What do you do when the European Union has put you on its list of sanctioned individuals? For former Ukrainian Revenue and Tax Minister Oleksandr Klymenko, the answer was take to YouTube and post a video Monday with some questionable acting.
The video, titled “Revolving Doors,” starts with a man telling Klymenko that the allegations against him are “purely political.” The two men then turn to a series of doors marked (in English) EU Council, EU Commission and European Court of Human Rights. As soon as they step through the doors they end up right back where they started.
Klymenko served as the revenue and tax minister under former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Yankovych fled Ukraine in February 2014 after months of protests in Kiev over his refusal to sign an association agreement with the EU. Both the EU and U.S. lobbied for sanctions against certain highly placed Ukrainian and Russian individuals and companies following the annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and have since renewed their sanctions.
Speaking in Russian at the end of the video, Klymenko argues that he has “exhausted legal remedies” and has “no hope for objectivity from Ukrainian law enforcement." Klymenko was added the EU’s sanctions list in April 2014. The U.S. has not sanctioned him.
Klymenko’s assets remain frozen until at least March 2016, when the EU will again review its sanctions decisions. The Ukrainian government also issued a warrant for his arrest, according to local newspaper the Kyiv Post.
On his website, Klymenko has an entire section devoted to other videos and has called for “reconciliation instead of war” in Ukraine.
Klymenko’s public campaign comes at a moment when Ukrainian officials fear that Russian airstrikes in Syria would distract Western governments from the situation in Ukraine. The war in the eastern Donbass region has taken the lives of more than 8,000 people and left more than 1.4 million people displaced. Russia continues to deny any direct military involvement in the war. Yanukovych took refuge in Russia following his overthrow.