Zelensky’s Purge? Ukraine’s latest internal battles show how hopes of the 2014 Maidan are fading in sharp turn to totalitarianism

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Since Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, almost every president, sooner or later, has begun to adopt authoritarian leanings. Unfortunately, the current leader of the country, Volodymyr Zelensky, is no exception.

His decision to lead the charge of impeaching the country’s parliament speaker on Thursday is clear evidence of that. Zelensky “servant of the people” party I paid outside Dmitry Razumkov in a move that the Supreme Deputy described as illegal due to disagreements over the new country’s law that targets the oligarchy and prevents them from political activity.

The resolution highlights Kiev’s increasingly hard-line style and touches on disagreements over policies that harm democracy and the rule of law. Last but not least, this shows Zelensky’s concern intolerance From any disagreement, even from the former close ones within his party.

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international media She was slow to recognize Zelensky’s authoritarian tendencies, in part due to geopolitical and ideological bias. Ukraine is now allied with the West (albeit in an often uncomfortable way) and its politicians after 2014 have benefited from sympathy for its stated reform aspirations (even when they often fail). In addition, the slow habit of dismissing any criticism of the Ukrainian elites as “Russian propaganda” Still hanging around insistently.

Make no mistake, however: Observers inside Ukraine—including those above any doubt of sympathy for Russia or Ukraine’s leaders prior to 2014—were ruthless. Just a few days ago on Espresso TV, a station closely associated with the 2014-Maidan show, talk show host and political commentator Nikolai Knyazetsky spoke about “totalitarian” Policy. As always when the term is invoked, as with for example the common mischaracterization of contemporary Russia, this is a poor case of exaggeration.

However, Kniazhitsky is not alone with the gist of his complaint. Something smells undemocratic in Zelensky’s Ukraine. Vitaly Bortnikov, one of Ukraine’s most prominent political commentators by his regular programme, was no less critical. For him, Zelensky’s last conference “servant of the people” The party in the western Ukrainian health city of Truskavets had one clear goal: to further consolidate power with the president and a small group of cronies as well as the oligarch associated with them.

On the side that may shock especially those Westerners “experts” Who the Ukrainian was too weak to properly follow the country’s discussions, Bortnikov went further. He has absolutely no friends with Russia or Belarus, but he claimed that under Zelensky his country began to resemble them.

He dismissed the fact that Ukraine and Russia are in an irrelevant conflict by reminding his audience of some Cold War history: in the same way that ideologically aligned countries like Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union or China and Vietnam could oppose it, Bortnikov has argued. , undemocratic Ukraine and undemocratic Russia can be politically similar, but they remain hostile to each other. In this case, he also hinted, as if to deny Western naivety “Friends of Ukraine” Even in their last delusions, the West will still support Ukraine, because the clear, if unspoken, message is that geopolitics trumps values.

Why are some pro-Maidan commentators so pessimistic? There’s a possible reason we can rule out: Like every politician, Zelensky has always had opponents and critics. Maybe these attacks on him just a policy? Is he lying about his reputation with voters and his supporters in the West? Unfortunately no. Whether commentators were sympathetic to him or otherwise, the evidence for his authoritarianism is real, not just opinion or rhetoric.

Things seem to be going differently than hoped for in 2014. One quick indication of this fact comes from his party. that it “servant of the people” Parliamentarian Ludmilla Buimister who has publicly argued that the current situation in Ukraine is similar to the early 2000s in Russia. By this it means Ukraine is going through a reworking of its initial rule, with some oligarchs in control but others being promoted, depending on who plays well with Zelensky and his team.

This brings us back to the great disagreement between the president and Razumkov. After all, Razumkov, at least for now, is not only a member of “servant of the people” party, but also a former close advisor to Zelensky. But now, Zelensky and the majority of “servant of the people” Throw him out of the speaker’s chair. Indeed, like the unpopular high school kid of tough, anxious teens, he was left out of party talks and not even invited to the Truskavets’ grand meeting, which instead sparked a massive agitation against him. How did they all become so tense with each other?

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In general, the main blame against Razumkov is that he is in the words Leader “Servant of the People,” “Not a Team Player,” This is very independent and not a reliable tool from the boss. However, another representative of that party painted Razumkov’s insistence on respecting parliamentary rules as a The Cold War of the Rules. But this is exactly how the Speaker of Parliament should act – as responsible first and foremost for the law, the rules and all members of Parliament, and not only to the President and his party.

The inability of Zelensky and his friends to come to terms with Razumkov’s degree of doing things according to the rules is clearly a bad sign in itself. They completely fail to distinguish between a party in a rule of law democracy, where all loyalties are conditioned by laws and responsibility to the public, and the personal entourage of a charismatic leader, where obedience and compliance with that leader trumps within the group. everything else.

