Alex Oronov
Credit: alex.oronov.9/Facebook

So far, I cannot discover why or how Ukranian-born millionaire Alex Oronov died on March 2nd. If you want to know why I am trying to figure this out, you should read Josh Marshall’s excellent piece on Trump’s longtime consigliere, Michael Cohen, whose brother is married to Oronov’s daughter.

It’s fatiguing to even contemplate trying to put all the pieces together here. It’s a labyrinth filled with mirrors.

At some point, I may make the effort, but for now it’s enough to just lay this out in the most basic terms.

Alex Oronov is dead. He was the father-in-law to Michael Cohen’s brother.

According to Ukrainian parliamentarian Andrii Artemenko, it was his relationship with Mr. Oronov that enabled him to set up a meeting in late January with Michael Cohen at the “Loews Regency, a luxury hotel on Park Avenue in Manhattan.”

In that meeting, Mr. Artemenko was joined by former Trump Organization employee Felix Sater, a known mobster and FBI informant. They presented Mr. Cohen with some kind of dossier that included a peace plan for settling territorial disputes between Russia and Ukraine, as well as allegedly compromising information on the current president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, that they hoped would force his resignation.

Mr. Cohen took their peace plan and their compromising information and forwarded it on to then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

After news of this meeting was reported in the New York Times, the Ukrainian lawmaker Mr. Artemenko was accused of committing treason at home. And after his friend Mr. Oronov suddenly died on March 2nd, Mr. Artemenko took at least partial blame, writing on Facebook:

I have always thought, and continue to think, of myself as a strong person. However, what is presently unfolding in my life is a true endurance test, not only in matters of political action and liability, but in life’s fundamental existential struggle. To enter and exit trying moments with one’s humanity intact is no easy task. An article published in the New York Times on February 20, 2017 divided my life into two distinct parts, a ‘before and after’, if you will. The impact of this most recent watershed on my life is comparable to a surgeon’s knife on a haemorrhaging [sic] body, a judge’s sentence on an innocent man, or the pain of loss and the injustice of existence that together account for a child’s first teardrops. With the deftest of touches, New York Times journalists interpreted my words before throwing them on the same chopping block that holds President Trump, a victim of their ruthless war with his administration. They pared down our complicated discussions on the establishment of an alternative negotiation platform with the participation of deputy signatory countries, owing to the failure of a member of the Budapest Memorandum, the termination of the undeclared war between Russia and Ukraine, and the return of our land finally. They teased out and reinterpreted only the most convenient and newspaper-worthy morsels of information from my interviews. In Russia the now proven link between the Trump administration and Russia provides justification for my attempts to lift sanctions against this country. My homeland of Ukraine as does my proposal to lease Ukrainian territory to the aggressor, which caused some to level accusations of treason against me. My own faction, the RPL, has failed to pass this test, as it were, expelling me from their ranks and labelling me a traitor. This is quite an extraordinary accusation, given that I have not once caved in to temptations of money, corruption and increased power, nor to pressure from ‘cynical dealers’ urging me to ruin the faction from the inside out. God alone can judge them. I am confident that everything will find its rightful place in the future, and I wish all of you, including my friends and enemies, health, wealth, peace and prosperity.

I have been able to survive and cope with all of the above successfully, until death itself came, nay barged, into my life!!! The mysterious death of my faithful assistant, Alexander Tikhon, was the first such instance. He was a man who had served not only myself but the entire city of Nikopol, fearlessly crusading against embezzlement and theft on the part of local officials. His death was not in vain and the guilty parties will be punished. I will find those responsible, no matter what it takes, so long as I am alive and breathing. But more on that later.

The second instance occurred when I found out that Lump, the rock, had passed away.
Alex Oronov!!!

He was an American citizen who for the last 20 years had given his life to Ukraine and had invested in its prosperity, selflessly sacrificing his wealth, nerves, soul, and, finally, body! He created one of Ukraine’s most successful agricultural holdings, BZC – Baryshevskaya Grain Company, which was renamed Grain Alliance after it had attracted Swedish investment. He did not die of old age, nor by accident or from illness, but at the hands of American journalists who had intervened in his life!!! Worse yet, I am guilty as well. After all, I mentioned his name in response to an American journalist who had asked me, “How are you acquainted with Michael Cohen – President Trump’s personal lawyer?” Yes, I named Alex Oronov, my partner, mentor, teacher and friend. Alex was a relative of Michael Cohen and he was one of those who organized my meeting with him. From that moment onward, his life, and my own, became a kind of hell. Thousands of calls, harassment on the streets, email queries, calls to friends, relatives and acquaintances. And all of it comes with an important subtext – we have now finally confirmed the link between the Trump and Putin administrations, thanks to his Ukrainian deputy! I have endured all of this along with my family, who can testify to the depth of this harrowing experience.
Beasts and scum beware!!!

I have survived, I am surviving and I will fight!!!

Unfortunately, his heart could not endure it.

He died!

Overvoltage, nerves, injustice, resentment and suspicions based on a grave misunderstanding.

Friend, your death will not have been in vain, nor will the deaths of tens of thousands of Ukrainians and Russians during this wild, undeclared war!

Rest in peace and forgive me if you can, as difficult as that may be!

He followed this up by publishing a second piece, ostensibly written by someone else named Sergei Bykov. It may interest you to read that posting as well. I have been unable to conclusively determine the identity of this Sergei Bykov character, although I am not sure that it is important.

Again, to understand the potential import of this, you need to read Josh Marshall’s piece that was published the day before Mr. Oronov died. Was it a heart attack, as seems to be implied? Or something else?

In any case, Marshall had concluded that Michael Cohen’s extensive ties to Ukraine made him a logical entry point for anyone “looking for the trail of money from the former Soviet Union into The Trump Organization.” That’s certainly a conclusion that is merited by looking at the British dossier composed by former MI6 Russian expert Christopher Steele who reported that Cohen had met secretly in Prague in late-August with Kremlin officials in order to clean up the fallout from Paul Manafort’s unceremonious flame-out as Trump’s campaign chief. That allegation has been hotly contested and Cohen seems to have an alibi for the time period in question, but his name didn’t come from nowhere.

Josh Marshall made the connection on March 1st and Oronov was dead on the 2nd.

Someone might want to figure out the actual cause of death.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at