Servant of the People expels whistleblower lawmaker critical of Zelensky

Photo by Kostyantyn Chernichkin

Ukraine’s ruling political party has voted to expel lawmaker Geo Leros from its ranks after he publicly criticized President Volodymyr Zelensky, whom the party supports.

During a parliamentary session on Sept. 1, Leros accused the president of not fulfilling his election promises and claimed that his chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, had abused his office and worked for the Russian security services.

“Mr. President, you didn’t fight with the old system, you just let it escape from your hands,” Leros said in a vituperative speech in parliament. “It was you who infected the entire country with your microbes and bacterias of lies, losing the chance for a great state, and exchanging it for an envelope from an oligarch.”

Leros offered no hard evidence to back the claims against Zelensky or Yermak.

Later that day, both Leros and fellow Servant of the People lawmaker Liza Yasko wrote on Facebook that the party, with 248 members of parliament, was gathering votes to expel Leros.

Leros himself alleged that the order came directly from Zelensky.

Since being elected to parliament with Zelensky’s Servant of the People party, Leros has become a thorn in the side of the country’s leadership, blowing the whistle on alleged corruption in the presidential administration and criticizing plans he felt went against the country’s interests.

In March, Leros leaked video recordings that appeared to show Yermak’s brother attempting to sell government jobs. The Yermak brothers have dismissed the allegations against them.

In response, the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office opened a probe into the videos and the alleged corruption they exposed.

Meanwhile, the State Bureau of Investigations opened another probe into Leros for allegedly “revealing state secrets” and “interfering in the work of a state official” by releasing the footage.

The video leaks were not Leros’ first conflict with the President’s Office. 

Earlier, he had been fired as an advisor to Zelensky after he criticized the administration’s plan to negotiate directly with Russian-backed militants who currently control parts of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region by forming a joint Advisory Council with them.

The plan proved exceedingly controversial, and the administration eventually claimed that they were misunderstood about the council.

(c)KYIV POST 2020


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