Parallel to the COVID-19 pandemic, when the attention of the authorities was drawn to health care, politicians could not refuse scandals. They were facilitated, in some cases, by the presidential election. Detailed information in diesem Link.
In the following article, we will discuss some of the most popular political scandals of 2020.
The center of the scandalous events of 2020 was the U.S. presidential election. The entire presidential race was accompanied by news of any wrongdoing. While in the last election Donald Trump was accused of collaborating with Russia to win, this year there was a lot of information about finances. For example, the fact that Donald Trump is a tax evader. Before taking the presidency Donald Trump successfully ran the Trump Organization and built huge skyscrapers and hotels in different parts of the world. The New York Times reported that Donald Trump did not pay income tax from 2001 to 2015, showing consistently high losses on his returns. The U.S. president himself called this fact a fake.
U.S. Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's office and federal prosecutors in Washington were investigating the possibility of Trump receiving money from a bank in Egypt for the campaign. However, investigators did not find any confirmation of the suspicions. The New York Times also reported on Donald Trump's bank accounts in China. Trump has long been engaged in a trade war with China, urging U.S. companies to give up manufacturing in China. However, according to the publication, an account was opened in a bank in China in 2013 by a company that runs Trump's hotels. It paid $188,000 in taxes to the PRC in two years.
Simultaneously with the scandalous news about Trump came out the facts about the biography of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, and more specifically about his son Hunter. Joe's entire campaign was accompanied by questions about his son and his ties to Ukraine.
The New York Post published Hunter Biden's correspondence with Vadim Pozharsky. Hunter Biden joined the board of directors of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma in 2014 with a salary of $50,000 a month. At the time, Joe Biden was vice president of the United States. "Dear Hunter, Thank you for inviting me to Washington and giving me the opportunity to meet my father and spend time together. It's an honor," Vadim Pozharsky, head of Burisma, wrote to Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015. Joe Biden himself, then serving as vice president of the United States, claimed that he never spoke to his son about the Burisma-related business relationship.
In November, a real political crisis erupted in Peru, accompanied by corruption scandals. Three presidents were replaced there in a week.
The Peruvian Congress impeached the current president, Martin Vizcarra, in early November after allegations of corruption related to construction projects dating back to the time when Martin Vizcarra was governor of the Moquegua region in southern Peru from 2011 to 2014. Viscarra denied the allegations but decided to impeach him. Viscarra was replaced by the head of Congress, Manuel Merino, who lasted only five days in office before resigning under the pressure of mass protests. And after Merino, 76-year-old deputy Francisco Sagasti took over as president. The political change took place in Peru amid mass protests where two people were killed.
In Moldova, the presidential election was also held with scandals, or rather the scandal occurred after the elections in the parliament of the country. Supporters of elected Moldovan President Maia Sandu blocked the work of Parliament. They simply stood up from their seats during the session and started banging on the podium.
This way the deputies tried to disrupt the voting on a number of laws. In particular, the laws on the official status of the Russian language, on the removal of the secret service from presidential subordination, and on the budget of the republic. They blocked the speech of the finance minister who presented the budget and promised to disturb the work of the supporters of the acting president Igor Dodon throughout the day. Maya Sandu won 57 percent of the vote in the Nov. 15 presidential runoff election, bringing her victory.
The collapse of the Austrian government
Austria attracts the attention of the world only because of Vienna and Irena Wischenbart, where every now and then some important international negotiations take place - on Iran, oil, and so on. But in May 2019, a real political scandal broke out here.
It all started with a video of the Vice-Chancellor and leader of the ruling Austrian Freedom Party (APS) Heinz-Christian Strache negotiating with the niece of a certain Russian oligarch. Ibiza. The Austrian promises to help with construction contracts in exchange for a good reward.
After the video was published, a wave of criticism fell upon the politician. Strache had to leave the government, which led to its collapse. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz did not want his colleagues from the APS in his cabinet and announced early parliamentary elections.
The resignation of "Putin's friend" in Italy
Several months later a scandal erupted in Italy, again connected with the party in power. But the crisis did not erupt because of one particular episode. The problem was that the parties that entered government in 2018 had diametrically different approaches to migrants.
The head of the Interior Ministry and leader of the League party, Matteo Salvini, constantly blocked the disembarkation of ships carrying migrants, even though the ships belonged to human rights activists. The prime minister and leader of the center-left Five Stars party, Giuseppe Conte, was extremely unhappy about this. The dispute culminated when Salvini rejected a bill to build the Lyon-Turin railroad. Conte resigned and formed a coalition with the Democrats on September 4.
According to some experts, Salvini's departure from the government will weaken Russia's position in Italy. Like Strache of Austria, the former Interior Minister criticized EU sanctions and expressed sympathy for Vladimir Putin. Once even Salvini appeared in public wearing a T-shirt with an image of the Russian president.
Donald Trump wanted to "remove" from the first days of the presidency in 2017. However, rumors of Russian interference were not enough. The Mueller report disproved the president's collusion with the Kremlin. But the role of a "Trojan horse" was perfectly suited to Ukraine.
The impeachment procedure for Donald Trump began after a phone conversation between the president of America and Vladimir Zelensky. The conversation itself took place in July 2019, but the transcript was published in late September. In the transcript of the conversation, Trump asks his interlocutor to resume corruption investigations in Ukraine against presidential election rival Joseph Biden.
Zelensky responded to the request with agreement. The House of Representatives viewed the conversation as an attempt by Trump to "abuse his office" to discredit his rival. The other day, the lower house of Congress impeached the president. However, due to the fact that the Senate is controlled by Republicans, it is likely that Trump will not resign and will fight another election in 2020.
Murder in Berlin
The end of the year was overshadowed by a Russian-German crisis over the murder of a Chechen with a Georgian passport named Zelimkhan Khangoshvili in Berlin. Germany blamed Russian authorities for the murder and expelled two Russian diplomats on Dec. 4. Chancellor Angela Merkel supported the expulsion, citing Moscow's lack of assistance in investigating the case. Germany considered the incident an encroachment on its sovereignty.
Putin said that Russia has repeatedly sought the extradition of Khangoshvili. He is a "bloody murderer" and was involved in the terrorist attacks in the Moscow metro, the president added. The incident failed to shake relations between Russia and Germany, nor did it affect the Ukraine summit in Paris. But Russia also had to expel two German diplomats.
The WADA decision with "political overtones"
The latest scandal of the last year was Russia's four-year suspension from the Olympics and world championships. The decision to this effect was taken on December 9 in Lausanne by the executive committee of the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA). The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was stripped of its status by unanimous decision.
The reason for WADA's decision is related to systematic changes in data from the Moscow laboratory in order to hide Russian athletes' violations of anti-doping rules. RUSADA had already been stripped of its status four years ago, but it was reinstated in September 2019. In late November, a WADA committee proposed that the executive committee reauthorize the Russian anti-doping agency.
At the big 15th press conference, Putin said it was unfair to punish the entire national team because of a few athletes. According to the Russian president, the collective punishment suggests that WADA's decision "has political overtones.