"Dear friends! At the invitation of my old friend and one of the most respected mayors of the world, Rudy Giuliani, I have met with him in New York. We have discussed the situation in Ukraine, the prospects for further cooperation between the US and Ukraine. And of course, we touched upon the importance of developing local self-government. We agreed that the next time we meet with Rudy in Kyiv," Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko wrote on his Facebook page on July 31. The message was accompanied by a couple of shots: both mayors smile at each other and shake hands.
But Klitschko failed to deceive the Ukrainian segment of Facebook. The reaction of the social media was unanimous: the Kyiv City Mayor made a "knight's move" or a move to complain to his "old friend" about his possible dismissal. In essence, Klitschko appointed America to be the referee in his conflict with head of the Presidential Office Andriy Bogdan. Because it was Bogdan who squeezes the mayor from both of his chairs. And it was he who, according to Klitschko, demanded that he coordinated his actions with the developer Andriy Vavrysh and director-general of 1+1 TV channel Oleksandr Tkachenko.
Offended to offended
A former mayor of New York, lawyer of US President Donald Trump is known for his ability to ignite anger. Even when manifestations of this anger have the appearance of a slap in the face of a high-ranking official. At the beginning of the cadence of Volodymyr Zelensky, Giuliani canceled a meeting with the newly elected Ukrainian leader, explaining that he would find himself "among people who are enemies of President Trump, and in some cases enemies of the United States." This story is widely known: by "the enemies of President Trump", Giuliani meant all those who in the United States are implicated in the intervention in the American elections on the side of Hilary Clinton. In particular, MP Serhiy Leshchenko, who at a certain stage of his career joined the Servant of the People Party of Zelensky.
However, there is an opinion that the cancellation of the meeting between Giuliani and Zelensky at that time was a positive factor. In an interview with Radio Liberty, Nikolai Beleskov, an American expert, expressed his opinion. “If Giuliani were in Kyiv, then a rather difficult situation would have arisen. Then the Ukrainian question would be used as a powerful tool of the American political struggle on the eve of the 2020 elections. The bipartisan consensus in the United States would be in question," he said.
If you follow this logic, then the current attempts of Klitschko to “find justice” with the help of Giuliani also harm Ukrainian interests. However, as Andriy Zolotariov, head of the Third Sector center, says, Klitschko’s action is completely meaningless. “Giuliani’s patronage will be taken into account, but it will not be decisive. Actually, nothing will change. That is, Klitschko will continue to perform representative functions - according to the law “On the capital,” he has mayor powers. He will also reign, but not rule,” the expert assures. In other words, Klitschko’s status quo will not change. At least until the next mayoral elections.
But will Vitali Klitschko reduce the “Ukraine index” with his unexpected escade? It is doubtable. "Dissatisfaction with Zelensky would increase without Klitschko’s participation. Zelensky already dares not to listen to the governing councils from US representatives. Now Zelensky behaves quite freely and independently," says Andriy Zolotariov.
At the same time, Zelensky "does not obey" to the votes from two sides. He pays no attention to what the Republicans relay to him, nor to what the Democrats are strongly advising. As for Trump, he spoke very clearly: Zelensky must eliminate the main problem of Ukraine, which is also an obstacle to the development of Ukraine-US relations. Trump wished Zelensky that "the renewed Ukrainian authorities would improve Ukraine’s image as soon as possible and complete the investigation of corruption cases that restrain the interaction between Ukraine and the United States."
In other words, no victory over corruption - no further friendship.
End of an era
And while Zelensky is practicing in sprinting to catch up Trump, Vitali Klitschko needs to prepare for the fact that his “era” is coming to an end. An indirect sign of this fact is the recent resignation of City Council Secretary Volodymyr Prokopiv. According to Prokopiv, he resigned to head the European Solidarity faction in the capital’s “parliament.” As ex-mayor of Kyiv Oleksandr Omelchenko commented on the situation, such a demarche means a final split in the conditional team Klitschko, which consisted of representatives of both Udar (Klitschko’s party) and Poroshenko’s Solidarity.
The new secretary of the City Council will be elected at the next session, which, however, may take place soon. On the sidelines of the city council as the applicants called the names of MPs Vadym Storozhuk, Oleskiy Okipny and others.
All these regroupings indicate one thing: the likelihood of holding early local elections is quite high. Although, according to political analyst Ruslan Bortnyk, Zelensky’s team hesitates between two options: re-elect the mayors and take all the power this fall, or wait until the end of the heating season for the old mayors to deal with this.
In any case, Vitali Klitschko - if only he has the ambition to compete for the mayor’s chair again — should be in Kyiv and get prepared for difficult elections. He should leave the big politics to its direct participants. And his old friend Rudy Giuliani gave him this advice.