"Has been" team: Would Zelensky's exes form a new political force?

Author : Natalia Lebed

Source : 112 Ukraine

What are political ambitions of ex-PM Honcharuk, former head of the Prosecutor General’s Office Ryaboshapka, and ex-secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Danyliuk
20:55, 9 April 2020

112 Agency

After the dismissed head of the Prosecutor General’s Office, Ruslan Ryaboshapka, announced his intention to go into big politics, political analyst Yevgeny Magda made a very witty comment on his Facebook. Former officials, he wrote, might form their own party without Zelensky.

As deputy director of the Ukrainian Institute for the Study of Extremism Bogdan Petrenko rightly says about this, “everyone who has been in Ukrainian politics considers themselves simply irreplaceable. I don’t remember anyone just calmly leaving and did not promise to return. Even those who are head over heels mired in corruption scandals.”

Related: Zelensky: Ryaboshapka should not occupy position if he shows no results

"I'll be back"

About a month after his resignation, Ryaboshapka said in an interview with Channel 24 that he was working on creating an expert platform for introducing new strategies and reforms in legal structures - the prosecutor's office, criminal justice authorities, anti-corruption bodies, etc. He also suggests his participation in the elections.

In a conversation with journalist Olesia Batsman, Ryaboshapka added the following: "So far I have no clear answer, but I have such plans."


Ex-Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk also voiced the intention to return to politics. But on March 7, that is, even before Ukraine closed the airspace due to the epidemic, the former head of government flew to Portugal. As the Strana newspaper reported, Honcharuk used the services of the Wizz Air low-cost airline and refused to communicate with the press before departure.

And in any case, now the ex-prime minister actively communicates with Ukraine and Ukrainian media. In a recent “quarantine” interview with Ukrainska Pravda recorded through Zoom, Honcharuk talked about politics and his resignation. But plans for the future did not concern.

"Neither Honcharuk nor Ryaboshapka created a sufficient political background. Ryaboshapka, under the guise of reform, completely destroyed the entire system of the Prosecutor General’s office, what could be his future? The stigma of a political loser is not the best pass to big politics," says Andriy Zolotariov, the head of the Third Sector Center.

Related: Zelensky is not ashamed of Honcharuk’s government

Pros, Cons, Pitfalls

Speaking about the possible unification of officials who resigned during the presidency of Zelensky, Bogdan Petrenko draws a parallel with the "Democratic platform," a conditional union of informal progressive (at least they were considered at that time) currents, which took place in 1989-1990 inside the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU).

The Russian Demplatforms segment included Yeltsin, Chubais, Afanasyev, Gdlyan, Ivanov, and others. Regarding Ukraine, one of the first independent political structures grew up with Demplatforms - the Democratic Revival Party of Ukraine, which included Grinev, Stetskiv, Filenko, Yemets, and from public figures - Ihor Yukhnovsky and Myroslav Popovych.

Related: How Honcharuk's government tripped up new PM Denys Shmygal?

And if the “Democratic Platform” blew up the hard-core Communist Party from within and brought fresh breath to the social life of citizens, conditional ex-team of Zelensky might not work in this way. "It is unlikely that Zelensky’s exes will be able to create a single party – they are all too identical to each other," Petrenko says.

“And in each case there is a request for a new effective opposition,” the expert adds. “But Akhmetov and Pinchuk might not manage to finance such a bunch of parties - each of its segments, of course. Therefore, the task of those who will aspire to leadership is to interest potential sponsors. And then the same Pinchuk can concentrate, for example, on Honcharuk and reject the idea of ​​creating a party for Oleg Sentsov. Well, or vice versa.”

Now Zelensky’s exes “are collaborating on the attack on Yermak (Presidential Office head, - ed.) and on exacerbating the confrontation inside the Servant of the People, because there is a group focused on Bogdan and a group focused on Honcharuk. Can something grow out of this? Maybe. At least as an alternative to Holos, that is, a pro-Western oriented political force with liberal theses,” Bortnyk notes.

Who’s on the list?

If we include "everyone offended by Zelensky," the team will be too diverse and motley. For, in this case, it would be logical to add ex-secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Danyliuk, who resigned from this post after aggravating relations with the president and whom Zelensky reproached with "prime ministerial ambitions."

MPs Anna Skorokhod and Anton Polyakov, who are also excluded from the Servant of the People faction, might also be included in this list. Skorokhod is known for her emotional debunking of corruption within the faction, and Polyakov – for being the record holder for amending the “anti-Kolomoisky” law. The law has 16,000 amendments, one-third of which belong to Polyakov. It is a signal that the MP was very offended by Zelensky and is now “dumping” the law in which he is interested.

Related: Ex-Prime Minister Honcharuk left Ukraine and flew on vacation

Geo Leros, who courageously debunked the trade in government posts by the brother of the head of the AP Andriy Yermak, can also be considered “humiliated and offended.” They had already come to the parliament with a search, and he had already been summoned for interrogation.

Ruslan Bortnyk recalls that in addition to the current exes there are also completely "former", with a slightly expired shelf life. Among them are Arseniy Yatsenyuk, already mentioned above, and also Volodymyr Groysman, an ex-prime minister who cherished the hope that he could preserve his office, but was expelled by Zelensky almost in a shameful way.

A big revival is expected in the market of second-hand politicians. Ambitions fraternize with images, sponsors seek leaders, leaders rally allies, and this whole fun team is preparing for the premiere of the next political season. The only question is how soon will it begin.

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