The Coup Plotter

"Askold Will Remain Askold"

As previously reported by the Bandera Lobby Blog, court documents from 2019-20 paint a picture of Askold Lozynskyj, a retired multimillionaire attorney who lives in New Jersey, as the OUN-B’s fixer in the United States. Back in 1998, after Lozynskyj became the president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) and the Ukrainian World Congress, the conservative Ukrainian American columnist Myron Kuropas noted, “Some Ukrainians are of the opinion that given his previous role as the OUN(B) point (some say ‘hit’) man in the United States, Askold will remain Askold.”

Kuropas however held out hope, describing Lozynskyj as “someone I have known (and disagreed with) for decades. He is bright, brash, articulate (often given to demagoguery), thoroughly bilingual and dynamic. I have watched him mature over the years from a firebrand Banderite to a more nuanced Banderite.” Last year, Kuropas conceded to me that he was wrong: “In retrospect I don’t see Askold maturing for the better politically. He seems to still follow Bandera’s dictum that ‘those who are not with us are against us.’ He still seems to push for OUN(B) domination of the Ukrainian American community.”

In 2019, Lozynskyj organized an OUN-B conclave in Chicago’s suburbs determined to take over the Organization for the Defense of the Four Freedoms for Ukraine (ODFFU), including its Manhattan headquarters building. Supported by the OUN-B Leader in Australia, the UCCA, the organized Ukrainian community in Chicago, and the Trumpian elements behind the Suburban Council of Ukrainian Voters in Illinois, the Banderites called the meeting an “extraordinary convention” of the ODFFU. They dubiously declared a new board of directors, which in turn named Lozynskyj, who already has a sizable real estate portfolio, the building manager of ODFFU’s valuable headquarters. (An anonymous complaint submitted to the government of New York State the morning of the “convention” in Illinois alleged that Lozynskyj had “already made an offer” to the OUN-B’s Leader in Australia to purchase the building from the “new board” of ODFFU.) The “convention” sparked a (recently dismissed) inter-ODFFU lawsuit, in which the petitioners accused Lozynskyj, among other things, of threatening tenants to pay their rent to him.

It seems that one way or another Lozynskyj largely succeeded in convincing the tenants to bend the knee. Over a year ago, the petitioners submitted an affidavit by an ODFFU board member which said that Lozynskyj “has been at the forefront of all of their [the so-called new board’s] unlawful activity.” The “old board” member claimed that Lozynskyj and the Banderites—allegedly led in the U.S. by the Center for US-Ukrainian Relations’ Walter Zaryckyj and Mykola Hryckowian, who are leaders of the “new board”—“have acted on their threats and have initiated at least two actions to evict tenants of the ODFFU’s building…”

There are numerous tenants against whom Respondents and Lozynskyj have not yet commenced eviction proceedings, but said tenants are paralyzed with confusion and fear over losing their homes and do not know how to proceed.

Last month, someone from “Team Askold” reached out to me, essentially telling me that I’ve got it all wrong, alleging that the illegality in the building—an “absolute clusterfuck of a situation”—all stems from what Lozynskyj and co. refer to as the “old board” of ODFFU, i.e. those behind the lawsuit. This person, who we will call Bohdan, moved into the building after the “extraordinary convention,” under the impression that Lozynskyj was the legitimate building manager. Soon after moving in, “some guy” told “Bohdan” he had an illegal lease. Lozynskyj then filled him in on the ongoing feud, and Bohdan says, “as I understand it”—i.e. according to Lozynskyj—the “old board” was “pretty negligent in regard to building upkeep” and “engaged in some kind of graft—pocketing rent money instead of putting it back into ODFFU.”

Paying rent to Lozynskyj from the get-go, Bohdan felt that it was the elements in ODFFU opposing Lozynskyj’s take-over and OUN-B domination who were actually trying “to coerce anybody not paying them rent into signing leases with them.”

Because they still had tenants' secutiy [sic] deposits, They [sic] would come in late at night to change locks on recently vacated units and fill them as fast as possible with people paying them rent. They sabotaged our elevator, gas, and heating at one point, they tried to intimidate tenants like myself by saying we were illegal squatters and would be blacklisted from NYC rentals, going so far as to physically assault several of us. They installed cameras in all the hallways and tried to coerce anybody not paying them rent into signing leases with them.

Note: those hyperlinks were included in Bohdan’s email to me. The Google Drive videos were uploaded by UCCA’s communications director, Andrij Dobriansky, whose name will likely ring a bell to subscribers. I thought I recognized his voice in the first video. Also, as noted in my “winter updates,” I think both sides have exaggerated the physical confrontation seen in these videos, especially Lozynskyj, who denounced the “gang of thugs” and “post-Soviet style property raiders” in a notice to ODFFU members titled, “Lying, pilfering, and now assaulting!” I’m sorry I’m repeating myself to subscribers, but I keep coming back to this quote:

We live in unusual times. We used to look out for enemies among others, and often failed to see or recognize our own Ukrainian provocateurs… While community naiveté or complacency is the crux of the problem it is borne of basic kindness and goodness. The community simply does not want to believe that there are crooks, provocateurs and essentially bad people within its ranks… My memo to members of the Ukrainian community — fight your enemies but beware your so called Ukrainian friends. They represent [an] equal if not greater danger.

It’s “funny,” Bohdan said, “to hear both sides talk about the other—lots of old grievances from World War II, accusations of one side or the other being Nazis or Soviet sympathizers. Just a real shit show all around… The source of the drama I think is partly personal… [and] partly to do with negligence/graft. I couldn't say which is the bigger factor but I certainly wouldn't call Askold completely innocent in the situation either— he organized the board vote to grab the building out from under them…”

[M]aybe it was because of the building negligence, maybe the negligence was because of the drama. Either way, in 2019 askold [sic] took the building over in this convention. Most people were indifferent to who managed the building, a number of tenants were hearing they had to pay askold rent while the other side told them to keep paying so they gave the rent money to the county comissioner [sic] or some 3rd party you can do that with… Because of all the bullshit the opposing side has pulled most people are fine with askold and the new regime…

Askold is very ideological... Every conversation with him is like him arguing in a courtroom—lots of big words, very pedantic… He's definitely bad news and I'd be willing to bet that all of the drama in this building was primarily driven by him, even if his pretext was 'valid' he was probably looking for a reason… The talk of graft and negligence in this building could be an overblown pretext concocted by Askold to seize the building but other tenants have confirmed that things were pretty bad so its hard to determine if Askold was acting in the 'interest of the tenants' as he says or it was a way to get back at enemies.”

At some point recently, according to Bohdan, Askold Lozynskyj stepped down as the “building manager” and was succeeded by a man named Walter Lycholat, whose LinkdedIn account describes him as someone with almost 30 years of experience in accounting and business consulting, helping clients to “continue operating their business in a difficult environment.” Lozynskyj’s experience in coup plotting apparently also goes back decades, to the 1980s when, in Myron Kuropas’ words, he served as the “commandant of the so-called ‘OUN(B) Eleven’” who tried and failed to take over the Ukrainian National Association, based in Jersey City, after the Banderites successfully seized control of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America.