Faced with a fluctuating approval rating, President Zelensky is attempting to instill order in his party’s ranks. The voting machine that he built from his parliamentary majority is beginning to malfunction as deputies refuse to be mere cogs in that machine.
Solving humanitarian problems and stabilizing the area around the line of contact is the bare minimum outcome of talks on Ukraine that all sides consider necessary. At the same time, each side suspects that for its opponents, this minimum is also the maximum in terms of what is politically acceptable.
Moscow never wanted an annexation—it just wanted a bargaining chip. Understanding that is the key to settling the conflict once and for all.
Zelensky’s economic path has turned out to be as contradictory as his political path. Various promises ranging from libertarian reforms to classic social populism are hindering the implementation of any meaningful policy.
Street protests in Ukraine and the threat of destabilization are working to strengthen the authoritarian tendencies of President Zelensky’s rule. He sees that everywhere he has not managed to install his power vertical and his people, the seed of chaos and sabotage is germinating.
Two things have become clear following the dismissal of the head of Ukraine’s Institute of National Memory. First, Ukraine’s history politics must become more inclusive, and move away from the extremes of revolutionary fervor and the principles of party affiliation. Second, if the institute cannot be closed down, then it must be radically reformed. Above all, it must not be allowed to be monopolized by representatives of a single political persuasion.
Kolomoisky has been making use of his ambiguous position as the future president’s business partner since the very start of Zelensky’s election campaign, but this didn’t prevent Zelensky from sweeping to victory in the elections. Now, however, the trickster oligarch is becoming increasingly toxic for Zelensky’s team, not only within the country but also abroad.
For the Kremlin, key conditions for the prisoner exchange were President Zelensky’s reference to joint work by two states and two presidents, recognition that there were advantages to the swap for both sides, and the exclusion of the exchange from the victory/defeat paradigm.
The new Ukrainian government’s main problem is the harsh reality awaiting it. The majority of the new ministers—progressive young idealists who have studied at Western universities, founders of successful startups—may not be sufficiently familiar with the conditions of everyday life in the country away from the post-industrial digital economy clusters. A collision with that reality could be a shock, both for the reformers themselves and for Ukrainian society, which is desperate for immediate change.
Under President Zelensky, the decisionmaking center is being dislodged to make way for the president himself and the circle of people close to him. The role of the government will be reduced to that of technical implementation, while the new parliament, with its single-party majority and weak opposition, will also lose a lot of its former influence. This style of ruling is more akin to a super-presidential republic than the parliamentary-presidential model customary for Ukraine.