Zelensky’s Hot Autumn: Ukraine’s Fate Will Be Decided Again in the Streets

In the autumn, there may be a danger for the Ukrainian state “at the level of 2014”, according to political scientist Ruslan Bortnik. According to him, the government has now weakened, and the drop in the approval rating of President Vladimir Zelensky recorded in June polls will become a serious problem for him.

Now any initiatives of the President will initially pass through a sieve, through a filter of critical perception of society, emphasises Bortnik.

“Whatever he offers, the majority of society is already against Zelensky,” the political scientist said on the air of “ukrlife.tv”.


He added that the thesis “the Tsar is good, the boyars are bad” has stopped working, and now everything that the government does “falls on the President”.

The approval rating of the presidential party Servants of the People is falling — and this is happening against the background of the rising approval ratings of the party of former President Petro Poroshenko “European Solidarity” and “Opposition Platform — For Life“.

According to the expert, the “Servants of the People” party may well be defeated in local elections, and this may lead to a fully-fledged political crisis, leading “to the acceleration of the organisation of early parliamentary and presidential elections”.

Bortnik noted that this situation is the result of the inaction of the President and his team: “the key social promises — peace, prosperity, and the fight against corruption – have not been fulfilled”. In addition, the political scientist added, three serious tactical mistakes were made — “the land reform, the memorandum with the IMF, and, of course, a huge number of internal conflicts… within the governmental team, which regularly generates a crisis for itself.”

So far, the authorities do not need an early parliamentary election, because they will not be able to get a mono-majority in the new parliament. However, judging by the trends, the crisis may seriously worsen in the autumn, and then Zelensky may opt for an early parliamentary election in order to save his post, the political scientist suggested.

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“It seems that once again the fate of Ukraine can be decided on the streets, and it seems that all political forces are preparing for a street fight today,” said Bortnik, recalling the events surrounding the party of Shary and the arrival of former Secretary of the National Security Council Aleksandr Turchynov in “European Solidarity” — this can hardly be explained only by preparation for local elections.

According to the political scientist, “European Solidarity” seems to think that either an early parliamentary election or large-scale street protests are very likely.

The expert also noted the creation of a “combat wing” in “Opposition Platform — For Life” (“Patriots For Life”), attempts by local elites to acquire their own siloviki units, and finally, the threatening rhetoric of “National Corpus“. And he concluded: in the autumn, the country “will face a fight for control of the street, and a fight, perhaps, of a level that we have not seen since 2013-2014.”

At the same time, the government now has no “street resource”. All of this is happening against the backdrop of a deepening socio-economic crisis, Bortnik stressed, adding that he sees “a huge danger” for the Ukrainian state.

Well, we are all already seeing the first manifestations of the war for control of the street. As a reminder, nationalists publicly announced a “safari” against activists of Shary’s party, attacks were made in different cities, people were seriously injured. There were also attacks on the offices of “Opposition Platform — For Life”.

At the same time, the “National Corpus” party demands to ban Shary’s party and “Opposition Platform — For Life” for being “vatnik” (pro-Russian).

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In turn, Anatoly Shary accused specific officials in the office of the President and Zelensky himself of “protecting” nationalist radicals.

What about Zelensky? Despite repeated calls from Shary’s supporters (and himself) to express his position on the attacks, he remains silent.

By flirting with nationalist radicals, Zelensky can end up becoming their hostage, according to the expert of the Kiev Center for Political Research and Conflictology Aleksey Popov. Commenting in an interview, after the attack of radicals on Shary’s party members in the absence of a clear reaction from the authorities, the expert said: “This is all very disturbing in the run-up to the local elections, where there will be a lot of participants. An escalation of violence against potential candidates can begin. Such things have never happened before.”

The situation is really serious. As was noted by political scientist Rostislav Ishchenko, Zelensky has not only lost his supporters, he does not have serious support in society — and so for six months there have been discussions in the Ukrainian expert community: “Will Zelensky be removed in the autumn or will they wait a little?”.

And they are more and more inclined to him being overthrown.

Meanwhile, in the ranks of nationalists, the idea is maturing that through fair elections, the “Ukrainian segment” will inevitably lose, and the next president will be “openly pro-Russian”. Therefore, they say, a “counter-system extraordinary revolution” is needed.

Will it be limited to appeals and argumentation?

Andrey Lubensky

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