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The Broken Shokin theory
Anti-corruption activists around the world opposed the Ukrainian Prosecutor General precisely to fight corruption, not to help Hunter Biden
The 2016 firing of Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin is the centerpiece, really the only piece, of tangible action suggesting that Joe Biden sold his office to benefit his son Hunter. It is true that Biden pressured the Ukrainians to get rid of Shokin. It is also true that 2 months after the demand, which Joe bragged about years later, the Ukrainian parliament ousted Shokin. After a George Constanza-type interegnum (just pretend it didn’t happen ) Shokin did leave.
It is also true that Burisma, the company that Hunter Biden worked for was corrupt, and may have been in the cross hairs of a prosecutor who was truly interested in rooting out corruption.
What is not proved is that Hunter, his business partner Devon Archer, and Burisma leadership genuinely thought of Viktor Shokin as a threat, rather than an official in their back pocket. It’s not even proved that Shokin actually was set to bring any charges against Burisma. But there is one demonstrable fact in the story of the firing of Viktor Shokin that Joe Biden’s antagonists have been trying present as something less than a fact; that Shokin was well known, the world over, as a corrupt influence and obstacle to justice in Ukraine.
To fairly lay out the case of those advancing this notion I link to Miranda Devine’s NY Post article:
Devine reports, backed up to some extent by a memo unearthed by the John Solomon-run web sight Justthenews.com, that the European Union and State Department were more in carrot than stick mode at the time Joe Biden visited Ukraine in late 2015. Nevertheless, Biden deviated from the game plan and demanded Shokin’s ouster.
Whatever the state of strategizing around the question of how to deal with the anti-corruption prosecutor who didn’t want to prosecute corruption, Victor Shokin was well known as an obstacle to reform within Ukraine. What to do about it was more of an open question. Maybe you cajole him. Maybe you nudge him. Maybe you threaten him. Maybe you attack the problem with big hugs and little punches. Or maybe, as Joe Biden did, you put him in the cross hairs. But whatever the tactic, there was no doubt that Shokin was actively thwarting justice.
At the time of Shokin’s initial and then ultimate ouster there were scads of public statements from officials in Ukraine, the U.S., the E.U., and the IMF, describing Shokin as corrupt and his dismissal as an opportunity for reform. Here’s a typical headline from those who cared the most and were most in-the-know at the time:
Before Biden premised aid on the dismissal of Shokin, Ukrainian activists made the case, in the most fiery terms possible, that Shokin was corrupt. Anti-corruption activists burned Shokin in effigy in 2015.
Protesters offered a literally scorching denunciation of the prosector amid signs that read "One Hand Washes the Other Hand" and “The General Prosecutors Office of Ukraine - it is the place of Crime."
Months later, a caravan of a hundred or so anti-corruption protesters descended on the home of Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko, as documented in a tweet by the Economist’s Ukraine correspondent.
In the same month of these protests U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland testified before congress. She did not mention Shokin by name but called out the office.
One month prior, the United States’ ambassador to Ukraine did specifically criticize Shokin as needing to enact reforms within his office and bring needed prosecutions.
“Rather than supporting Ukraine’s reforms and working to root out corruption, corrupt actors within the Prosecutor-General’s Office are making things worse by openly and aggressively undermining reform".”
The ambassador’s urging were for naught. The very deputy prosecutor he cited as a source of much needed reforms…
…resigned in frustration a few months later, calling Shokin’s office a “hotbed of corruption.”
Kasko wasn’t the first internationally respected reformer within the government who resigned in order to raise red flags over the rot within the Prosecutor General’s office.
With So Much Evidence, You’ve got to Admit that There’s Some Evidence. Right?
Apparently you don’t. Miranda Devine argues that “Joe Biden has said (Shokin) was corrupt. There’s just no evidence that he was corrupt. He allowed all his minions to sew that lie among the rest of the mainstream media.”
In fact, Viktor Shokin was indisputably, demonstrably, plainly an enemy of reform. To assert this among the cohort of those who knew and cared about such matters would be as as controversial as declaring that Ukranians like to drink or that Vladamir Putin isn’t that cuddly a guy. Shokin’s refusal to prosecute corruption was itself a source of corruption, it corrupted the system and it perverted justice.
Shokin, in an interview on Fox last month described the aforementioned protests, burnings, criticisms, and resignations by saying, “This is how it was: There were no complaints whatsoever, no problems with how I was performing at my job.” I guess if you’re salivating for a Biden impeachment, you’ll just have to take his word for it.
Not Because of Hunter
So many many many many entities called out Shokin for his misdeeds, because they were unignorable at the time. These international organizations and internal corruption opponents did not care about, or possibly even know about Hunter Biden and his relatively meager sinecure as one advisor within one company later reveled to be corrupt. The international community decried Shokin out of the genuine and well-documented belief that he was was thwarting reform in a society desperate for it. Then Joe Biden actually did something about it, and when he did the most serious people who most loathed Ukrainian corruption were exhilarated to see it happen.
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