A year ago, you took the office of President of the country thanks to the unique level of support from Ukrainian citizens. You came into politics without any political or governing experience.
I think today you will agree that for the citizens of Ukraine and, I hope, for you, neither of these circumstances is a reason to discard responsibility for what is happening in the country.
This is a huge responsibility that fell on your shoulders in not the simplest moment in both Ukrainian and world history. But history does not take into account the difficulties and disclaimers. It remembers and honors those who coped with the challenges one faced. You cannot give it a script and force it take an extra double.
But I am far from encouraging you to think about your place and role in history. The citizens of Ukraine have called you to the position of the President so that you respond to the challenges you are facing today. I believe that the discussion on solving these problems concerns all Ukrainians, and therefore it should take place in the public spotlight.
The first challenge, which Poroshenko was unable to respond to at the time (the Ukrainian people elected him President for this very purpose), is ending the armed conflict in Donbas and establishing peace in Ukraine.
Today, military servicemen and civilians continue to die and get injured in Donbas. This armed conflict is holding back the development of our country, and 70% of Ukrainians call it a key problem.
The time is inevitably approaching when you will have to answer the question: “What has the President achieved in establishing the peace in eastern Ukraine?” And you will be surprised how few people, who are puffing up their cheeks today and talk about “IDPs representing uncontrolled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” “Budapest format without Russia” and other speculative achievements of Ukrainian diplomacy, will be with you then. There is one real tool for establishing peace - the Minsk agreements. They must be fulfilled. Of course, it is difficult. And the national radicals are absolutely against it. But I hope and sincerely believe that you are not the President of the national radicals, like the former head of state. To solve this problem, you will need strength, support and help, which you will definitely receive, acting in the interests of Ukrainian citizens. All you need is the willingness to act and the determination you need to show.
The second challenge is the tariffs for housing and utility services. They are simply unaffordable for Ukrainians today. Tariffs are inflated and numbers are picked out of the nose. For some traders, tariffs have become a source of enrichment, but for millions of our fellow citizens it is a cause of poverty, it is just robbery of the people. Numerous IMF initiatives aimed at tightening the tariff strangulation only convince people of this. Ukrainians remember well and can easily compare that gas used to cost more, but they paid less.
It is not easy to change this situation. It is the President who thinks of his people who is obliged to fight a numerous gang of tricksters and looters, oligarchs, corrupt officials and international moneylenders who continue profiting from the growing poverty of Ukrainians. You should not be afraid of those who robbed the country under Poroshenko and continue to do so today, because they are robbing you as well, even if you do not notice it yet.
The third challenge is to stop forced Ukrainization. You are a Russian-speaking person so do not make an effort and pretend to be someone else. Do not take the lead from the “professional patriots,” otherwise you will end up in the same boat with them, and they can do nothing except shouting about the alleged love for Ukraine, their political validity period is short, and, even in their own environment only those of them who stick to certain international grants are held in respect. Protect Russian and minority languages. You will earn respect of the people, gratitude of Russian-speaking citizens and representatives of other nationalities, and objective assessments of foreign partners. In the question of language, in my opinion, you have the strongest legacy of the actor's past - the willingness to play a role and participate in other people's scripts. And what was your strength and demonstration of talent is becoming a weakness today. It happens.
The President must accept the reality in which he exists - the Ukraine you learned about, perhaps even more than you wanted, its problems and difficulties, desires and expectations. But this will inevitably have to be done if you want to build Ukraine, instead of pretending that you are building it, to improve people's lives, instead of “carry out reforms.”
If you want to make Ukraine a successful country, then you should start with yourself. And to be successful as the President it does not mean to follow the path of concentrating the power, as Yushchenko, Yanukovych and Poroshenko did.
The success of the President primarily depends on building a strong and professional team. And you can only count on those who know how to work, professionally prepared for this and want to achieve the desired result for the country.
Chairman of the Political Council
Opposition Platform - For Life Party