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U.S. Campaign Advisors Influence Ukraine's Election
Citizens in the Ukraine are starting to see American-style campaign sloganeering and other tactics in the race between their Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, and her main rival, Viktor Yanukovich, for the office of President. Tymoshenko's banners, billboards and posters bear slogans like "They talk, she works," "They promise, she works," and "They betray, she works." The ad campaign is significant because it is the product of the American political consulting firm AKP&D Message & Media, the company founded by President Obama's chief advisor, David Axelrod. Axelrod's son, Michael, still works for the firm. Mr. Yanukovich is being advised by Paul Manafort, a Republican strategist from the firm Davis, Manafort & Freedman, Inc., which has advised several U.S. presidents. Ukraine's outgoing president, Victor Yushenko, received American-style help and campaign advice from Hillary Clinton's campaign strategist, Mark Penn, who was president of the big American PR firm, Burson-Marsteller. The Ukraine is a gold mine for big American political firms, since it is one of the largest countries in Europe, has obscure and weakly-enforced campaign laws, and the major Ukrainian political parties are backed by big businesses, with money to finance professional campaigns.