“Putschist” Zelensky, “Righteous” Ukraine & The “Defiant” Constitutional Court

Many smart people said that a clown should not go into politics. It’s not that they doesn’t belong there. There have been, are and will be artists (including comedians) who demonstrate no less professionalism in political intrigues than in the performing arts. Some royal jesters are worth something!

But to be politically successful, it is not enough to be able to make faces for the amusement of an unassuming public, you must have at least minimal knowledge and at least rudimentary intelligence that allows you to use this knowledge. Otherwise, the delight of the marginal crowd, waiting for a miracle, is instantly replaced by burning hatred, and yesterday’s idol, today, is ready to be torn to pieces or sent to the stake even for something to which they have a very indirect relationship.

Poor Zelensky has been accused of violating the Ukrainian constitution for the second week in a row. Ukrainian opinion leaders are important to talk about how important it is to respect the Basic Law and how Zelensky insulted hurt their feelings.

Honestly, this is ridiculous. Not because Zelensky is a clown, but because either a complete inadequate person or a humanoid who has just arrived from another galaxy and has not yet fully managed to get used to the current reality can seriously talk about Ukrainian legality (including constitutional legality). To assume the possibility of indecency in relation to the Ukrainian constitution is like accusing a person who has looked into a brothel of seducing a prostitute with 30 years of experience.

Let me remind you that the very creation of an independent Ukraine (by seceding from the USSR) was in contradiction with the constitution in force at that time. The first early presidential and parliamentary elections, which resulted in Kuchma replacing Kravchuk as president, were also held on the basis of a political compromise, and not in accordance with the law. Back then there were minor violations, such as Kuchma increasing his first term from four to five years, in connection with the adoption of the new constitution, as well as the refusal of the Verkhovna Rada, contrary to the constitutional norm, to implement the results of the all-Ukrainian referendum.

But this is rubbish — just “mistakes of youth” that happen to everyone. The abuse of the Ukrainian constitution reached an industrial scale under Yushchenko. He came to power as a result of an unconstitutional third round and, thus, was initially an illegitimate president (usurper). In 2007, he illegally dissolved the legitimate Verkhovna Rada. The new parliament was thus elected in violation of the constitution, under the forceful pressure of the usurper, and was initially illegitimate. Then the illegitimate parliament and president appointed an illegitimate government. In the end, illegitimate regional governors were appointed together with the government. The entire system of government in Ukraine has lost its legitimacy. It is not necessary to speak about constitutionality in principle.

One could refer to the fact that the 2010 election of president Yanukovych, which was recognised by the entire international community as fair and transparent, followed by the 2012 elections to the Verkhovna Rada, which also did not cause any complaints, restored the legitimacy of the government in accordance with international standards provided for such cases. But the trouble is in February 2014 Yanukovych was illegally removed from power by the putschists, and after him, the parliament was also illegally dissolved ahead of time.

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The Ukrainian political system has again lost its legitimacy and has not regained it. If Zelensky’s election, even though it took place under Avakov’s undisguised forceful pressure, can still be recognised as corresponding to the will of the people, then his early dissolution of the parliament again had all the signs of a coup d’etat and usurpation of power.

We like to say that Poroshenko was legitimised by the international community, which recognised his election. However, in this case, we are talking about external legitimacy. It is, of course, important, because they may refuse to meet with those who are not recognised (even though the non-recognition of Lukashenko doesn’t prevent the west from working with him).

But much more important is the internal legitimacy, i.e., the recognition by the people of the legitimacy of the ruling regime. Neither Putin, nor Obama, nor Merkel, nor Xi Jinping, nor any other world leader had or has the authority to recognise the legitimacy of any foreign power, in terms of internal procedures.

Internal legitimation is a matter for the people of the state concerned. The very fact of the ongoing civil war in Ukraine, which also tends to grow, indicates that a significant (even larger) part of the people does not recognise the legitimacy of the regime established in 2014. Moreover, the primary legitimacy of Zelensky (the support of his people) it was based on the fact that he was perceived by his voters as a gravedigger of the illegal regime.

From this point of view, any actions of Zelensky aimed at destroying the current system should be recognised as having the highest internal legitimacy, since they meet the demands of the majority of his voters. I am absolutely sure that if Zelensky had imprisoned Poroshenko, all the ministers of Poroshenko’s government and most of the deputies of the Rada that acted under Poroshenko, and only then decided to disperse the Constitutional Court (and replace all its judges), he would have been supported by an absolute majority of voters, who would have given his actions full internal legitimacy.

Zelensky’s problem is that his fight with the Constitutional Court is rightly considered by Ukrainian voters as his personal matter, far from their (voters’) interests. He just squandered the credit of trust and is not able to return it. However, the people do not trust his opponents (Poroshenko, Medvedchuk, Kolomoisky), as well as the attacked Constitutional Court, any more. Therefore, Zelensky is still not in prison, and Ukrainian opinion leaders are still arguing who will win in this confrontation.

