The Oligarchic Consensus in Ukraine Will Be Short-Lived

Vladimir Zelensky, who entered the position of the president of Ukraine, began his reign with the dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada and made many promises to citizens: to end war, to simplify the issue of Ukrainian passports, and to improve the living conditions of the population.

Many apprehended Zelensky’s speech in the Verkhovna Rada as a good sign and a chance for high-quality changes. According to the political scientist Rostislav Ishchenko, we should not lay great hopes on the new president. He reminded that with the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Ukraine formed itself as an oligarchical state where with every new president this or that business group arrived in the public political arena.

Both Maidans did not become a revolution, but only a tool for the replacement of some oligarchs with others. The oligarchical leadership in Ukraine has different forms. One of them is an oligarchical consensus, when a weak president is coupled with a strong parliament (Yushchenko, Zelensky, Yanukovych).

The second form is an authoritative governance assuming de facto concentration of all completeness of power in the hands of a strong president, coupled with a weak and shattered parliament (Poroshenko).

During the 2019 election Igor Kolomoisky managed to ensure an oligarchical consensus around Zelensky, “having actually stolen it from Tymoshenko at the last minute,” noted Ishchenko. It is obvious that this time a stake was placed on a weak president with a weak team. There are no doubts that Zelensky will not make any decision without the approval of his curators.

At the moment all the completeness of power in Ukraine passes into the hands of a few key figures: Kolomoisky, Avakov, Tymoshenko. There are also many secondary characters, such as Biletsky, Lukash, and Bukharev. Ishchenko assumed that the parliamentary majority in the future parliamentary election will be formed by the “Servant of the People” and Batkivshchyna parties. Tymoshenko will become a Prime Minister and Avakov will remain the Minister of Internal Affairs, because law enforcement is on his side.

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In general, the “existence of an ‘oligarchical consensus’ does not mean the arrival of stability – on the contrary, this is an extremely unstable status”. Temporarily reached agreements will work until “more profitable offers arrive”. An oligarchical consensus in Ukraine can exist exactly until this or that businessman and their group become strengthened so much so that it will start to pose a threat for others, and then the repartition of power will be started over again.

A number of factors will become the catalyst of Ukraine tumbling towards new infighting. This is the growing hatred in the people towards institutes of the oligarchical republic and the armed neo-Nazi groups, which will definitely not accept announced reconciliation with Donbass.

“Thus, Zelensky’s inauguration marks not the end of the period of the transition of power and not the beginning of the dismantling of Poroshenko’s system, but only the start of a chaotic fight for preference within the system of oligarchical consensus,” emphasised the expert.

In conclusion, Ishchenko doubted the ability of the Ukrainian authorities to stop the dive into chaos. In the country there are no positive forces interested in this. And Zelensky’s team is not a force in general.

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