Petro Poroshenko: Statesman, Reformer, Oligarch


In the five years of the presidency of Petro Poroshenko as Ukraine has changed more than its predecessors. But his Slogan “a new way of life” remained only a Slogan, say critics.

“No one wants to buy a pig in a poke. It must be chosen a true President and commander-in-chief, leading our country into the EU and NATO”, – said the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko recently in front of his followers. This is the leitmotif of his election campaign. Poroshenko will be elected for a second term and has positioned itself with all his strength as a statesman against his Challenger, political novice Showman Volodymyr Selenskyj.

“The best President of Ukraine”

Poroshenko is since two decades in politics. He was in four parties, four times Deputy, twice Minister, and chief of the National security and defense Council, witnessed nine Prime Ministers and three presidents. Since five years he is President, the best in the recent history of Ukraine, writes the political scientist Andreas Umland. “He was very successful in foreign policy, very safe and convincing in the international Arena, a good Diplomat, speaks good English,” says Umland. Poroshenko’s biggest achievements were the signing of the EU Association agreement, the visa waiver for the Schengen area, as well as the independence of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

In addition to the “Patriotic” voters, which the defense force of the country and the demarcation of Russia is important to support Poroshenko also many entrepreneurs. The financial and Supervisory authorities are less under pressure than in the past. Hundreds of regulations have been abolished, and the powers since the Soviet era entrepreneurs. In spite of the war in the East of the country to foreign investment flow. As the Russian market for many Ukrainian Goods when they have been opened up world new. And also: In five years Ukraine in the international Doing Business Index from rank 137 improved to 71. However, corruption has been a major topic of the election campaign, also in connection with Poroshenko.

Reforms only under pressure?

But how the reforms have been driven actually? It was political will of the state leadership or pressure from the International monetary Fund (IMF) and the EU, which have kept the country in exchange for reforms before the bankruptcy? Here are the opinions of Poroshenko’s supporters and critics. The result of Poroshenko’s five years in office – 16 percent of the votes in the first round of the presidential elections – to reflect, at least, great skepticism. The comedian Volodymyr Selenskyj reached, however, without a Team and without a clear political program, almost twice as many votes.

Volodymyr Selenskyj after his victory in the first round of the election

In view of the IMF-required unpopular reforms, including raising gas prices several times, was Poroshenko’s election result is still quite respectable. Especially in comparison to its predecessors: Viktor Yanukovych had to flee to Russia, and Viktor Yushchenko was voted out of office with just five percent of the vote. To be better than its predecessor, but guarantees no re-election. According to surveys, want to vote in the runoff election less than 30 percent for Poroshenko.

New course, but old methods

Andreas Umland will find that Poroshenko has failed to implement its Slogan “a new way of life”. “He came in as a result of an anti-oligarchic uprising to Power, wherein he himself is an Oligarch. He could not overcome this contradiction and continued to the reign of the oligarchical order, largely”, says the analyst. The broad pro-European coalition, which was formed in 2014, half a year after Poroshenko’s election in the Parliament dissolved in early 2016. Since then, Premier Volodymyr Groysman, a Confidant of the President ruled, without its own majority in Parliament. According to critics, the government is making behind-the-Scenes on situational compromises with individual members and groups, to rely on the Big Business influence.

Oleh Rybatschuk, as Ex-Vice-Premier responsible for European Integration, says that Poroshenko didn’t want to pursue a new pro-European course, but the old oligarchic Patterns recorded. He had not met the yearning of the people to other power relations. The founder of the public movement “Tschesno” (Honestly), according to Poroshenko is a self – billionaire and the owner of a TV channel, as well as a large confectionery group could not be like its predecessors, resist the temptation of interfering in things that are not a matter for the President. “The security service of Ukraine does not care about the espionage, but it intervenes constantly in politics and the economy. The courts are still not independent, and decisions often depend on the office of the President. It is surrounded by open corrupt people and turn a blind eye”, criticized Rybatschuk.

With friends of the defeat?

The “gray Eminence” in Poroshenko’s system makes counting according to observers, long-standing business partners, such as Oleh Hladkowskyj, who was recently Deputy head of the National security and defense Council, and Ihor Kononenko, Deputy chief of Poroshenko’s faction in Parliament. You are at the center of scandals involving corruption and embezzlement of state resources. Poroshenko wants to have known nothing about it.