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Zelensky vs. Akhmetov – a test of strength. OSW Commentary Number 420 22.12.2021.

Matuszak, Sławomir and Iwański, Tadeusz (2021) Zelensky vs. Akhmetov – a test of strength. OSW Commentary Number 420 22.12.2021. [Policy Paper]

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    In November, an open conflict broke out between President Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukraine’s richest businessman, Rinat Akhmetov. The main cause was Zelensky’s signing of the so-called law on oligarchs. In response, Akhmetov’s television channels, including the most popular one in Ukraine, began to ruthlessly attack the president and to promote his political rivals, in particular the former chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, Dmytro Razumkov, who had been dismissed a few weeks earlier and who until recently had been one of the key representatives of the ruling camp, a person with high public support. In response, Zelensky publicly suggested that Akhmetov was involved in an allegedly prepared state coup and that his entourage was dragging him into a war against Ukraine. Meanwhile the President’s Office stepped up actions against his business. It is currently impossible to predict how the dispute will end, but the main beneficiaries are other oligarchs, as the president is becoming increasingly dependent on their support (both in the media and in parliament) as he considers re-election. Zelensky’s suggestions to Akhmetov can be seen as a kind of ‘invitation’ to him to negotiate his influence on politics. At the same time, a further escalation of their conflict (which is, however, less likely than a quiet compromise) could result in the destabilisation of the state.

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    Item Type: Policy Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-South-Eastern Europe (Balkans)
    Countries > Ukraine
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) > OSW Commentary
    Depositing User: Daniel Pennell
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2022 14:07
    Number of Pages: 7
    Last Modified: 26 Jan 2022 14:07

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