Alexander Vindman is the Ukrainian-born Purple Heart recipient and U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who is testifying about his concerns regarding President Donald Trump’s interactions with Ukraine. Vindman hails from a family of immigrants who was raised in Brooklyn’s “Little Odessa.” He was 3 years old when his family left Ukraine for America.
He has a twin brother, a wife with Oklahoma ties, and an older brother in investment banking. His full name is Alexander Semyon Vindman, with the middle name coming from his father. As for his politics, campaign finance records do not show any federal donations for him, and his social media page does not contain anything visibly political. The Jewish Telegraph Agency describes Alexander Vindman, 44, as “a Jewish refugee from that country (Ukraine) when it was part of the Soviet Union.”
“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” Alex Vindman said in the written statement he was giving to Congress on Trump.
On November 19, 2019, Vindman brought up his brother (who was present) and father during testimony to Congress. He declared himself “grateful to be a U.S. citizen,” in a country where “I can live free.” He then spoke to his father (who was not present), saying that the fact he was sitting in the U.S. Capitol speaking freely as he was was “proof you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union… do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.”
In his statement to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Alexander Vindman wrote, “I have dedicated my entire professional life to the United States of America. For more than two decades, it has been my honor to serve as an officer in the United States Army. As an infantry officer, I served multiple overseas tours, including South Korea and Germany, and a deployment to Iraq for combat operations. In Iraq, I was wounded in an IED attack and awarded a Purple Heart.”
“I am a patriot,” Alex Vindman declared in his statement. “It is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend OUR country, irrespective of party or politics.” He wrote that he had served the country in a “non partisan manner, and have done so with the utmost respect and professionalism for both Republican and Democratic administrations.”
Here’s what you need to know about Vindman’s family:
1. Vindman’s Father Learned English at Night While Working Multiple Jobs to Support His Family
Alexander Vindman said in his statement that his “family fled the Soviet Union when I was three and a half years old.” In his statement to the House, Alex Vindman described his father’s sacrifices after the family first arrived in America.
“Upon arriving in New York City in 1979, my father worked multiple jobs to support us, all the while learning English at night,” it says. “He stressed to us the importance of fully integrating into our adopted country. For many years, life was quite difficult. In spite of our challenging beginnings, my family worked to build its own American dream. I have a deep appreciation for American values and ideals and the power of freedom.”
He referred to himself as an immigrant in the statement. “The privilege of serving my country is not only rooted in my military service, but also in my personal history. I sit here, as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army, an immigrant.”
According to The New York Times, the family had “only their suitcases and $750” when they arrived in America. The father, Semyon Vindman, became an engineer, The Times reported.
A page by Carol Kitman photography describes the Vindman family in greater detail. The page says the photographer “first saw Sanya and genya Vindman and their grandmother, Mrs. Kalmanovitch, under the El on Brighton Beach Avenue in Brooklyn’s ‘Little Odessa.’” Sanya and Genya were the names given to Vindman and his twin at that time.
That was more than 30 years ago. “The Vindman family had emigrated to the US from Kiev in the Ukraine in December of 1979. Semyon Vindman wanted a free and better life for his 3 sons – the twins, then 4, and 11 year old Leonid. Their mother had recently died, in Kiev and when they came to America, their maternal grandmother came along to help with the boys,” the page continues.
“I think their father felt they would do better in the United States as Jews,” Kitman told The New York Times. Kitman’s page contains photos of the Vindman family throughout the years. Here’s a photo of the boys with their father and older brother.
A photo of the Vindmans, including Alexander, from 1985, was featured in a Ken Burns documentary on the Statue of Liberty, according to Jewish Telegraph Agency.
2. Vindman’s Twin Brother Also Works in a Top Position in American Government
Vindman’s twin brother lists his title as attorney at the White House on his Facebook page. Born Yevgeny Vindman, he goes by Eugene Vindman on social media.
