Who Will Run Ukraine Now? With Inexperienced Zelensky at the Helm, Whole Country is Easy Meat!
Europe responds to the change of power in Ukraine in an original way. Some leaders are already scaring Zelensky with Putin, others are claiming to take control of Ukraine. Actually, Ukraine has been under external control until now. Namely, under American control. For the United States, Ukraine was just cannon fodder in the struggle against Russia. It's a more complicated issue for Europe.
See Mikhail Antonov's report from Berlin about the Ukrainian puzzle for the EU.
The elected president of Ukraine is a man from nowhere, a newbie. He doesn't have a political background but he's experienced in taking on different roles. He's clearly a phenomenon. This has become the subject of expert analysis and, for the most part, non-public exchange of views in the professional sphere. For many years, Heino Wiese was the main political adviser to the German Social Democrats. He rents this private box at the stadium of the Hannover-96 soccer club together with his old friend Gerhard Schröder. There'll be a match soon. They have things to discuss during the halftime.
Heino Wiese: «It's interesting to see how things will develop further. Will Zelensky manage to hold onto power? Will he be able to change anything? Benevolent intentions aren't enough. You need to have the power to change things. It's hard to assess the prospects for a novice. Soon he'll understand that he needs a parliamentary majority».
«Good evening, dear friends».
This is the post-industrial dystopian-like plot where the position of a man in the state hierarchy is determined by the number of likes on social media. On the other hand, let's take Trump, who has been communicating with the world via his Twitter or his employees' Twitters.
“President Trump called to congratulate Vladimir Zelensky and the Ukrainian people for a peaceful and democratic election. We will continue to support Ukraine's efforts to restore its territorial integrity and counter Russian aggression.”
Zelensky is being congratulated and asked to pay visits as soon as possible. Berlin, Paris, London, the EU, and NATO promise that he will receive their support and lay hopes on him that he will fight corruption, continue economic reforms, and go on the path of democracy which victory they saw in the course of a free and fair, in their view, election. The press reacts mostly the same way it did after Poroshenko, or even Yushchenko, was elected. Now, they write about Zelensky but this time in a simple and schematic, childish manner, since he lacks the background.
«The people who voted for him hope that he can solve problems in the country. For instance, that he can deal with poverty in Ukraine. The fact that Poroshenko disappointed the electorate contributed to the result. Poroshenko promised changes and peace but there was little done in this direction. The new president is to prove that he can achieve better results».
Western experts say Zelensky's chances aren't very high due to the fact that he built his campaign on negating the current oligarchic system of power in Ukraine, having no opposition concept or forces that he can rely on. He is being compared to Macron but Zelensky's situation is obviously more complicated.
Volker Weicksel, political analyst: In a few months, or a year and a half, we'll see an anti-Zelensky movement the same way Macron faced the yellow vests in France.
— Does it mean that Ukrainians are going to face an unpleasant awakening?
— You can't accuse the Ukrainians of being too naive. They were just desperate and badly wanted to remove the president. I don't think that Ukrainian society has unrealistic expectations or utopian views so the country will do just great from now on. Taking into account Zelensky's weak credentials, it will be extremely difficult to stop the war in the east. I don't see the prerequisites for drastic changes.
Zelensky can't negotiate with Moscow independently; he isn't experienced enough. That is a common point of view. But furthermore, the West isn't that unanimous. The question is who is going to manipulate the inexperienced politician? Will it be Washington and London or Berlin and Paris? The views of the place of Ukraine have considerably diverged over five years. Continental Europe is tired of sanctions. Sober-minded politicians and business groups demand normal relations with Moscow. But nothing has changed for the Anglo-Saxons. And it won't.
The press secretary for British Prime Minister May commented on her phone conversation with Zelensky: «The Prime Minister stressed the importance of our two countries working together alongside the international community to deter Russian aggression».
The United States and Britain consider Ukraine to be a battering-ram against Russia. You have to break an egg. And they follow Victoria Nuland's approach when communicating with the EU, which she worded in 2014 when she dropped the F-bomb on the EU.
Heino Wiese: «The phrase is as relevant as ever. The United States is headed by a man who could voice these words. It's all about interests. Germany has been effortlessly moving on the track of the United States which allowed it to achieve considerable economic success. Now, times are different. The USA realized that Germany could be a dangerous opponent. As a result, they developed strategies to counteract Germany».
Maintaining the hostile buffer zone between Germany and Russia consisting mainly of Baltic countries, Poland, and Ukraine, has become an indispensable condition of preserving American dominance in Europe. It's a comprehensible strategy. Take Poroshenko, who was fed on credit and interest by the IMF and who knew his master. He was satisfied with a meeting with a second-rate official. A brief meeting with Trump became the pinnacle of his diplomacy.
In Washington's point of view, Zelensky should look capable and reassuring. He wants to remake the Normandy format by including the United States and Britain there, urges to impose new sanctions on Russia, and clearly has no idea how to end the civil war. Such a person will take trips to Europe the same way his predecessor did — often, but with no results. It's that known psychotherapeutic therapy sessions in Berlin didn't keep Poroshenko from taking crazy measures. It's all due to the fact Europe has never managed to adopt a definite approach towards what they should do with Ukraine. It's simultaneously too early and too late to formulate a clear concept. There'll be an election to the European Parliament in a month, then a new European Commission, and then, maybe, a new chancellor of Germany.
If Europe realized its interests towards Ukraine and connected it to the interests of other neighbors it would help Zelensky more than all the declarations of support that he's been flooded with this week. If the current state of affairs remains, then democracy in Ukraine will win. Over and over. Until it loses.
Mikhail Antonov, Alexander Korostelev, Denis Lisitsyn, Andrey Putra, Vesti Nedeli.