Neither tactician nor strategist: Would Ukraine's ex-PM Groysman turn back to big politics?

Author : Natalia Lebed

Source : 112 Ukraine

Volodymyr Groysman is somehow present on Facebook, but what is happening to him in “offline mode?”
10:38, 17 December 2019

Ukraine's PM Volodymyr Groysman
Open source

On May 24, 2019, then Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman announced that he would run for the Verkhovna Rada at the head of his own political force, called Ukrainian Strategy. According to the head of government, the party will have a centrist ideology, and the team will be assembled "throughout the country."

He has gathered a team and even took part in the elections, but lost. According to political analyst Kyrylo Sazonov, "due to the phenomenal success of the Servant of the People in the parliamentary elections, the remaining parties received a low percentage."

Since then, the party and its leader have been out of loud news. That is, Volodymyr Groysman is somehow present on Facebook, but what is happening to him in “offline mode?” Although, in fact, the reason for writing this article was just a post published by Groysman on his Facebook.

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This was a call to support President Zelensky on the eve of the meeting of the Normandy Four in Paris.

No backhanders for the president

“This is precisely the moment when the country, must be united like never before, and the head of state needs the support of society and international partners. The moment when politicians must show that they are statesmen and not cheap politicians who want to put the bandwagon on the president as a political opponent,” Groysman wrote.

 “Many supported the before the Normandy Summit. Not because they were his supporters, but because the future of the country was on the map,” Sazonov answered.

“What he writes on Facebook is his personal position as a private person. An active political presence is connected with other forms, and Groysman undoubtedly thinks about them,” Vadym Karasiov, director of the Institute for Global Strategies, said.

Related: Zelensky's budget does not differ from Yatseniuk's and Groysman's budgets at all, - Medvedchuk

“This is the move that many have resorted to. He does not necessarily support Zelensky as a person, but as a politician, who in turn is supported by the majority of society. Therefore, criticizing him is not very profitable from the point of view of his own PR,” political analyst Yevhen Bulavka says.

Bogdan Petrenko, the deputy director of the Ukrainian Institute for the Study of Extremism, notes: “Groysman did the same as all the politicians did before him - he ran from one overlord to another. Now he plays for Zelensky’s team.”

No wisdom like silence

He did not say good farewell worlds to his previous patron President Petro. Poroshenko’s European Solidarity felt deeply offended by Groysman's statement that old parties, such as the Block of Petro Poroshenko, should be a thing of the past.

“You know, the casting for the future prime minister has begun, although the contest did not seem to be announced. And some politicians are losing their dignity and common sense. Obviously, this does not correspond to European culture, European practice,” Poroshenko’s comrade-in-arms Iryna Gerashchenko commented on Groysman’s positions.

Speaking of casting for the post of the future prime minister, Gerashchenko had in mind the formation of the government after the last parliamentary elections. If Groysman cherished hopes that he would stay in the prime minister's office, then he had to say goodbye to illusions. The portfolio of the head of government, as you know, went to current Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk.

“It is already obvious that the Groysman government was better than the government of Honcharuk. Under Groysman, the situation in the economy was better and there were no such negative indicators in industrial production,” Karasiov assures.

Now, perhaps this is obvious, but six months ago there were serious doubts about this. At least during the inaugural address, the newly elected president walked quite hard through Groysman’s Cabinet. “Let me quote one American actor who became a cool American president. The government does not solve our problems, the government is our problem,” Zelensky said.

Related: National Anti-Corruption Bureau closes production on possible abuses of PM Groysman

The head of state pointed to the door in plain text to Groysman. And Groysman left without complaints. He also congratulated Zelensky on his election as president.

"Now Groysman is pausing just like a good actor in order to go out and proclaim his monologue in the next act. But the time for the monologue has not come yet. Let disappointment accumulate Honcharuk and continue the period of support and Zelensky and his government.

“Any attempt at criticism can now be perceived as envy and as jealousy. Moreover, as an attempt to revenge a political loser would only hit Groysman's image. But in the way he is silent, there is just a certain zest - especially against the background of other critics,” Karasiov notes.

New Poroshenko for new Groysman

Yeugen Bulavka believes that Groysman had a moment of shock, but he is gradually moving away from him unless he has already left. “Groysman came to his senses and looked around in a new reality because he really disappeared from information radars. But during the premiership he had a very good communication team,” he states.

It was an unpleasant moment for him when he was unnecessary to the new government and when during the inaugural speech of Zelensky (and also later) a rather humiliating assessment of the activities of the previous government was made. All this, probably, forced him to fade into the shadows but also formed certain reflexes and a grip on him. Groysman’s return can be expected - not now, but closer to spring, and it will be interesting to see if he comes to big politics alone or with someone else.

Related: Poroshenko vs. Groysman: Essence of pre-election conflict

Judging by the logic of recent events, Groysman has two options. The first is to make your own way. The second is to enlist the support of Volodymyr Zelensky and his team.

Bogdan Petrenko believes that there are already certain signs that the “green team” is beginning to treat Groysman favorably.

Melting Zelensky’s heart

But is Groysman interesting for the new government? First of all, the development of his own party. "Today Groysman is trying to monopolize his influence on the Vinnytsia (still non-existent) Servant of the People party organization. In addition, he will use his own party, because Groysman has real support in the Vinnytsia region. His Ukrainian strategy might well get a majority in the local city council, as well as go to the regional council," says Bogdan Petrenko.

And he adds: “It is important that Groysman’s Ukrainian strategy took about 15% in the Vinnytsia region during the elections, taking these percents from Poroshenko.”

“Undoubtedly, Groysman’s political power will make itself known in the local elections,” Karasiov agrees.

“Groysman is still young enough as a Ukrainian politician, so he will definitely return back. After this cadence, I think we will have many parties in the Verkhovna Rada again, and there will also be a place for Groysman in it,” Sazonov notes.

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