Thursday, September 7, 2017

Navahrudak’s Native Sons: A Report from the Kushners’ Belarusian Homeland

Linda Kinstler,

Navahrudak Castle image from
TAMARA VERSHITSKAYA, a local pensioner with thick blonde curls and large blue eyes, clutches a copy of The Miracle of Life: The Story of Rae & Joseph Kushner close to her olive green puffer jacket as she scans Navahrudak’s central square. The small town (called Novogrudok in Russian, Naugardukas in Lithuanian, and Nowogródek in Polish), some 200 kilometers west of Minsk, has been called the “Switzerland of Belarus” for its sloping topography, strong winds, and technicolored wooden homes — brightly painted to evoke the spirit of a happier nation ...

Since November ... Navahrudak’s attention has shifted toward one of its more contemporary prodigal sons, special advisor and son-in-law to President Trump, Jared Kushner, who was presented with a “bag of dirt” and a “piece of art” from the village by lawyer Sergey Gorkov, head of Russia’s state-owned Vnesheconombank, during their much-scrutinized December 13 meeting. In his statement detailing his interaction with Gorkov, Kushner misidentified his ancestral home, calling it “Nvogorod,” which appears to be a misspelling of the Russian city of Novgorod. ...

Tamara ... [:] “Not only should Jared come here,” she says, “but he must.” She mentions that a man from a new think tank called the “Center for Public Diplomacy” had asked her to convey a message to Jared, via Charlie [Charlie Kushner, Jared’s father], to see if the Trump administration would back the organization’s efforts to oust the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, a chocolate magnate who rose to power after Ukraine’s 2014 Maidan Revolution. “They have a lot of support in Russia for this initiative,” she tells me, explaining that she passed along the message to Charlie Kushner. ...

image from

No comments: