Ukrainian-Americans have felt at home in the Republican Party since Franklin D. Roosevelt and Stalin divided control of Europe at Yalta. But across the United States — and especially in swing state Ohio, where Mr. Trump became the party’s nominee — they are watching the 2016 presidential race with a mix of confusion and fear.
“The party’s dead as far as I’m concerned,” Mr. Szmagala declared.
As if Mr. Trump’s admiring statements about President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and his questionable explanation of events in Ukraine were not tough enough to stomach, then came news that Paul Manafort, until last week Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, was tangled up in a corruption inquiry and designated to receive millions in secret cash payments from the party of a pro-Russian leader he had helped to elect.
Nearly one million Americans are of Ukrainian descent, clustered around cities like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland, where the Ukrainian Museum-Archives, a rich repository of folk art, periodicals and immigration documents, chronicles the history of a people who have felt oppressed by Russia for 350 years. Currently on display: “Politics and Ukrainian-Americans,” an exhibit including a photograph of a young Mr. Szmagala with Nixon.
Mr. Manafort’s abrupt departure does not change that; many Ukrainians want to know why he was hired in the first place.
Ukrainians arrived in America in four distinct waves, beginning in the late 1800s, and many eventually settled in suburbs like Parma.
At the Republican National Convention in July in Cleveland, the Trump campaign stripped the party platform of language calling for the United States to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine.
The personal emails of the woman running the outreach effort, Alexandra Chalupa, were among those hacked at the Democratic National Committee, a breach American intelligence officials attribute to Russian spies. Ms. Chalupa, who is of Ukrainian descent, had been researching Mr. Manafort while consulting for the committee when the hack occurred. She has been traveling the country, talking to Democrats about what she has found.