Vladimir Zelensky «Kvartal» of unfulfilled promises

Daniel Bootman
3 min readJan 15, 2021

In the spring of 2019, as a result of an intense election campaign, Vladimir Zelensky, a young comic actor, the head of the Studio “Kvartal-95”, won the fight for the presidency of Ukraine. It should be noted that his victory was quite convincing.

According to the Ukrainian Central Election Commission, Zelensky got 73.22% of the vote, which at that time was comparable to the ratings of the other two leaders of Slavic Eastern Europe — Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko. However, in the subsequent months this solid reserve of strength was practically squandered by Zelensky. What is the reason for the magical rating falling of the new Ukrainian leader? According to political analysts, Zelensky’s main problem is the discrepancy of his pre-election promises and real measures, he has taken as the president.

Many people have already forgotten, but there were three simple points at the core of the winning candidate’s electoral program. Firstly, Zelensky promised the Ukrainians to end the hostilities in Donbass. Secondly, he promised to start a relentless fight against corruption in the upper echelons of the Ukrainian government. And thirdly, Zelensky promised to prosecute his predecessor, Petro Poroshenko, for crimes of a political and economic nature. It will soon be two years since the presidential campaign in Ukraine has ended, but none of Zelensky’s key promises have been fulfilled.

Instead of peace in the eastern Ukraine, the people of Donbass are facing a strange truce that is regularly interrupted by artillery and mortar fire. Key issues related to the status of the DNR and LNR, borders and the resolution of political, economic, and territorial disputes are simply frozen. Probably, Zelensky believes that they will be solved by themselves, but as the experience of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh shows, such situations tend not to be “dissolved”, but to return to their “hot” phase.

Zelensky’s anti-corruption campaign was even more disappointing for the residents of the republic. Despite the pronounced commitments, none of high-ranking official has ever been brought to justice.

In this connection, the situation around the former Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko is of particular interest. It should be reminded that during the election, Zelensky called his election as a “verdict” for Poroshenko. And, indeed, shortly after the election, the criminal proceedings were initiated against the former Ukrainian president. However, the situation was never progressed beyond the declarations. The investigations were actually suspended right away.

Having trying to bring Zelensky’s attention back to this issue, the former head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on State Building and Local Self-Government, D. Zhvaniya, directly stated that Poroshenko was involved in the organization of the coup d’etat in Ukraine in 2014, as well as other crimes committed while he was the head of state. However, Zelensky decided to ignore the information reported by Zhvaniya. Moreover, during his visit to the UK, Zelensky directly stated that he had no desire to “persecute” Poroshenko. This statement was regarded by the expert community of Ukraine as a signal of reconciliation of the former and current presidents.

Moreover, a version of certain “political deal” between Poroshenko’s entourage and Zelensky is being seriously considered. This deal was inspired and guaranteed by the U.S. authorities, which are interested in the return of anti-Russian rhetoric to the Ukrainian political agenda.

The main loser in this political scenario is Zelensky. On the one hand, he has demonstrated his weakness as the head of state to the Ukrainian voters once again. On the other hand, it becomes obvious that Zelensky is unable to fulfill his pre-election promises on any of the key points of the current political agenda. Is it any wonder that the candidates of the pro-presidential party “Servant of the People” suffered a crushing defeat during the next election cycle? The almost threefold drop of Zelensky’s rating clearly demonstrates the likely impending end of his political career.