Rudy Giuliani was named the honorary mayor of Anatevka earlier this year.
According to Bloomberg, the small town was originally founded as a refuge for Ukrainian Jewish people fleeing the persecution and violence stemming from the ongoing separatist conflict in the country. However, the village has come under scrutiny because it does not appear to be upholding that promise. Instead, it's become another piece in the ongoing controversy of Giuliani's alleged financial impropriety in his support of President Donald Trump.
Giuliani was named the village's honorary mayor in May but canceled his scheduled trip to Ukraine to accept the title. Instead, he went to Paris to meet with the town's leader, Moshe Azman. Azman has long been associated with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were indicted earlier this year for financial indiscretions related to political campaign financing. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the two stand accused of shepherding a series of foreign-backed campaign contributions to Republican politicians.
Azman had previously named Parnas and Fruman Anatevka's fundraisers, and the two stewarded over half a million dollars in donations to the town through an organization called American Friends of Anatevka. The pair were able to solicit several hundred thousand in donations from several billionaires throughout the former Soviet Union, with donors ranging from tech executives to leaders within the mining and energy sector. The organization's website states that every contribution will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $1 million. Critics have cited concerns that the organization has not conducted any financial filings in the past two years, which makes it difficult to verify pledges or the financial operations of the organization.
Sponsors of the village currently tally the settlement's population at 100, but the residents report a different number, stating that the true figure is closer to 65. The small town is home to only 20 residents of Jewish descent, who are mostly sequestered to an apartment development that spans three blocks. A dormitory, which was purpose-built for political refugees who have been displaced by the conflict, is uninhabited, according to two anonymous residents of the community, who requested anonymity over concerns of possible backlash.
Other inhabitants of the village have come forward with complaints, alleging that economic hardship and low-paying labor jobs are rampant throughout Anatevka. Most residents are employed in low-wage custodial or construction positions. Residents have tried to apply for aid, only to be denied because the town was supposed to provide them with basic necessities, making them ineligible for any support. One family has said that they have no refrigerator and do not have enough money to repair their decrepit apartment, pay their utility bills or send their children to school.
The town does, however, boast its own security detail, which has been adamant in barring access to anyone hoping to visit the village.
Critics are concerned that this village is a mask for foreign money influencing American politics and serves as a vehicle to undermine the nation's voting process. People took to Twitter to express their worry, with one user tweeting, "If the money purportedly raised doesn't go to help the villagers, where does it really go?"
Bloomberg has reached out to Azman for comment, but received no response.