensky and his staff, but by 'Western politicians who get kickbacks for their [countries'] assistance.' Kiva has suggested that Zelensky's earnings have recently jumped to about '$100 million a month."
The site also noted that Zelensky and his family have offshore accounts and financial stakes in the Kvartal 95 television entertainment company, which he co-founded in 2003, as well as "a 25 percent stake in the Maltex Multicapital Corp., a tax shelter in the British Virgin Islands, through a separate Belize-registered shell company, Film Heritage, according to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project."
In short, it seems as though Zelensky is just as dirty as most other Ukrainian politicians ripping off their countrymen and women.
Why, then, does this man deserve our financial and military support?