axelrod files

The Axe Files, featuring David Axelrod, is a podcast distributed by CNN and produced at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. The author works for the podcast.

Chicago CNN  — 

Russia’s interference in the U.S. election was but the latest and most audacious episode in Moscow’s ongoing effort to destroy liberal democracy and the Trans-Atlantic partnership, says a top Ukrainian leader.

“The information attacks, the propaganda, the cyberattacks … We’ve lived through all the things they tested first in Ukraine,” Natalie Jaresko, the country’s former finance minister told David Axelrod on The Axe Files podcast, a joint production of CNN and the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics.

“It’s shocking that they would take the risk of doing that in the United States. And now it appears – I’ve seen reports – Germany, France and elsewhere. “

Jaresko, who was born and raised in the the suburbs of Chicago by Ukranian-American parents, says Russia’s goal is to boost nationalist candidates who will turn away from global alliances.

“It surprised me only because I didn’t expect that it could be possible in the United States,” she said. “But this is about the Kremlin wanting to destroy the Transatlantic Partnership, wanting to destroy… the liberal post-World War II international order, which is based on democracy, human rights, territorial integrity, sovereignty of nations.”

Jaresko, who served as Ukraine’s finance minister from 2014 to 2016 and helped reform the country’s economy, says she will take a wait-and-see attitude about the beneficiary of Russian meddling in the US election, President Donald Trump.

Trump has hinted at better relations with Moscow, including the lifting of economic sanctions imposed after Russia invaded Ukraine and effectively seized Crimea and portions of Eastern Ukraine.

Bur Jaresko warned against any thaw unless Russia withdraws from Ukraine and changes its behavior.

“The goal is to live in a world where we live by the values and the principles that we believe in,” she said. “And so if Russia leaves Eastern Ukraine and returns Crimea, we’re all for better relations. France and Germany are today allies, and they were terrible enemies at one time. That’s all possible, but it’s not possible at the cost of Ukrainian sovereignty.”

To hear the complete conversation with Jaresko, which also touched on her efforts to combat corruption in post-revolution Ukraine, why her father was resistant to her pursuit of public service and the future of global markets under the new Trump administration, go to To get “The Axe Files” podcast every week, subscribe at