After several last straw struggles, according to Parliament Speaker “servant of the people” faction, Razumkov’s resistance was against Zelensky’s law on oligarchs (In full, the Act to Prevent Threats to National Security Associated with the Excessive Influence of Persons of Great Economic or Political Weight in Public Life.) Or to be precise, his unwillingness to pass it through Parliament Accelerates Actions and without changes.

In fact, Razumkov went further send The bill is sent to the European Union Commission in Venice for an assessment of possible human rights violations.

Long prepared, fierce opposition, and finally shocked Parliament after ambiguity, dramatic and failure Assassination attempt For one of Zelensky’s lieutenants, the essence of the law is simple: to establish the authority to make a formal decision on who qualifies as an oligarch and to enter those who are identified into the register. Once they are on that de facto blacklist, they will be subject to a number of restrictions aimed at limiting their influence on politics. For example, they will not be able to finance political parties.

In principle, this is not necessarily a bad idea. Ukraine, like many other countries – the most terrible and most harmful issue in the world is the United States – suffers badly from the rich buying themselves not only beautiful things but also a lot of power. But the principle is not the issue. What matters is the details of such a law. Here, Zelensky’s critics are right when they point out not only new opportunities for corruption but a bad fundamental flaw: the blacklist of oligarchs will come under the control of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council.

This council is the institution through which Zelensky realized his most authoritarian manifestations, including censorship and suppression of the media under cover “Information war” Defend against Russia and hunt down one of Ukraine’s main opposition politicians, Viktor Medvedchuk. Medvedchuk is very rich, not a saint, and supports the policy of seeking a compromise with Russia. However, none of the above justifies Zelensky’s misuse of national security and legal action in what should be a political struggle. Unsurprisingly, support for these measures was right in disobeying him handle against Razumkov.

This is why Zelensky’s critics are right. The law of oligarchs does not target ‘Removing the rule of the oligarchs’ Ukraine, he claims, but in giving him and his associates largely unrestricted power to pressure some oligarchs and relieve others, for example supported the old philanthropist of Zelensky, Igor Kolomoisky. In other words, this is a law not to abolish but to reorganize the Ukrainian oligarchy with the aim not of subjugating it to the state but to enable a particular politician and his party to marginalize some of the oligarchy and cooperate with others.

Of course, Razumkov may have his own agenda. a young politician, born in 1983, maybe he’s just out for himself, accepting or even stirring up conflict to raise his profile? Or, perhaps, he, too, does the bidding of an oligarch, that is, those who are targeted by the Zelensky Law? For example, Rinat Akhmetov?

However, even if we assume the worst about Razumkov’s reasoning, the fact remains that he acted lawfully, and while he may have his own aims, his actions can be explained by the public interest. On the other hand, his opponents, including President Zelensky, acted in an arbitrary manner at best that betrays an extraordinary impatience with due process and any degree of compromise and is irreconcilable with the public interest. Because the latter would be best served by a law with the same basic purpose but with appropriate precautions against abuse.

There is no doubt that there is something very disturbing about the way the President of Ukraine and his party are rallying against the head of the country’s parliament, in many ways. First, we see the usual retreat toward authoritarian tendencies that have seduced nearly every post-independence Ukrainian president. Second, this time is particularly bad, precisely because Zelensky came up with such a huge, already unprecedented electoral mandate, and huge hopes for renewal. Third, Zelensky is in the fortunate position of obtaining an absolute majority in Parliament. In Ukrainian, this case is now called ‘unilateral majority’ Any majority without building a coalition.

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In a well-functioning democracy, having such a majority should not be a problem. Because in this context, this position will not be abused either for disrespecting the rights of the opponent or the rules of the game in general. In fact, a combination of a one-party majority and fair play may be ideal for Ukraine, resulting in a strong and effective government while upholding democracy and the rule of law.

Which is why it is so disturbing to see Zelensky and his immature courtier party miss this unprecedented opportunity. Rather than put to good use, they are about to create the impression that democracy and effective governance by a strong majority simply cannot co-ordinate. Or, in other words, there is no alternative to the other Ukrainian flaw, the uneasy and unstable alliances in Ukraine. It’s as if Zelensky, whose reputation will also suffer from recent times Pandora Leaves Revelation, he had now begun to provoke a lesson of desperation upon his fellow countrymen: you can have either a chaotic incompetence or an overly autocratic. But you cannot have a functioning and stable democracy. What a sad sight from a man who was funny.

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