To put the issue of joining NATO to a referendum, introduce a jury trial for criminal offenses, reduce state functions and unite, regardless of gender, language, religion or nationality. The main theses of Volodymyr Zelensky’s program, official and real biography, the declared property and the ability of the politician to tell the truth – about this and more in the section “Candidates” from Opinion.
We have created this section for you to have an opportunity to make conscious, objective and most importantly – your own decision in the presidential election this spring. Telling about each candidate, we turn to the official biography, open sources, emotionlessly scrutinize the program promises and the reality of their fulfillment.
We have planned materials about 12 candidates who have the highest chances according to the data of sociological companies. To avoid manipulation, the texts order has been defined alphabetically.
What is the program of this candidate?
Volodymyr Zelensky decided to write his program… together with users of social networks. However, what part of all the suggestions from supporters of “Ze team” was taken into account in the end – it is unclear. Nevertheless, at the beginning of the program, new-born politician Volodymyr Zelensky talks about Ukraine of his dreams. It may sound like a final part of one of the concerts by Kvartal 95, but it is not.
People’s power through a referendum
Zelensky promises that he is going to be a president for only one term, and assures: he’s not going to trade principles and the country in order to stay in power. The first bill, which the candidate promises to pass, is the bill “On the people’s power”. This way, Zelensky wants all the tasks and objectives of the Ukrainian government to be shaped by Ukrainians themselves through referendums.
A human is the highest value
In this section, the candidate denies any specifics. He just promises that the main principle of work will be respect for human dignity, and everyone will be happy and pleased with reforms. At the same time, Zelensky wants to reduce the functions of the state.
Justice and equality of everybody before the law
Here the candidate divides the political world into “us” and “them”. The latter are “political retirees”, the conditional evil. Zelensky regards himself to the category of “us” – the Ukrainian people. The politician is going to combat “retirees” by removing immunity from the president, people’s deputies, and judges, giving the opportunity to withdraw the MPs with the help of his own bill on the impeachment of the head of state.
In case of Zelensky’s victory elections to the parliament and city councils will be held on the basis of open party lists, people’s deputies will be fired for absenteeism and falsification of assembly voting. Another “innovation” – magistrates’ Court for simple crimes and a jury trial for criminal ones.
Human and country security
Zelensky assures that the temporarily occupied territories must return under Ukrainian control, and Russia will reimburse the losses it caused. The candidate wants to achieve this, with the help of the “guarantors of the Budapest Memorandum and partners from the EU”. By the way, the original text of the memorandum states that Ukraine received assurances of security, not guarantees.
The politician supports the vector of movement towards NATO membership in his program, however, and this issue he plans to put to an all-Ukrainian referendum.
A wealthy citizen – a wealthy state
Zelensky promises a one-time “zero declaration” for business, that is, the opportunity to legalize and declare your income at 5% rate. The presidential candidate is going to develop economy through de-shadowing, free competition, the development of domestic production and the establishment of long-term low-cost loans.
The income tax should be replaced by the tax on the withdrawn capital. The land market will start working in Ukraine, we will generate energy resources independently, and we even will export them to Europe.
Not to fight corruption, but win it
The candidate is going to eliminate the possibility to bail out for suspects in the corruption-related case. The one whose guilt is proved will be stripped off his property and will never be able to hold a public post. At the end of the section, Zelensky explains: his purpose is to put them in jail.
Healthy and educated nation
Regarding health-care, Zelensky promises to switch to health-care insurance, also he’s going to finance it from the budget funds for the poor. In addition, the candidate plans to introduce a mandatory free annual medical examination.
Regarding education, he promises to provide capable students with “educational vouchers”, to open the Ukrainian market for foreign educational institutions and to implement the principle of “life-long education”.
Zelensky is going to provide comfort by resuming mortgage programs for youth and providing young entrepreneurs with support and a year of preferential taxation. Retirees should receive decent support, benefits and subsidies will be monetized.
The candidate also plans to grapple with infrastructure. He promises European roads, airports in each regional center and the Open Skies agreement with the European Union.
Key topics of this section are access to fast Internet and the development of digital literacy for the whole population, publicity of budgeting, tendering, and auctions, and complete automation. The policy offers to unite regardless of gender, language, faith, and nationality.
What can we know about him from the CEC and his personal website?
On the site of the Central Election Commission, as usual, we can find a little: a candidate was born in Krivyi Rih, has a higher degree, at the time of depositing documents he worked as the artistic director of the Kvartal 95, in the election he represents the party “Sluha Narodu” (Servant of People – translator’s note).
For more information, as usual, we turned to the official website, but we did not succeed in this quest. To our question, whether it is possible to find it, Yelyzaveta from online support said that, indeed, there is no biography. However, there is a section where Zelensky tells us about himself.
In his speech to a potential electorate, the candidate first appeals to his well-known image. He says that the vast majority of people know him as an actor and producer. The comedian recalls series produced together with the team, including “Sluha Narodu” and “Svaty”. Recall, the rental certificates of the last series became invalid in November 2017 and the series was actually banned. Then no stories about himself.
However, comedian’s biography (which obviously was approved by the artist) can be found on the website of Kvartal 95. If we bypass the description of a creative career, we will find out that after a school, the candidate graduated from the faculty of law, but has never worked according to his major. There they emphasize: “Zelensky’s sphere of interest is a stage, a film set, creativity and production of entertainment content.”
What wasn’t mentioned in the biography and the story?
Of course, the political career of the candidate is not mentioned, since until recently it simply didn’t exist. For quite a long time, politics and Volodymyr Zelensky were together only during the concerts of his Kvartal 95. The next step is the release of the TV series “Sluha Narodu”, however, this, by and large, was not politics.
However, together with the team of Kvartal 95 Zelenskyy actively performed in Russia until 2005 when the first episode of the show “Vechirniy Kvartal” was released on the TV channel Inter.
Quite interesting that during 2010-2012 the candidate was the general producer of the same Inter. The showman had left the position because of his desire to devote more time to Kvartal 95 project.
The party Sluha Narodu appeared in the Unified State Register of the Ministry of Justice in 2017. Actually, it is here that one can start tracing Zelensky’s political path. By the way, the format of the whole election campaign of the candidate is often compared to the Italian populist party Five Star Movement which founder is comedian Beppe Grillo.
Free concerts for the Ukrainian military are also not mentioned in the biographies. The showman himself together with his team performed on the front lines of the Donbas.
What does the candidate own?
From the infographic, presented by the team of the resource Slovo i Dilo and created on the basis of the official declaration of the candidate, wages of Zelensky aamount1,6 million hryvnias per month, to this sum are also added royalties, fees for rental services and entrepreneurial activity. In total, the candidate’s income is almost 7.5 million hryvnias.
The total amount of Zelensky’s cash assets is 1.4 million hryvnias, slightly more than 50 thousand euros and 718 thousand dollars.
Can you trust this candidate?
According to the results of the study conducted by the independent analytical platform VoxUkraine, Zelensky said the truth only once in the last five big statements. One time lied and three times manipulated. More details – on the website of the resource.
Are there any scandals with the candidate?
Yes, and actually, there are a lot of them. For example, a wide range of criticism caused Zelensky’s statement that the inhabitants of the East and Crimea should have “legitimate grounds” for speaking in Russian, and language will never divide the country. However, in an interview in 2018, the candidate changed his rhetoric, stressing that the East will study the Ukrainian language, because the state language is Ukrainian.
Another not so pleasant moment in the candidate’s biography is the appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin in March 2014. In particular, it concerns a request to prevent even a hint of military conflict and “fraternal peoples.”
Another group is formed by scandals caused by Kvartal 95 performances. For example, the performance in Jurmala in 2016, when the candidate compared Ukraine to the poor one and the actress of the “German films for adults”.
Another big scandal is about his business in Russia. Earlier this year, journalists managed to find Russian companies that produce products in Russia, all of them belonged to a Cypriot company co-founded by Kvartal-95 LLC. Zelensky is one of the beneficiaries. At the end of January Zelensky informed that he withdraws from the list of shareholders of the company.
By Dmytro Zhuravel