From Paul Manafort to Donald Trump’s fateful phonecall

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Editor’s note (October 10th 2019): Shortly after this report was published two people mentioned in it, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested at Dulles airport outside Washington, DC. They have been charged with funnelling foreign money to American political candidates and a pro-Trump election committee.

VIKTOR YANUKOVYCH, out of office, found himself in a bind. Having become prime minister of Ukraine in 2002, he had expected to be elected president in December 2004. The official count in the election had borne out his expectation. But thousands of orange-clad demonstrators had subsequently taken to the streets of Kiev to protest that the tally had been rigged. The Supreme Court ordered a recount. The result was overturned.

Post-Soviet Ukraine was just 13 years old, and adrift. A home to hardline Communists and ardent…

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