12 December 2019, Thursday, 8:36
The Wait Is Nearly Over

Olesya Yakhno: Ukraine Has Formed Its Own "Red Lines"

Olesya Yakhno: Ukraine Has Formed Its Own "Red Lines"
Olesya Yakhno

If the new president crosses them, the Ukrainian society will respond harshly.

On April 21, the second round of presidential elections was held in Ukraine. According to its results, Volodymyr Zelensky became the new president of Ukraine.

What to expect from the new president of Ukraine? The website Charter97.org asked the Ukrainian political analyst Olesya Yakhno for comments:

– For now, we can state that the presidency of Volodymyr introduces uncertainty and variability of scenarios. First, because Zelensky himself doesn't have any clear position. We do not know who belongs to his team, who will be responsible for different focus areas. We perceive many conflicting signals. For example, Yanukovych congratulated the new president of Ukraine; a huge number of people against whom criminal cases are initiated and who were seen as antiheroes, are considering to come back. For example, Andrei Portnov – a lawyer of the Yanukovych times.

We still do not see any reaction from the person who won; therefore, it is not clear what direction of development Ukraine will choose. Secondly, because Zelensky is weak as a politician and he himself admits that he does not have any experience in politics and public administration, this increases competition between different groups that already see themselves as decision makers.

Yulia Tymoshenko has already said today that she is ready to lend her shoulder, that the government and the security forces should be changed. Thus, she demonstrated that she wants to claim the role of, for example, the Prime Minister. This competition does not add clarity. Thirdly, these are the expectations of society, because 73 percent who voted for Zelensky are residents of different regions who have some expectations associated with him. As it turned out, those promises that unite all – requests to reduce tariffs, improve the socio-economic component, the fight against corruption – this is something that does not lie within the authority of the president.

It turns out that these promises are not possible to fulfil. Another part of the promises concerns foreign policy and a statement has already appeared that they will adhere to what Petro Poroshenko was doing: the Minsk agreements and the Normandy format.

It may turn out that those high expectations that were associated with Zelensky will be unrealizable and society will simply get disappointed in him.

To sum up, the demands of the society remained the same as they were – security and the improvement of the socio-economic situation, the growth of social standards. But all this does not depend on the president. Especially if the president has no managerial or political experience. Another request – for new faces in politics – may also be unfulfilled.

Here the question arises whether this disappointment will happen before the parliamentary elections, which are to be held in the autumn of 2019, or it will not be there yet. If this disappointment happens, then Zelensky, like the other parties, will simply fight for his part of the electorate, avoiding abstract formulations of a general nature.

Also, there's always the risk of revanche. Now we see that one of the Petro Poroshenko's last slogans “The main thing is to save the country” is very relevant. The risks associated with the Russian Federation have not disappeared, as well as the society's demands for reforms.

It is important that our society has formed its basic positions (we call them red lines), which the people of Ukraine will never cross. And no matter who becomes the president. The Crimea and the Donbass are Ukraine, we are at war with Russia, we value the freedom of speech – if attempts are made to revise these positions, the active part of the society will react harshly.