Wednesday, 26 June 2019

E Editorial

Political metamorphosis in Ukraine

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The April 21 presidential elections in Ukraine caused a shock not only in this country, but throughout the world. Two circumstances contributed to this: the victory of the “commoner” - the showman and a high percentage of the votes he received (73%). In the country, in fact, there was a velvet revolution. Observers claim that “without any exaggeration, the triumphant victory of the showman Vladimir Zelensky at the presidential elections in Ukraine is not just a victory over the current president, Petro Poroshenko. It is also an unconditional victory over the whole political class, over the system, which after this victory literally lies in ruins. Indeed, in the first round, Zelensky, in addition to Poroshenko, defeated many experienced well-known politicians who, according to the prominent journalist Vitaly Portnikov, even a few months before his nomination had the chance to make it to the second round of elections.

Of course, such election results are related to the Maidan 2014 events. Unlike Armenia, in which the velvet revolution of 2018 took place, the "oligarchs' club" which usurped the government system - the Republican Party of Armenia, was pushed aside from the levers of state power, in Ukraine the people could not use the results of the overthrow of former President Yanukovich. The Ukrainian oligarchs, who supported the citizens' protests, took advantage of it. In the very first presidential election, one of them, Petro Poroshenko, won in a revolutionary wave, while all the others were conveniently placed in various positions in the regions. The energy of Maidan was dispersed, and the country captured by the oligarchy plunged into deep chaos. The economy collapsed, and Ukraine was actually dismembered.

One might have expected that after years the people of Ukraine would take “revenge” over the oligarchs. As Zelensky, who won the election, said himself, he is not a politician - he is a simple person, a product of the Poroshenko system, a person who came to destroy this system. And although many in Ukraine point out that this time, the oligarchs turned to the side of Zelensky in time, it is difficult to clearly predict their next success in the new alignment of forces. Again, unlike in Armenia, where during the year in the early parliamentary elections, the deputies of the former ruling regime were ousted from parliament, the new president of Ukraine will have to deal with the opposing members of the parties that lost in the current presidential election. In Armenia, the smooth removal of opponents from the parliament and the appointment of the “people's” prime minister with their own hands became possible as a result of widespread popular participation. There is no such resource for the elected president of Ukraine.

In any case, the fate of the new government in Ukraine should be decided by October of this year, when the parliamentary elections will be held. Zelensky, to fulfill his promises to the people, will have to “fight” in two directions - against the oligarchs and against the current parliament. And this will have to be done against the background of continuing disagreements with Russia and, for the time being, incomprehensible relations with the countries of the West.

At the same time, it cannot be denied that the nature of political transformations in Ukraine may affect the development of processes in the entire post-Soviet space.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

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Yerevan, Armenia

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