War and earth: why Ukraine is disappointed in Zelensky

Война и земля: почему Украина разочаровалась в ЗеленскомAccording to the poll, Ukraine dropped the rating of President Vladimir Zelensky, now it is supported by only 52% of the population. The level of support for policy decreased by 20% in two months, and by 12% for the month. This was facilitated by a number as the domestic political and external reasons. Ahead of the meeting in the Normandy format, the loss of popularity of President does he not at hand.

The rating of President Vladimir Zelensky started to plummet in November and decreased by 20%, according to a survey by the Kiev international Institute of sociology (KIIS). If in September the trust level of the Ukrainian leader was 72%, now positively the activity of the chief of the country’s estimated 52% of the respondents.

Illusions about the enormous popularity Zelensky throughout his presidential term no one had any. Such a high rating of inexperienced policy was due to total fatigue of Ukrainians from the war and the government of Petro Poroshenko, a decline in living standards, people’s love for Zelensky as the artist and, in the end, turning the presidential race into a real show.

Analysts had expected the hype and the euphoria wears off after a while after a stunning victory Zelensky, when the President will be able to Express themselves. In addition, given the complex political — both internal and external — the situation in Ukraine, rapid strides from the head of state none of the experts did not expect, however, patience and understanding of this factor from the citizens of the country.

However, such a significant fall for two months, besides, on the eve of the main political event for Zelensky — the meeting in the Normandy format, not in the hands of the President.

It is noteworthy that the level of popularity of the head of state began to decline in September and by next month the rating has fallen from 72% to 66%. By early November of KMIS recorded a slight decline of 2%. But this month the stars out again seriously decreased by 12% to 52%.

In addition to reducing the effect from strong presidential campaign, the loss of popularity Zelensky can be explained by several other reasons, including foreign policy.


What to expect from Zelensky, the President, it was not clear neither in the campaign nor during the first months of his reign. The Ukrainian leader did not form or did not disclose their positions on key national issues until September. Then, by the way, earned a new composition of the Verkhovna Rada, fully controlled by the party Zelensky, and the government was formed.

To refer to the unruly Parliament and the Cabinet, consisting of the environment of Petro Poroshenko, the President could not. Accordingly, the time that he was selected to inactivity has expired. And, first, the President waited for the developments in the Donbas. In September, however, it remained unclear what line will choose the Ukrainian leader in conflict resolution — whether it will comply with the Minsk agreement or go on your way.

The Ukrainian government in the first month of autumn was engaged in the adoption of laws on impeachment and deprivation of parliamentary immunity. That, however, many political analysts viewed as a PR campaign of the President.

In addition, in September the White house released the transcript of a telephone conversation between US President Donald trump with Vladimir Zelenskiy, which is also likely to hit the positions of the Ukrainian leader.

Zelensky called trump “a great teacher”, declared that the American President “the rights are not 100, but 1,000 percent,” and complained that the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and President of France Emmanuel macron not provide Kiev with assistance needs, in contrast to the White house.

Foreign and Ukrainian publications have described the talks as “a diplomatic disaster” for Zelensky, noting that the transcript was a demonstration of how “foreign leaders sucking up to Trump.”

In parallel, on the subject of Donbass, Russia and the Minsk agreements from the Office of the President still came only contradictory statements.

However, in early September, Zelensky made its first successful course — the exchange of prisoners with Russia. The event was a high tone to the policy of Kiev in this direction and was perceived by Ukrainians as a major step to resolving the conflict, which must be followed and following. The exchange of prisoners really was the first step, however, to wait for the second citizens of the country had a month.


October 1, Ukraine has agreed “formula Steinmeier”, involving the granting of special status republics of Donbass. Thus the President has chosen conflict resolution. Predictably, when Zelensky moved to action by Donbass question, to please all failed. The course of Kiev caused a lot of discontent among the nationalist-minded part of society. In some cities held rallies against the withdrawal of troops and holding of local elections in the Donbass.

However, after a few days of Kiev and the breakaway Republic started the withdrawal of forces. The first attempt, however, failed. According to the official reasons given from the side of Ukraine — because of violations of “silence mode”. On informal — from-for a demarche of the nationalists who arrived on the territory of the withdrawal of troops and staged a rally.

Around the same time, apparently, noticing first the downgrade Zelensky, the President’s office began to save the position of the policy. October 11, the President gave his first major press conference, which lasted more than 14 hours and was held in an informal setting — at the food court: cause sympathy from the public through a comedian Vladimir Zelensky can.

Although the breeding of the forces of Kiev was achieved by the end of October-beginning of November, the work in this area intensified. Ukraine was accepted for breeding, Zelensky went to the Donbass, I personally spoke with the nationalists, and already more specifically clarify their positions, Kiev will be accepted for the Minsk agreement, though, because Europe is already tired of the conflict and requires its completion.

Largely because of this, the President’s rating declined only 2% in October.


After dilution of the force was named the date of the meeting in the Normandy format on December 9. Here, however, a new problem arose — what Zelensky plans to negotiate until the end is unknown. In fact, the withdrawal of troops was the easiest stage in the Minsk agreements. To realize it, Kiev is faced with the following provisions of the Treaty, to decide on which Ukraine will be difficult. Vladimir Zelensky has said it has no plans to adhere to the specified plan that could delay the further process.

Now in front of Kiev there is a question of giving the Donbass “special status” — one of the main conditions of the Minsk agreements.

The law on special status was passed by the Verkhovna Rada in 2014. It involves giving the republics the right to participate in the formation of courts and Prosecutor’s offices, have their own militia groups, to conclude agreements with the regions of Russia, determine the official language and the right to a contractual relationship with the Ukrainian government.

The validity of the law expires on 31 December this year. Vladimir Zelensky has repeatedly stated that it will not renew its action, instead, will be introduced. However, no news was not forthcoming. Apparently, work on the initiative will be conducted after the meeting in the Normandy format. Thus, the Verkhovna Rada simply do not have time to consider and adopt a new bill before the expiration of the old one.

In addition, the development of new initiatives means that Kiev intends to rewrite some paragraphs, and for this he will need the consent of the other members of channel four. In particular, the current government of Ukraine is not satisfied that the transfer of border control will happen only after the elections. Kiev fears that the elections will be held according to its laws that will actually fix the complete independence of Donbass.

If the parties did not come to an agreement, but Kiev continues to insist on the amendments to the initiative, there is a high probability that in 2020 Ukraine will join even without a bill on the special status that set back progress on the Donbas issue.

Moscow almost certainly will not meet Kiev to change the important points of the agreement. The President of Russia Vladimir Putin has declared that expects from Kiev extension of the law on the special status of Donbas in the Normandy format.

“A very important circumstance. December 31 is the deadline for the law on the special status of Donbass, — said the Russian President at a press conference on the results of the BRICS summit. — So nothing was done. Now, the 31st is the deadline, then what? Which we will discuss in the Normandy format? This is a key question. But, in General, something is being done”.

It turns out that, despite the planned meeting, which was made to the Ukrainian leader, it remains unclear whether it will bring any results. Process risks again to falter, and it may hurt more to hit the President’s rating.

By the way, in parallel, in Ukraine the urgent issue of stable gas supply, which is also still not solved. Moscow and Kiev are holding negotiations on this issue, and there is a high likelihood that if the parties cannot come to an agreement, since January 1, the transit will cease altogether.

We should not dismiss domestic political reasons for the fall rating Zelensky. Largely on the positions of policy has hit the adoption by the Verkhovna Rada in the first reading the law on the land market, what happened on November 13.

According to the Director of the Kiev Center for political and conflict studies Mikhail Pogrebinsky, this is the main reason so many significant reduction in the level of popularity of the President this month.

KIIS research suggests that a bill on the sale of land, adopted and promoted by the government, finds wide support among citizens. The results of the survey show that the initiative is supported by only 29%, while 64% of Ukrainians are dissatisfied with the bill.

Vladimir Zelensky has recorded a video message in which he said that the bill will be amended, resulting in the possibility of selling land to foreign nationals will be decided through a referendum.

“The President Zelensky right fit for the bill, urging society members to vote for it. He aired his statement with a Frank and manipulation saying that he was convinced that the people are against the sale of land to foreigners, says Mikhail Pogrebinsky. —

This manipulation because, if the law is passed in the format in which he has already prepared, already has the ability without a referendum to purchase land by foreigners, there are many ways to do it. But the most important thing is that people are against any form of sale of land not only to foreigners, but to Ukrainian oligarchs.”

Anyway, the ratings drop ahead of the meeting in the Normandy format is not on the President’s hand. This is, firstly, weakens his negotiating position. In the case that it will require to change key points of the agreement, Europe and Russia may indicate that the Ukrainians had already shown the request to end the war, and the President ought to act in their interests, and not to proceed with a new round of talks.

In addition, no matter how the meeting went, then Ukraine may enter into a zone of turbulence. If Zelensky will go on complying with all clauses of the agreement, it will cause dissatisfaction of the nationalists. Looking at the falling position of the head of state took advantage of the situation and able political opponents of the President to bring people to the streets, saying “surrender to Russia.”

If Zelensky will insist on their own terms and the negotiations will not bring results, then something more can lead to the frustration of large part of society that wants the end of the war.

However, according to Mikhail Pogrebinsky, a meeting in the Normandy format, on the contrary, will retain the position of the Ukrainian leader.

“People have not yet seen any real success in this direction besides breeding at three points, it doesn’t look for people until quite convincingly. But I think his trip to Paris can delay this decline in the rating and keep it at 52% for some time”, — the expert believes.


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