Zelensky speaks ‘candidly’ about his party, Donbas while driving Tesla
By Denys Krasnikov. Published Nov. 8 at 8:40 pm
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky talks on camera while driving his Tesla in Kyiv in a video posted on Nov. 7, 2019. In the video, the president talks about his views on politics and decisions he makes as a president of Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has continued his tradition of talking to the public through videos filmed while he’s driving his Tesla electric car in Kyiv.
On Nov. 7, the president of Ukraine posted his second 22-minute video called Candidly with the President, in which he talks about his views on politics and decisions he makes as Ukrainian leader. This time, Zelensky summed up his time in office, covered the disengagement of troops in Donbas and discussed new developments in parliament.
“We were told that (I as) a president would stay on the job only until October, that this parliament would exist for two months maximum. We were told that the dollar would cost Hr 100, that all the international partners would turn their backs on us, that there wouldn’t be any investors we could bring to Ukraine — not a thing has happened,” Zelensky said. “Everything’s O.K.”
News in parliament
In the video, Zelensky says the new parliament, where his Servant of the People party holds a majority with control of 254 out of 424 seats, has done a good job. It has worked for roughly two months and yet it has already passed about 70 laws, he said.
Zelensky calls this “the turbo regime.”
Some of the most important bills passed are the law that criminalizes illicit enrichment, the law that reforms the judicial and prosecution system and a series of laws aimed at easing the business climate in Ukraine, Zelensky said. However, there have also been missteps in the actions of the new parliament — namely scandals, disagreements and mistakes, he added.
“There have been some amoral actions,” he said, specifically referring to the scandal surrounding Bohdan Yaremenko, one of the Servant of the People lawmakers. Yaremenko was caught negotiating sex with a woman on a dating website during a parliamentary session. Zelensky calls this situation “shameful,” but he also says that it is difficult to control 254 people who represent his party.
Despite pressure to step down, Yaremenko remains in parliament.
Those lawmakers who make less shameful mistakes are just learning, Zelensky claimed.
“People are different. There are people who know a lot about laws, they are educated, leading economists with experience. And there are simple people. They are either farmers or from enterprises. The simple people — sorry, but they are slow.”
At the same time, Zelensky believes simple people showcase the relationship of a particular economic class to some proposed laws, which is good, as they can point out some mistakes.
“They represent different layers of our society, with a different mentality and different income. This is important,” he said.
Zelensky also addressed disunity within the party, with some Servant of the People MPs declining to vote for some laws supported by the majority. There’s an agreement inside the party that those laws supported by 70% of the MPs within the party are supposed to be fully supported during the parliamentary session. Not all of the MPs abide by this unwritten rule, Zelensky claimed.
“I understand that not all of the laws are popular. But that’s why (previous) MPs hadn’t passed them for 30 years,” he said. “Every MP has to understand that they must vote for the laws the society needs.”
In any case, Zelensky scrutinizes the statistics about the voting of MPs. Based on the statistics, the party will “make serious conclusions” by the end of 2019. If lawmakers perform poorly, “we’ll say goodbye to them,” he said.
Stopping war in Donbas
Over the last month, Ukraine and Russian-backed militants have withdrawn troops from front-line positions in Zolote and Stanytsia Luhanska in Donbas. The next round of disengagement will occur in the settlement of Petrivske, according to Zelensky.
Zelensky claimed that, although his predecessor, President Petro Poroshenko, did not accomplish what he is accomplishing, he has still had to face many “manipulations” hurled at him.
“Some people genuinely think that we can’t afford to withdraw troops,” Zelensky said. “But these are the Minsk agreements.”
The best proof he’s doing everything right, he claimed, is that, after the disengagement in Zolote, the shooting simply stopped: “As simple as that: where there’s disengagement, there’s no fire.”
“We can’t stop the war by not talking to people. At least in the Normandy Format talks,” he said, referring to the meetings of leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France aimed at resolving the war in Donbas.
“It took us a long time to renew the Normandy Format. Since 2016, there had not been meetings. Three and a half years passed. Let’s count how many people died over this time.”
Zelensky said he is certain this is the right path to get Ukraine closer to peace, to return Ukraine’s territories and free Ukrainian prisoners held by Russia.
“Plans on how to move further, on what terms, in which format, how to organize local elections — all these questions will be discussed in the Normandy format, too,” he said, promising to share every step with Ukrainians.
“There will be no secrets: this is a sensitive topic.”
(C)KYIV POST 2019