Rumors on parliamentary sidelines about castling in the government of PM Oleksiy Honcharuk replenished with a new name. Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko allegedly might lose his office.
He himself speaks of groundless rumors, although everything is in the hands of President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose formal quota includes the post of head of the Foreign Ministry.
But Strana already knows the name of Prystaiko’s potential successor.
Strana has already examined in detail the staffing situation and impending changes in the current Cabinet. They want to shuffle its composition, and one replacement managed to take place. Aliona Babak as Minister of Development of Communities and Territories was replaced by Denys Shmygal, who has also become deputy prime minister - the third in a row in the Cabinet of Honcharuk.
However, further permutations were postponed due to the epic with the bill on land.
But this does not mean that the topic has been removed from the agenda. On the contrary, the names of new potential candidates for departure emerge. So, people on the sidelines of the parliament and in the media talked about the shaky position of the head of the foreign affairs department.
For example, Ukrainska Pravda outlet, citing an unknown interlocutor in the Office of the President, reported that the president evaluates the work of representatives of his quota in the government.
“Situation with Vadym Prystaiko is quite strange: he is a good diplomat, but as a minister he did not show himself. Over the past few months, he has ruined relations with almost everyone on the team,” the article reads.
“I am a professional diplomat, I have been to different countries, I have been working there, I have changed my jobs. I had an agreement with President Zelensky from the very beginning that we would work as long as I can be useful for him,” Prystaiko said.
However, he believes that rumors have no reason.
“At least President Zelensky and I did not talk about this,” the Foreign Minister noted.
Ex-speaker of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the deputy head of the parliamentary committee for Ukraine’s integration with the European Union, Oleg Voloshyn (Opposition Platform - For Life party) says that he expected the minister to be more persistent in finding opportunities to resolve the conflict in Donbas.
“There were hints that Prystayko will try to move forward on the path of implementation of the Minsk agreements… The West is already looking askance at some figures, and it was possible to at least informally talk with partners, saying that everyone who disrupts the peace process in Donbas from our side, including people behind the scenes, will have problems, for example, asset seizure. I am sure that a lot would have changed in the behavior of nationalists. But Prystaiko took a compromising position, in his opinion, even unspoken requests would aggravate the situation. He is clearly afraid of criticism from Petro Poroshenko and his associates, despite the fact that they have similar foreign policy guidelines,” Voloshyn comments.
There is no guarantee that it will come to a vote for a re-arrangement of the Foreign Ministry leadership. Nevertheless, according to Strana, in any case, there is already one candidate to replace Prystaiko. This is the adviser to the president on foreign policy Ruslan Demchenko, who was appointed to his post on July 23, 2019.
Career diplomat Demchenko worked in various countries, including the United States, he was the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, when Konstantyn Hryshchenko and Leonid Kozhara were in the office, and also headed the Office of President Victor Yushchenko.
Almost the entire presidential term of Petro Poroshenko, he was his adviser on relations with Russia.
A source in the Foreign Ministry, who knows Demchenko well, claims that he already continued to work in the Russian direction at the Zelensky’s office. At the same time, he says that the main burden of the negotiation process with Moscow lies with Demchenko, and not with the presidential aide, Andriy Yermak, who, they say, is “purely situational.”
“For example, what is happening in the Minsk contact group (Trilateral Contact Group for the Settlement of the Situation in Donbas, - ed.) is led by Demchenko. Kuchma is only externally represented there. And Demchenko has been deep in the subject for many years and is considered a dock,” our sources from MFA assure.
“He (Demchenko, - ed.) will definitely be able to clean up the ministry with a hot iron. When he was the first deputy, everything turned around thanks to him… He is a delicate person, able to get along with anyone, but always with his own opinion and, moreover, financially independent, ”the source said.
In the case of the appointment of Demchenko, the interlocutor expects the president to pursue a more clear foreign policy.
If Zelensky still decides to replace Prystaiko, what is the likelihood that the parliament will support the proposed candidate, whoever he is?
“The mono-majority and the satellites will vote for any proposal of Zelensky on this issue. All groups of influence, especially in the Zelensky faction, do not care about the Foreign Ministry. There’s nothing to bargain for, the votes will definitely be there,” Oleg Voloshyn believes.