Five Reasons Why Zelensky is Failing in Ukraine
Zelensky faces a political future that is no laughing matter.
Poor Volodymyr Zelensky. In April 2019, the comedian-turned-presidential candidate won Ukraine’s highest office by a nearly three to one margin before trouncing the country’s established political parties a few months later in the parliamentary elections. His new party won so many seats that Zelensky held a majority in parliament. Now Zelensky faces a political future that is no laughing matter.
Zelensky was elected on three promises: to end the war in eastern Ukraine, to make the large Eastern European country of 42 million rich, and to stanch corruption. But after an initial burst of activity on the reform front, he ended up faltering on these pledges. The kettledrum rhetoric about fundamentally changing Ukraine has faded away to a faint pianissimo. Only a year in, he seems languid and defeated.
The shift isn’t just in tone; it’s also in substance and personnel. Zelensky sacked his reform-minded prime minister, most of his cabinet, prosecutor general, and many other top officials in March and April, stunning everyone. The timing couldn’t have been worse. The global coronavirus pandemic reached Ukraine a few weeks later and may well devour up to 8.2 percent of its GDP. Zelensky has hired flunkeys with little experience and even old Yanukovych cronies.
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