Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s party, Servant of the interpersonal people, is defined to win Sunday’s parliamentary election, gaining a near-majority that could hand the beginner president more power than his forerunner enjoyed. What Zelenskiy can do with it is largely still a mystery. Ukraine’s constitution places the duty for forming the cabinet in the parliament’s hands. So Zelenskiy, a former TV and comedian producer, focused on working his party’s election marketing campaign rather than trying to govern.
His approach was two-pronged: Proving to voters that he’s heading to be relentlessly challenging of Ukraine’s bureaucracy and politics class and displaying that he’s ready and in a position to de-escalate the discord with Russia. Towards the former end, he traveled around Ukraine and spoke with various officials harshly. In Boryspil, a little city just east of Kiev, he kicked a populous city council official out of a meeting, denouncing him as a “highwayman” and a “devil.” “Do you take into account me an idiot?
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” he asked Oleksandr Vlasov, head of Ukraine’s State Fiscal Service during a meeting in Odessa before requesting his resignation. These fireworks have been similar to Nikita Khrushchev somewhat, who once ran Soviet Ukraine and then the whole Soviet Union with similar brain; or of Alexander Lukashenko, the dictator of neighboring Belarus.
But, in the context of a marketing campaign, it was most likely the easiest way for Zelenskiy to show he is holding true to his guarantee of renewal. To improve the message, Zelenskiy proposed that top officials and state-company bosses from the Poroshenko presidency are “lustrated” – banned from government careers. Ukraine’s anticorruption firms, meanwhile, have taken a sudden interest in businesses close to Poroshenko and his team; officially, Zelenskiy has nothing to do with that. Negating Poroshenko’s showy militarism was the other pillar of Zelenskiy’s advertising campaign. 11.5 million to be paid as bonus deals to troops.
And he worked well hard to engineer a huge prisoner exchange with Russia, something Poroshenko was loath to do, insisting that the Kremlin unconditionally release dozens of Ukrainians held in Russia on various political charges. During this writing, the exchange hadn’t happened, but significant steps had been taken to make it possible.
Swallowing his pride, Zelenskiy called Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 11 to discuss the issue. The two countries’ human rights commissioners, Ukraine’s Lyudmyla Denisova and Russia’s Tatyana Moskalkova, met in Moscow to switch lists of prisoners. The Ukrainian list included the 24 sailors taken prisoner by Russia last year when their vessels tried to break to the Sea of Azov slot of Mariupol past a de facto Russian blockade.
This request earned Zelenskiy some criticism, since a global maritime tribunal got ruled that Russia should free rather than exchanging them. On Wednesday, however, a Russian court prolonged their detention another 90 days. All of this activity has kept Servant of the People’s support progressively above 40 percent within an overwhelming majority of polls.