Opinion: Zelensky's Victory Is Beneficial to All, A Reset for Ukraine After April 21

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RTA expert Dmitry Astakhov believes that not only huge unpopularity, but also the loss of support from external partners will act against Petro Poroshenko in the second round.

Leaky image

Commenting on the results of the elections, Dmitry Astakhov recalled that competitive elections always mean a serious domestic struggle of elites and the lack of consensus in society on the main issues of state policy. According to the expert, Zelensky's impressive result in the first round speaks about the vulnerability of the entire power group of Petro Poroshenko in 2019. "On the one hand, for five years of his presidency Poroshenko managed to "crush" competitors in the person of Akhmetov and Kolomoisky and put himself at the head of the entire financial and political system, including the shadow one. However, Ukraine has never been a homogeneous state, and no leader had a "mandate" for absolute power. Poroshenko was no exception, especially since the first years of the presidency was labeled "President of the war" and became strongly associated with the protracted war in the Donbass. It is obvious that in such circumstances there has long been a request in society and in the elites for the removal of the oligarch," the analyst says. According to Astakhov, by 2019 the critical mass of social discontent focused around the figure of the President, and Poroshenko himself sadly changed physically and hardly hides nervousness from what is happening. "Poroshenko partly himself presented him with a "black spot" and became the embodiment of all the problems of Ukraine. Now in the minds of any politician or ordinary citizen to get rid of Poroshenko is the first stage of any changes for the better," he notes. "With such a personal unpopularity, the political fate of the oligarch would be more predictable if he had his own political force, a program and an action plan for the future. But Ukraine lives for the external money of the IMF "from tranche to tranche" and even more drives itself into crisis, and the government is only concerned about trying to get another loan. Poroshenko also does not have an adequate political platform — he strengthened the power by semi-legal methods, with the help of diverse power structures and "battalions". However, what worked well in the "dark days", now only repels voters tired of the lawlessness," Astakhov stressed.

On all fronts

According to Astakhov, Zelensky's figure is the complete opposite of the image of the battered oligarch and President of the war Petro Poroshenko. "He is young and has no relation to the power — unlike all other candidates and in particular Tymoshenko with whom common people are bored  already. The second point — Zelensky is unlikely to have economic ambitions, at least somehow comparable to the appetites of the current President. This is a colossal plus for all ruling financial and political groups of Ukraine, as it opens up opportunities for competition that were lost after Poroshenko established his dictatorship. A vote for Zelensky is obvious," he says. The favor of Western partners also ensures victory of Zelensky, according to Astakhov. The analyst reminds that Europe has long written off Poroshenko, moreover, his presidency completely blocks any compromises with Russia on the Donbas. "Vladimir Vladimirovich does not discuss anything with Petro Oleksiyovych as a matter of principle,  and even refuses to talk to him on the phone. Any format of settlement in the Donbas is impossible, while Poroshenko will not go away. In Europe this is well understood," said the expert. According to him, the fact that Zelensky has no political background also makes him a favorable figure for Brussels. "If you like, Zelensky is a kind of "technocrat", the President for all the people, who will definitely take into account the interests of all the political forces in the country. This approach is close to Western democracies, especially since for Brussels it is much more secure to conduct a dialogue with different groups of influence and civil society than to find out how to treat autocratic oligarchs of Eastern Europe," Astakhov points out. "Zelensky's victory is beneficial to all, and if we are lucky Ukraine will start its reset after April 21.  . Of course, there will be no rapid changes, but geopolitics around Kyiv should, if not warm up, then at least get out of the dead "clinch" of recent years. Perhaps we should expect a series of mutual concessions of major players for the sake of "stabilization" of Ukraine, and may observe another redistribution of property inside the country. In any case, Zelensky's victory will launch serious changes, which in itself can be considered a plus for modern Ukraine," Astakhov says.