The twin’s Facebook page lists the following pieces of biographical information:
Attorney at The White House
Former Attorney at Judge Advocate General’s Corps, United States Army
Former Senior Trial Counsel at U.S. Army
Former Major at United States Army
Former Campaign Strategist at Bobby Saxon for Congress (GA District 10)
Studied Law School at University of Georgia
Studied General Administration at Central Michigan University
Studied at UGA School of Law
Studied History at SUNY Binghamton
Went to Franklin D.Roosevelt High School
Lives in Washington, District of Columbia
From Brooklyn, New York
Saxon ran as a Democrat.
A 2010 NPR article on the U.S. connecting dots to find roadside bombers quoted Eugene Vindman. “Maj. Eugene Vindman, a JAG officer, or judge advocate general” said that a “network analysis course put him and other military lawyers in a better position to carry out oversight responsibilities in Iraq,” the article stated.
“[You could] maybe do a little bit of analysis on your own or ask some intelligent questions of the targeteers,” Eugene Vindman said to NPR, “to make sure that the target they’ve identified is not a guy that might have made a wrong phone call to a bad guy but actually has enough links to that bad guy through other activities to actually be a bad guy and therefore be a legal military target.”
Alexander Vindman is also similarly investigated in American government work. “Since 2008, I have been a Foreign Area Officer specializing in Eurasia,” he wrote. “In this role, I have served in the United States’ embassies in Kiev, Ukraine and Moscow, Russia. In Washington D.C., I was a politico-military affairs officer for Russia for the Chairman of Joint Chiefs where I authored the principle strategy for managing competition with Russia. In July 2018, I was asked to serve at the National Security Council.”
3. Vindman Is Married to the Daughter of an Oklahoma High School Football Coach
You can see a photo of Alexander Vindman and his wife at their wedding here.
Alexander Vindman’s wife is named Rachel Cartmill, now Rachel Vindman, according to the Kitman page and online Ancestry records. They married in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on May 18, 2006.
She is the daughter of a high school football coach from Oklahoma, according to her father’s obituary. An obituary for her mother described Rachel’s husband as “US Army Major Alex Vindman of Moscow, Russia,” at that time, in 2013. Rachel Vindman’s social media accounts are deleted, except for a Pinterest page, where she posts typical boards about crafts and the like.
Alex Vindman has an active Facebook page, but there’s nothing visible on it except the above profile picture, and he only has 80 friends.
4. Alexander Vindman’s Older Brother Works in Investment Banking
Alex Vindman also has an older brother named Leonid Simon Vindman.
Leonid Simon Vindman is the “Founder and Managing Partner, Tungsten Capital Advisors” and “has approximately thirty years of experience in the financial markets,” his company website states.
“During the past twenty five years, he has been focusing predominantly on Central Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia where he completed some of the biggest investment and advisory transactions in the region,” according to the website. “He also completed transactions in the Middle East, and traveled extensively in Asia and Africa.”
The page continues: “Prior to founding Tungsten he was a Managing Director responsible for investment banking origination and client coverage activities for Russia and CIS region at UniCredit Group – the largest international bank in Central and Eastern Europe at that time. Previously he worked as a Vice President Investment Banking at JPMorgan Chase, Principal Banker at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the EBRD), Senior Associate at Bankers Trust and Manager at Central Europe Trust.”
Leonid Vindman “received his Bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business,” his company website says.
The company’s founding and managing partner Maria Starkova-Vindman is described as “an art historian and art advisor” who previously “worked at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow as an assistant keeper and curator, and taught on the Courtauld MA course on global contemporary art.”
5. Alex Vindman Attended Harvard University & Served in Political-Military Advisory Roles
On LinkedIn, Alexander Vindman lists his experience as “service in political-military advisory roles” and the following:
Specialties: Extensive leadership experience.
Russian and Ukrainian language fluency.
Expertise in civil-military relations.
He wrote that he served in the US Army for 20 years and 10 months, working as a “foreign area officer” from 2008 to present, and an infantry officer from 1999 to 2008. He listed these titles:
1-506 Infantry (AASLT)
3/11 Infantry (OCS)
1/25 Infantry Division (SBCT)
1/5 Infantry (Stryker)
1/2 SCR See less
He is a graduate of Harvard and Binghamton Universities.