Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko took office two years ago: Has he fulfilled his promises?

Author : 112.UA 112.UA

Source : 112 Ukraine

As the Ukrainian confectionary magnet marks two years as head of state, we look back at the highs and lows of his term in office
14:08, 26 May 2016

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Two years ago, Petro Poroshenko triumphed in Ukraine's extraordinary presidential election. As an active EuroMaidan participant, his win was historic. The confectionary magnet became the country's youngest-ever head of state and only the second president after Leonid Kravchuk to win outright in the first round. 

During a momentous evening on May 25, 2014, exit polls showed Poroshenko had won the ballot. Later, in the electoral headquarters, his speech resonated one usually given by an active president. His official inauguration ceremony as Ukraine's fifth president happened on June 7, 2014 in the national parliament (Verkhovna Rada). Probably one of Poroshenko's most memorable promises was made the day after elections. He said the 'anti-terrorist' military operation in eastern Ukraine should last hours, not months. Two years later, some Ukrainians judge these words as a broken promise (a fragile ceasefire in Donbas continues today). Then, there is his Roshen business and 'Channel 5' national TV station - both of which have not been sold.  

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Poroshenko took office during turbulent times in Ukraine. Crimea had already been seized while the war in Donbas, the economic recession, hryvnia devaluation and relentless political crisis continued. Some promises he fulfilled, some he did not and others are in progress (such the EU-Ukraine visa-free regime). For two years, the president has reiterated war is no excuse for the absence of reforms. Statements like this give hope there's light at the end of the tunnel for Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Poroshenko also highlighted the importance of international activities at the beginning of his presidency, unlike his predecessors. Over two years, he has made 50 foreign visits, many for the so-called 'Normandy Quartet' negotiations (Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia). While these aim to strengthen Ukraine's role in the international arena, there is another motive; that is, the head of state has repeatedly said he wants to become a member of the European Parliament.

In addition to his international obligations, Poroshenko became known for his rapid personnel changes. Most prominently, the General Prosecutor's Office has seen two chiefs ousted and Yuriy Lutsenko appointed over the past two years. Ukraine's Defence Minister was also replaced and former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk resigned. The president became an active social media user and supporter of dialogue with journalists. In fact, he has already conducted two big press conferences and frequently gives interviews to the main TV networks. 

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The recent so-called Panama papers scandal drew attention to the president's Roshen company and overseas income again. It's worth noting when Poroshenko showed his declaration for 2014, some analysts claimed his income for his year had increased several times. In response, he argued the money - more than 300 million hryvnias - he earned in 2013, before the presidency, 90 million hryvnias he had spent on presidential campaign and another part on the parliamentary campaign. During 2015, Poroshenko declared 62.1 million UAH of income, while the head of state salary is 121 thousand UAH.

Commenting on the "Panamanian documents," Poroshenko said his case differs from other politicians from this list, and there is no need to investigate because everything in his incomes is transparent.

Poroshenko says the most difficult thing for him in the presidential post is to get news about the death of Ukrainian soldiers from the front. The head of state said after the election he does not think about a second term as president. Now, he does not voice his intentions.

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