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Key Poroshenko's failures that Zelensky cannot fix

Author : Viktor Ruzhynskyy

Source : 112 Ukraine

Current head of state asked his predecessor a number of very pressing questions. But would he be able to answer his own claims today?
22:03, 11 August 2020

Volodymyr Zelensky
Open source

Zelensky has often said he doesn't like criticism. However, few of us like it, but we are not trying to shut the mouth of everyone who has the courage to point out our mistakes. But the president is used to acting differently.

Criminal proceedings against the owner of the country's main opposition TV channels have yielded no results. The 112 Ukraine TV channel was deprived of its license, but the journalists did not manage to shut their mouths. Now the SBU and the prosecutor's office are trying to carry out a raider seizure of the channel by handing it over to ARMA. But Zelensky, even not yet being a guarantor of the Constitution, promised to be impartial.

“You and I voted for one Poroshenko, but chose another,” he began his speech. Ironically, now that we are witnessing such a degradation of power that almost the entire debate speech of Zelensky-candidate can be addressed to Zelensky-president.

We voted for one Zelensky, and chose another. The first is not a politician, but a simple "man who came to break this system." He's a great speaker who rides a bike and gives high-five to his constituents. His heart hurts for every citizen of the country and even for the Ukrainian dog that remained in Wuhan during the coronavirus epidemic. He usually appears when there are cameras. And when the cameras turn off, another Zelensky appears. The first one shouts about lustration and the absence of nepotism, and the second quietly appoints old friends. The first one says that pensions will show "plus", the second makes "minus". The first one promises to finance hospitals to fight the coronavirus, and the second directs money from the special fund to the roads repairs.

After an expressive introduction, the current head of state asked his predecessor a number of very pressing questions. But would he be able to answer his own claims today?

How much money do you still need to take from the country's budget to be full? How did it happen that Ukraine is practically the poorest state under the richest president in history? Would you like to take part in an experiment and try to live on a UAH 1,500 (55 USD) pension for at least a month?

Of course, the fortune of Zelensky does not reach Poroshenko's money. But the former actor is far from being a poor man. Even before the cadence began, he managed to get into a scandal without declaring his villa in Italy. In addition, journalists periodically publish investigations according to which the "ordinary guy", already as the leader of the state, continues to use dubious financial jurisdictions.

Meanwhile, the country has clearly not gotten rich. Even before the coronavirus restrictions, which can easily be attributed to all economic failures, GDP growth began to decline. The Ukrainian industry showed a record drop. It's scary to think about what will happen to the country after the victory over Covid-19, because Ze's managers are clearly ineffective. At least in the context of the fight against unemployment.

As for money from the country's budget, there are no clear facts of corruption on the part of Zelensky yet. But he is in no hurry to refuse presidential benefits paid by citizens. The guarantor recently sold his house and now lives in Koncha-Zaspa, although he wanted to give the residence to the children. He also did not lose his presidential cortege, referring to security. Now presidential cars are being driven around the capital, violating traffic rules. President also rests like a king - in Oman, where the charter alone cost about 12 000 dollars per hour. The President lives like an ordinary Ukrainian, doesn't he?

President Zelensky was really worried regarding pensions. For example, since April, he had introduced 500 hryvnias (19 USD) allowances for 80-year-olds. However, if we add up all the pension changes, it turns out that they only saved money on payments. This was possible due to the postponement of the March indexation to May.

Moreover, the minimum payment for the majority of elderly Ukrainians is still approximately at the same level as before - 1,712 hryvnias (63 USD). For this amount, the guarantor can only have one modest lunch in a restaurant.

What is your share in illegal amber mining?

At the severe demand of Zelensky, which he voiced in "Lukashenko's style," the head of the Zhytomyr regional forestry department resigned. But then he not only returned to the post through the court decision, but also received no less than 107 000 UAH (3891 USD) of compensation. A similar fate awaited the bosses dismissed by the National Police in 9 regional departments in Zhytomyr, Rivne and Volyn regions.

Note: this is not only about layoffs. None of the amber corrupt officials is still in prison, although the residents of the regions are almost pointing their fingers at the "protectors".

The media wrote: as soon as the president left the Zhytomyr region, motor pumps were launched in the forest. But during the year we have seen at least some semblance of work to combat illegal mining. Indeed, there are more statements about the detention of illegal miners with large consignments - 30-40 kg of amber each. The seizure of a consignment of amber in the Rivne region for $ 1.2 million caused a stir. Residents of the Olevsky district of the Zhytomyr region, where large-scale production was previously carried out, say: now the work is not being carried out.

Related: Zelensky signs bill on legalization of gambling business

But in the Rivne region there are areas where mining continues as if nothing had happened. Locals say the police give orders when digging is allowed and not allowed. Allegedly, after the change of patrons, the flows were redistributed. Even schoolchildren continue to engage in illegal mining.

