Alexander Vindman, 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, has an identical twin brother named Eugene.
Eugene Vindman is also a prominent official in the U.S. government. In fact, it’s possible he could also be asked to testify in the impeachment inquiry.
Both brothers come from a family of immigrants and were raised in Brooklyn’s “Little Odessa.” The twins were 3 years old when their family left Ukraine for America. They also have an older brother.
“I am a patriot,” Alexander 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 twin brother Eugene:
1. Vindman’s Twin Brother Works as an Attorney at the White House
Like his twin, Eugene Vindman has forged a career in White House civil service. In fact, The Wall Street Journal reported that it’s possible Eugene Vindman might also be called to testify. Alexander Vindman has stated that Eugene Vindman, also called Yevgeny Vindman, “witnessed (the) decision to move Trump-Zelensky call’s transcript to a top secret server,” The Journal reported of the president’s call to the president of Ukraine.
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 explains that he is an attorney at The White House and a former Attorney at Judge Advocate General’s Corps, United States Army. He also says that he is a former Senior Trial Counsel at U.S. Army and former Major at United States Army.
According to JTA, Eugene Vindman is a lawyer on the national security council. CNN called Eugene Vindman “the chief ethics counsel at NSC.”
His Facebook page also provides the following biographical details about Eugene:
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
2. Eugene Vindman Was a Campaign Strategist for a Democratic Congressional Candidate
Eugene Vindman’s Facebook page also describes him as a “former Campaign Strategist at Bobby Saxon for Congress (GA District 10).”
Saxon ran as a Democrat. According to an article in The Red & Black, Saxon was running for public office for the first time and called himself a “regular guy.”
The 2008 article describes him as saying, “I’m 46-years-old, and I’ve never run for an office. Most of all, I’m a frustrated American who’s mad that politicians have no clue what it’s like to be one of us. We need regular people with common sense in Washington D.C.”
Like Eugene Vindman, Saxon had an Army background. “I’m a major in the Georgia Army National Guard,” he explained.
3. Eugene Vindman Was Involved in Efforts to Find Roadside Bombers in Iraq
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 invested 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.”
4. The Brothers Grew Up in an Immigrant Family With a Father Who Learned English at Night While Working Multiple Jobs
The story of Alexander and Eugene Vindman and their family roots is a classic immigrant tale.
Alexander Vindman said in his statement to Congress 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.
5. The Vindmans Were Featured in a Ken Burns Documentary on the Statue of Liberty
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.
JTA explains that the 1985 photo shows the twins and their grandmother “sitting on the boardwalk in Brighton Beach,” which was known as Little Odessa because it was settled by Jewish Ukrainians.
There is another Vindman brother. He’s older than the twins and his name is 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.”
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