I think Zelensky will still lose. But not because he was wrong. There is no right. It’s just that, firstly, no one needs him either inside the country or outside its borders, and secondly, he’s as daft as a brush.

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I understand that he had a problem: western friends demanded to solve the problem with the Constitutional Court, threatening not to give money. Stimulated by Kolomoisky and his political partners, the court in principle did not want to listen to the president. And Zelensky did not find anything better than to deal with the dissolution of the recalcitrant. That’s where his stupidity came in.

A smart person, for a start, would ask the west for at least $1 billion or $1.5 billion of support. After all, Zelensky got involved in a fierce battle with people who represent most of the Ukrainian political establishment in exchange for a promise to give him the money that he needed yesterday. If the west gave him a more or less solid sum – it would be evidence that they will support him in the fight and are going to play with him further (investment in a specific politician). If the west refused, let them solve their own problems with the Constitutional Court. Why should Zelensky drag the west’s chestnuts out of the fire if he is still going to be left to fend for himself as soon as he has fully exhausted his resource?

Further, if the money was invested by the west in Zelensky, it would be possible to start putting pressure on the court. Just not in such a crazy way as Zelensky did. Constitutional judges were illegally dismissed under Yushchenko in 2007 (by presidential decree) and in 2014 (by a resolution of the Verkhovna Rada). Only the parliament and the president strictly dismissed each judge from their quota. So there were relevant precedents, and if Zelensky had asked the parliament to pass a resolution to recall judges from the parliamentary quota, he could have referred to the 2014 precedent. At the same time, if the Constitutional Court tried to recognise this practice as unconstitutional with a delay of 6 years, it would have to return to the Constitutional Court five judges dismissed by the parliament in February 2014 and withdraw from the court all those who were appointed in their places.

In addition, it would be necessary to bring to criminal responsibility all those who committed an illegal act (deputies who introduced the draft resolution and voted for it, the authors of the legal examination, as well as Turchynov, who signed it). Finally, if Zelensky decided to dismiss judges appointed under the presidential quota by decree and his actions were declared unconstitutional, he would refer to the Yushchenko precedent in 2007. Accordingly, it would be necessary to bring the “messiah” of the first Maidan to criminal responsibility for the coup. In this way it’s possible to go too far, because in fact, only for these two cases, there will be a need to jail half of the putschists, both of 2004-05 and 2013-14. At the same time, it is water off a duck’s back for Zelensky, because, after all, until now these actions were not considered illegal. As a last resort, the Constitutional Court would have revoked the decree.

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But that’s not all. Viktor Yushchenko was a great inventor. Having no constitutional opportunity to dismiss many officials who were uncomfortable for him, who were appointed by decrees of both his personal and the previous president, he began to practice issuing decrees on the cancellation of appointment decrees. This is how a minister works for himself for five years, and then bang – a decree stating that his appointment didn’t actually happen. This is such a special practice of Ukrainian borderline constitutionality, but it was also not condemned and canceled – the precedents are valid. So Zelensky could issue a decree not even on the dismissal of judges appointed under the presidential quota, but on the cancellation of the decrees that appointmented them. Then apply to the parliament with a request to cancel the decision on the appointment of judges according to the parliamentary quota. And that’s all – the court is paralysed, but in the meantime opponents will figure out how to get out of the situation, quickly appoint new judges, quickly hold a meeting and recognise their actions as constitutional. Let them complain to the sports lottery. It’s quite in the spirit of the Ukrainian political tradition.

Instead, Zelensky flew at full speed into the trap prepared by Kolomoisky. I do not think that the decision to abolish the constitutionality of laws on the creation of anti-corruption bodies was so fundamental for the latter. Kolomoisky was able and is able to solve his problems with these bodies quietly and imperceptibly, besides, the decision of the Constitutional Court is much more expensive. Kolomoisky just knows how to play chess, and therefore count, at least a couple of moves ahead. The indignation of the west and the subsequent spontaneous actions of Zelensky and his team of idiots were calculated without problems.

Result: Kolomoisky showed the Americans that he can break any of their plans in Ukraine. Medvedchuk showed the Ukrainian anti-fascist electorate that he can effectively fight elements of the external control system. Poroshenko was given the opportunity to defend the constitution, the “European choice” and mobilise right-wing radicals against Zelensky, despite the fact that no one stood up for Zelensky. Akhmetov doesn’t care. If Zelensky is eaten, he will come to negotiate with the next president and his proposals will be oh so good.

Only a poor 42-year-old “not a sucker” sits at a broken trough and dreams that everything will somehow resolve itself. And after all, what is the boy’s fault in front of his voters? That he’s stupid and ambitious? And if he wasn’t, would he have gone to the delight of his 73% of enthusiastic admirers (now disillusioned) for the presidency of a destroyed state?

What they wanted, they got it – wait, maybe it will resolve itself.


Rostislav Ishchenko

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