And in general, the decrease in the volume of smuggling is hardly the merit of Zelensky himself. It is also connected with the fact that amber has fallen in price on world markets. Economists predict that as soon as the price rises again, digging will be with renewed. The problem is not only bans and fines, but also the social security of Ukrainians. If people do not have enough livelihoods, they look for ways to survive. Zelensky must not only fire officials, but systematically fight unemployment. And not only by promises of vacancies in the road infrastructure, but also by concrete actions to improve the welfare of the region.

Where have our Carpathian forests gone?

This is a question that Zelensky should definitely address to himself. We have lost about 6 000  hectares of forest, but not a single case has been filed, and no charges have been registered. And the forest fires that have occurred since Zelenskiy's inauguration have become a good way to hide illegal logging.

The President threateningly declared that he saw from the helicopter what was happening with the theft of mineral resources. Moreover, he supposedly knows all the names, so that people "will not go far from our country." However, the criminals did not even think to flee. Illegal logging was never stopped, the heads of law enforcement agencies were not fired or brought to justice. What kind of interest of the guarantor allows him to close his eyes to this?

Zelensky's contribution ended with the signing of a law prohibiting clear cutting of spruce and beech forests on the slopes of the Carpathians. The head of State Forest Agency reported that logging fell by a third, which is good news. But this is not enough, because already during Ze's presidency, illegal logging, according to experts, caused losses to the country by more than half a billion hryvnias.

In addition to the solemn signing of papers, we also need control over compliance with the rules. The President set the ex-Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk the task of dealing with the problem. With which, of course, he failed. Fighting smuggling is not like riding a scooter around the Cabinet of Ministers.

A number of questions from the candidate Zelensky arose regarding the investigation of high-profile cases. Why the arsonists of the Roshen store were found in 4 hours, while the arsonists of military warehouses and Sheremet's car could not be found for several years? Why is no one in jail after Ilovaisk and Debaltseve? Why, after 5 years, we still don't know the names of the murderers on the Maidan?

Zelensky personally took up the Sheremet case. So personally that he even attended the presentation of the results of the investigation by Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Minister of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor General named the suspects, who were allegedly headed by the artist Andriy Antonenko. But the investigation has nothing to show, except for circumstantial evidence. In fact, you can't blame people for murder just on the basis of the similarity of their dress or gait with those who were captured on video from surveillance cameras? The phone turned off during the murder is a weighty argument, but also indirect. Even if the suspects did kill the journalist, with this level of accusations, they can escape responsibility. And if the evidence does appear, it will be difficult to bring them back to justice.

The warehouse arsonists were never found either. Law enforcers deny that the blame lies with the law and order service. As for Ilovaisk and Maidan, the cases were taken from the investigators who were in charge. Now they are in a complete stupor.

How much did you personally receive from Rotterdam +?

Despite the fact that Zelensky many times criticized the method of determining the cost of coal, because of which the whole country was overpaying for fuel, no convictions of beneficiaries followed. Denys Shmygal came to replace Honcharuk. Zelensky did not seem to care that the prime minister had recently worked for DTEK of Akhmetov, the main beneficiary of Rotterdam +. And the Acting Minister of Energy becamr Olga Buslavets, who worked in the department just during the operation of this scheme. Her persona is a separate story altogether. She says that intuition helps her make decisions, because she’s Pisces by a horoscope.

No suspicions were raised to those responsible for the collapse of the hryvnia in 2014, and this was another question addressed to Poroshenko. And the cases against the ex-president himself, the development of which the guarantor promised at the debates, seems to be open only for show.

Do you remember what lustration is?

The president either forgot himself, or never knew at all what it was. More than a year ago, Zelensky wanted to lustrate all officials and MPs who had worked since 2014. But in the end, these are the staff that makes up 90% of his team. Especially in the Cabinet. The "new faces" turned out to be "old faces" who had already worked in the regime of power under Poroshenko. Moreover, many of them come from "grant-eating" organizations working for the interests of the West. And, as you know, there are no former "grant-eaters". Perhaps that is why we practically did not see any differences between the work of the governments of Groysman and Honcharuk-Shmygal.

As for the lustration in relation to the persons who took their places under Yanukovych, there was more smoke than fire.

The President gladly hired the ex-Minister of Finance from 2016 to 2018 Oleksandr Danyliuk as an advisor. Zelensky wanted to reinstate the capital's ex-prosecutor Serhiy Yuldashev in office, but canceled the appointment order. Lustrated ex-Minister of Economic Development Aivaras Abramovichus became the general director of Ukroboronprom. In fact, the ex-head of the President's Office, Andriy Bogdan, also fell under this law, but the post of head of the administration was removed from the state service. It was impossible to directly accuse Zelensky of hypocrisy, but the people understood everything.

It remains to ask Zelensky a couple of more questions from those he addressed to his predecessor. Volodymyr Olexandrovych, are you not ashamed? How do you sleep at night?

However, it’s not necessary for him to answer.

Related: Sheremet case: Suspect Kuzmenko released from custody, placed under 24/7 house arrest

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