Lazarenko Will Lead Political Party In Ukraine Election–From Prison

SAN FRANCISCO, USA -- Campaigning for Ukraine’s parliamentary election in October kicked off this week, but the leader of one party is going to be hampered in his efforts to attract votes — he’s in a federal prison near Los Angeles.

Pavlo Lazarenko

Former Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko — who was convicted of money laundering by a U.S. court in 2004 — was named Thursday at the head of the Hromada party’s list of candidates for the election.

“Our party has a clear program for the rebirth of Ukraine,” Hromada’s website quoted Mr. Lazarenko as saying.

Interfax news agency reported last year that Mr. Lazarenko will be released on Nov. 1, four days after the election.

Mr. Lazarenko and his party still enjoy some popularity in his home region of Dnipropetrovsk in the east of the former Soviet republic, where some party members hold seats on local councils.

His party is unlikely, however, to cross the 5% threshold to make it into parliament.

For years, opponents have used his name to remind Ukrainians of the rampant lawlessness that ravaged the country in the 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

If and when Mr. Lazarenko arrives back in Ukraine, he may receive a cooler welcome than he seems to be hoping for.

Prosecutors have said they want to question him over alleged financial crimes and involvement in a murder.

Source: The Wall Street Journal