When I went to look round President Viktor Yanukovych’s former estate, on a mild Sunday in October, the so-called Museum of Corruption was full of visitors. Children clambered onto giant his-and-hers thrones set up opposite the mansion; couples swooned over Italianate gardens; people solemnly fed alpacas. The Trump impeachment inquiry had recently begun. The editor of the Mirror Weekly, Julia Mostovaya, wrote that both Democrats and Republicans in the US were once again using Ukraine to play ‘domestic political golf’ with little regard for the country’s own interests – including its need, in the light of ongoing Russian aggression, to stay in the good graces of both American parties.
Over two decades, the self-help organisation NXIVM recruited more than 16,000 members to its various training programmes with promises of empowerment and ‘self-actualisation’. It was based in Albany, New York, but its reach stretched across the United States and beyond. At the centre of it all was Keith Raniere, a self-proclaimed ‘genius’ and Ayn Rand acolyte who was convicted last week of crimes including racketeering, child pornography, forced labour and sex trafficking.
Click here to read an expanded, updated version of this piece in the latest issue of the paper. While in Washington, DC, negotiations over a border wall remain at an impasse, a case is unfolding in a federal district courtroom in Brooklyn that casts President Trump’s ambition in a new light. Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman stands accused of running Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, and trafficking billions of dollars’ worth of drugs into the United States.