Ukraine has a good tradition to postpone all the important things until Friday. During Yanukovych’s rule, well-known oppositionists were detained precisely on Friday, so that the society, busy with preparations for the weekend, would let the big news pass by. It is difficult to realize the logic of Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk when tendering his resignation: did he want his demarche not to be noticed? In any case, the head of government well masked his intention - he did not address the statement to the Verkhovna Rada, as required by Articles 85 and 115 of the Constitution of Ukraine, but directed it to the president. Perhaps Honcharuk is a layman (by his own definition) not only in economics but also in law. One way or another, and the former MP of the CEC, Andriy Magera, rightly notes on his Facebook page that Honcharuk’s statement is nothing more than a declaration.
“I came to the office to fulfill the president’s program. For me, he is an example of openness and decency. However, in order to remove any doubts about our respect and trust in the president, I wrote a letter of resignation and handed it to the president with the right to submit it to parliament,” Honcharuk reported.
“The prime minister’s position regarding the resignation statement is correct and strong. This step underlines the command nature of their relations. We are waiting for the president’s decision,” Davyd Arakhamia, the head of the Servant of the People faction, wrote.
“The question here is, does Honcharuk really not know that the Verkhovna Rada is responsible for appointing and dismissing the Prime Minister, or is he mocking us? If he really wanted to resign, it was enough to write a statement to the Verkhovna Rada. We’re glad, but it’s possible that Goncharuk laughed at the president – oh, a touchy man – it will be enough for Zelensky to give rise to his statement,” political analyst Kyrylo Sazonov comments.
The first scenario: status quo and leave Honcharuk in the office. “It is also possible that the president will support the prime minister, take responsibility for him, and the whole scandal will slow down. As for voting in the Verkhovna Rada, it will only illustrate the division into pro-government and opposition parts (the opposition will most likely vote for resignation), and in fact, it will turn into a vote of support for Honcharuk himself,” says Ruslan Bortnyk, director of the Ukrainian Institute for Analysis and Policy Management.
However, if the option of “total forgiveness” is rejected, the option of the government’s resignation remains actual. It will take place later, Bohdan Petrenko, deputy director of the Ukrainian Institute for the Study of Extremism, is convinced.
"The government of Honcharuk will resign because our governments have always served as lightning rods. But there are two key questions here - land issues and local elections. If today they dismiss Honcharuk, then tomorrow the new government and the new prime minister must launch the land market. In such a way, they will take over the whole negative and will lead the president out of the attack. However, the best option is to implement the land law through the hands of this government, using it as a sponge to absorb negative moods," said the expert.
In addition to the "lightning rod" function, Honcharuk is also useful to Zelensky in that he distances him from the claims of oligarch Ihor Kolomoysky. The latter would not be very averse to letting some other person to the prime minister's office.
"Perhaps the situation with Privatbank has come to a standstill, and Kolomoysky will organize pressure on the president and the government to achieve his goals," political expert Yevhen Bulavka suggests. But in any case, he continues, “all answers are within the framework of behind-the-scenes agreements, and everything will depend on which of the groups that surround Zelensky will prevail. This is a game of thrones, which will last until Zelensky’s inflated rating allows non-state decisions to be made but group interests.”
Under such conditions, the best prime minister is the prime minister equidistant from both Kolomoysky and Soros, Hungarian-American investor and philanthropist. But Honcharuk is one of those Soros-related representatives, Kyrylo Sazonov recalls.
Everything is complicated by the fact that the incumbent prime minister has already stood up in the West. The IMF praised and supported Honcharuk, and in addition, they also demanded an explanation about what was happening around the person of the head of government. "The IMF will not approve of the removal of Honcharuk. Because they have a certain prejudice towards the group that can win if the prime minister resigns, that is, the Kolomoysky group," says Bohdan Petrenko.
And yet, "Western partners support Honcharuk. They consider his resignation to be at least premature," says Ruslan Bortnyk.
Formally, Oleksiy Honcharuk can lead the government, even if the Verkhovna Rada votes for his resignation. He acquires the status of "acting" and de facto leads the Cabinet of Ministers. But there are some nuances.
"As soon as Honcharuk becomes “acting,” the counter is turned on to form a new government. Then Zelensky has 60 days unless the situation is complicated by reformatting the coalition. Theoretically, Zelensky can take such a step. But he is not profitable for him. Therefore, Zelensky will most likely ease the situation with Honcharuk, ”suggests Bohdan Petrenko.
The Cabinet, meanwhile, has already begun to reform itself. January 16, Aliona Babak, the Minister for Development of Communities and Territories, resigned. Political expert Bulavka states: "A very insignificant part of the government was noticed in constructive activity, and Aliona Babak was the figure that belonged to the productive minority."
“It’s not the government that makes the key decisions - it’s the president who makes legislative initiatives regarding the land and the like. Therefore, the name of the next prime minister is not really important at all, he doesn’t affect anything. The government’s work is completely disorganized, it’s acting according to some rules, which remain opaque to society,” Bulavka assures.
"It's a shame that we came to changes in the power structure not because of essential problems, but because of personal issues of the oligarchs," he adds.