Systemic Political Pressure in Ukraine

02. Juli 2020
Photo by Max Kukurudziak on Unsplash

Members of the European Parliament -Viola von Cramon and Petras Auštrevičius sent a letter to the European Commission urging them to react on systemic political pressure exerted by President Zelensky on independent state institutions.

To: the European Commission’s DG NEAR

In the midst of pandemic and the calamitous economic meltdown when Ukraine needs international support the most, unfortunately, President Zelensky and his Government are willingly jeopardizing the wellbeing of Ukrainian people by aiding the narrow, self-serving interests of Ukrainian oligarchs.

The resignation of Yakiv Smolii, the respected governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, once again highlights what we already knew well: President Zelensky continues grave interference and systemic political pressure on few truly functioning state institutions.

Unfortunately, this is not the first case of a malign interference in the activities of important independent state institutions and represents rather a trend of destructive approach by Zelensky Government. Attacks on Anti-Monopoly Committee, National Anti-Corruption Bureau, the General prosecutor’s office and many more, are the unequivocal and unfortunate evidence of this trend.

Despite the President’s impromptu attempts to reassure the worried investors, he, as the main architect of the systemic political pressure, lacks credibility to be trusted. The exit of Smolii who managed to tame inflation, stabilise hryvnia, and negotiate a multi-billion Euro deal with the IMF sends a clear signal of uncertainty to the domestic and international investors at the same time and threatens to sink Ukraine in deeper economic and political crisis.

Especially now when Ukraine’s credit rating risks to deteriorate even further, the European Commission should demonstrate extra vigilance when dealing with Zelensky’s government. The financial ramifications of the systemic political pressure on independent institutions should be very clearly spelt out to the Ukrainian Government and the leverages of the Commission should be more efficiently applied in order to remind the associated partner of the EU of the obligations it has taken towards the international partners and more importantly towards its people.


Viola von Cramon

Petras Auštrevičius