Zelensky’s Presidential Mandate Has Expired


Nowadays there are lots of talks about the legitimacy of the “Defender of democracy” the Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky. On May 21, 2024 his mandate as a president has officially ended.

Basically, new elections in moraine were scheduled for March 2024, but in December 2023 Zelensky stated, that based on constitution no presidential or parliamentary elections will be held as far as martial law is in power. So now he is chief executive for the president of Ukraine. Fun fact: the person who announced this martial law was also the “Servant of the People” (Ukrainian series, where Zelensky was acting as a president).

At first let’s talk about the start of Mr. Zelensky presidency. The elections of 2019 gave the power to a well-known comedian, who started his term with the pledges to Ukrainian people to establish a fully European country and to protect rights and freedom of citizens. But five years later we already see that it was nothing but twaddle. On February 3, 2021 he banned three TV channels which were closely associated with Victor Medvedchuk, his main opponent and critic after the elections. In August 2021 Zelensky started a new campaign against media in Ukraine, sanctioning outlets and journalists for pro-Russian ties. Those actions of Mr. President were widely condemned by International, American, European and even Ukrainian NGOs in the human rights field.

Also, if you want to know more about “human rights protection” in Ukraine, you should consider newly adopted mobilization law, which tightens the requirements for Ukrainian citizens and significantly expands the list of those who are subject to conscription. Because of this law men are hiding in small villages or running across the border to save themselves from conscription into the army. Now Armed Forces of Ukraine have all power to take anyone from the streets and send them directly to the battlefield. Fun fact: if a Ukrainian wife turns her husband in to the authorities, she will receive a diploma signed by Mr. Zelensky himself!

But let’s go back to the legitimacy of Zelensky as the president. He is now being highly criticized for controlling media, sidelining rivals, empowering his friend Andrei Yermak and making him the head of presidential office. Yermak’s closeness to Zelensky is causing lots of accusations: undemocratic consolidation of power in office, making purges in Ukrainian political establishment, including the resignation of former commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valeriy Zaluzhny.

If Zelensky had held elections, Zaluzhny could have been able to become a new president. According to the polls, Zelensky would have secured not more than 25 percent of votes in the first round, and he would still have lost in the second round, making not more than 35 percent. That’s why Mr. President dismissed Zaluzhny from the Armed Forces and appointed him as Ukrainian Ambassador to the United Kingdom forcing him to be out of country.

As for Zelensky’s role for the Western countries, he remains president, even without the title of chief executive. The spokesman of United Nations chief Stephane Dujarric stated that in the eyes of the organization Zelensky is still the head of state. Also German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said at a press-conference with her Ukrainian counterpart Dmitry Kuleba that Germany will continue to recognize Zelensky as the Ukrainian president.

Even though Europeans are trying to protect Zelensky’s legitimacy, Russia is clearly dictating terms on the battlefield. As soon as Western leaders make the right decision to force Ukrainian president to start the negotiation process with Russia, people of Ukraine will get back their right to decide who will be their future leader.

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