Back to school for Ukraine's new government

Back to school for Ukraine's new government
Ukraine has formed its new government and now it's time to get to work.
By Zenon Zawada of Concorde Capital in Kyiv September 2, 2019

Ukraine’s newly elected parliament convened on August 29 with its most noteworthy legislative accomplishment being the approval of a bill amending the Constitution to remove political immunity from members of parliament, writes Zenon Zawada of Concorde Capital in a note, reproduced here.


The measure, which would take effect on January 1, drew 363 votes in favor in the first reading. Parliament didn’t vote for any other constitutional amendments or the slew of legislation that had been promised in recent days, instead voting for 58 bills to be sent for committee review, as reported by its website.

In his address to parliament, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called for the newly elected MPs “to shift into fifth gear” on the road to change, warning them he will exercise his authority to dismiss the legislative body if it fails to produce results. “God forbid you will go down in history as the parliament that existed the shortest: one year. This is your trial period. It’s not so scary to dismiss parliament,” Zelenskiy said.

As his legislative priorities, Zelenskiy identified decentralisation and Euro-integration; liberalising the economy; creating a “powerful investment magnet for attracting foreign investment”; building a digital government in a SmartPhone; eliminating the hellish bureaucracy; eliminating corporate raids, monopoly, and contraband; and, creating energy independence. “And the main thing, strengthening national security and defense, ending the war in Donbas, and returning Crimea annexed by the Russian Federation,” Zelenskiy said.

As expected, parliament approved the Cabinet of Ministers and the leadership of its committees. Ruslan Riaboshapka, who built his career in the justice ministry, was elected as the new prosecutor general. President Zelenskiy’s close and longtime confidante, Ivan Bakanov, was elected as head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).

The key appointments were widely expected. Among those not covered, the foreign policy leaders (Dmytro Kuleba as Euro-integration deputy prime minister and Vadym Prystayko as foreign minister) confirm that President Zelenskiy is fully committed to Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration. Normally, we wouldn’t pay much attention to who will lead the cabinet’s work. But Dmytro Dubilet is the son of Oleksandr Dubilet, who was the board chairman of PrivatBank when it was owned by billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky. (Dmytro Dubilet himself was a board member.) This further confirms Kolomoisky’s influence on President Zelenskiy in his new status as Ukraine’s top oligarch.

Andriy Zahorodniuk led volunteer efforts during the warfare in Donbas. Given that the defense minister position is more concentrated on procurement issues rather than military strategy, we view his appointment as a genuine attempt to weed out corruption in this sphere. It’s worth noting that Mykhaylo Radutskiy, the parliamentary health committee head, is the founder of the Borys medical network in Kyiv, which he sold in recent weeks to the Dobrobut medical network (controlled by Concorde Capital). Radutskiy also endorsed the appointment of Zoriana Skaletska as health minister. Former Concorde Capital executive director Andriy Gerus will lead the parliamentary energy and public maintenance committee.

Though criticised for “hogging” most of the committees (19 out of 23), it’s impressive to see The People’s Servant faction offer the heads of a few key parliamentary committees to both the pro-Western and pro-Russian opposition. Namely, Klympush-Tsintsadze of the European Solidarity party (led by former president Petro Poroshenko) will lead the euro-integration committee, while Nestor Shufrych of the pro-Russian Opposition Platform committee will lead the freedom of speech committee.

Shufrych’s appointment has drawn much criticism, considering a member of his parliamentary faction, Viktor Medvedchuk, is not only a close confidante to Russian President Vladimir Putin, but also controls two influential Ukrainian television networks. Moreover, freedom of speech is highly restricted in Russia, the country that Shufrych and his faction want to integrate with. Yet on the positive side, this gesture demonstrates Zelenskiy’s willingness to have dialogue with Russian-oriented Ukrainians and that he is not threatened by them. It also shows that he is confident enough in the effectiveness of his government’s Western-oriented policies that they will outweigh any pro-Russian narratives and propaganda being promoted by pro-Russian politicians like Shufrych and his faction colleagues.

The new ministers, committee heads and faction heads are as follows: 

Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk

Vice Prime Minister for Euro-Integration Dmytro Kuleba

Vice Prime Minister for Digital Transformation Mykhaylo Fedorov

Minister for the Cabinet of Ministers Dmytro Dubilet

Finance Minister Oksana Markarova

Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture Minister Tymofiy Mylovanov

Infrastructure Minister Vladyslav Krykliy

Energy and Environmental Defense Minister Oleksiy Orzhel

Defense Minister Andriy Zahorodniuk

Internal Affairs Minister Arsen Avakov

Foreign Affairs Minister Vadym Prystayko

Health Minister Zoriana Skaletska

Education Minister Hanna Novosad

Justice Minister Denys Maliuska

Social Policy Minister Yulia Sokolovska

Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Volodymyr Borodianskiy

Veterans, Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons Minister Oksana Koliada

Community and Territory Development Minister Alyona Babak

Parliamentary Head Dmytro Razumkov

First Deputy Parliamentary Head Ruslan Stefanchuk

Deputy Parliamentary Head Olena Kondratiuk

Anti-Corruption Policy Committee Head Anastasia Krasnosilska

Agrarian Policy and Land Policy Committee Head Mykola Solskiy

Budget Committee Head Yuriy Aristov

Humanitarian and Information Policy Committee Head Oleksandr Tkachenko

Ecological Policy and Nature Use Committee Head Oleh Bondarenko

Economic Development Committee Head Dmytro Natalukha

Energy and Public Maintenance Committee Head Andriy Gerus

Health, Medical Assistance and Medical Insurance Committee Head Mykhaylo Radutskiy

Foreign Policy and Interparliamentary Cooperation Committee Head Bohdan Yaremenko

European Integration Committee Head Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze

Finances, Tax and Customs Policy Committee Head Danylo Hetmantsev

Education, Science and Innovations Committee Head Serhiy Babak

Human Rights Committee Head Dmytro Lubinets

Digital Transformation Committee Head Mykhaylo Kriachko

Legal Policy Committee Head Iryna Venediktova

Law Enforcement Committee Head Denys Monastyrskiy

Transport and Infrastructure Committee Head Yuriy Kysil

Local Governance and Regional Development Committee Head Andriy Klochko

National Security, Defense and Intelligence Head Oleksandr Zavitnevych

Freedom of Speech Committee Head Nestor Shufrych

Social Policy and Veterans Rights Committee Head Halyna Tretiakova

Youth and Sports Committee Head Andriy Kozhemiakin

Rules Committee Head Serhiy Kalchenko



The People’s Servant (254 MPs) faction head David Arakhamia

Opposition Platform For Life (44 MPs) faction co-heads Yuriy Boyko, Vadym Rabinovych

European Solidarity (27 MPs) faction co-heads Artur Herasymov and Iryna Herashchenko

Fatherland (25 MPs) faction head Yulia Tymoshenko

Voice (17 MPs) faction head Serhiy Rakhmanin

For the Future (23 MPs) group co-heads Viktor Bondar, Taras Batenko