Zelensky reveals remaining national poll questions

16 October 2020

Ukrainian President Zelensky revealed on Oct. 15 the remaining questions for the national poll that he plans to conduct alongside the local elections scheduled for Oct. 25. He also encouraged the public to submit their own questions for future polls, which he said could involve contentious issues such as dual citizenship and the legalization of arms.


Meanwhile, Yevhenia Kravchuk, the deputy head of the People’s Servant parliamentary faction, told the hromadske.radio news site on Oct. 15 that the national poll will be conducted by a civic organization and will be financed by private patrons.


The five questions are:


1.Do you support the idea of life imprisonment for corruption involving especially large sums?


2.Do you support the creation of free economic zones on the territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions?


3.Do you support the reduction of the number of members of parliament to 300?


4.Do you support the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes in reducing pain among those gravely ill?


5.Do you support Ukraine’s right to use the security guarantees, as determined by the Budapest memorandum, to renew its state sovereignty and territorial integrity?


Zenon Zawada: As more details emerge about Zelensky’s national poll, the more sinister its origins appear and the more disastrous its results have the potential to be. Before the remaining questions were revealed, a source in the President’s Office had assured the Ukrinform news agency that “no speculation about Donbas or other classically provocative themes” would be included. And yet the second question about economic zones falls within that category, in our view.


State officials are elected and appointed precisely for the reason that they are assigned with handling difficult political and diplomatic issues that require specialized knowledge and experience. Leaving questions of geopolitical importance, particularly regarding the war in Donbas, to a demoralized and largely destitute population is reckless and disturbing. The fifth question of Budapest security guarantees is pure populism and speculation, without any ability to influence or affect the decisions of Western powers in how to deal with Russia.


This national poll confirms what was widely known already, which is that the Zelensky administration is incompetent in handling its serious responsibilities and incapable of comprehending the geopolitical weight of its decisions. That includes allowing Kremlin agents to influence its agenda under the guise of balance and “every voice being heard.”


Ukraine’s pro-Western community can only rely on Western institutions –such as the IMF, IFIs, PACE and state diplomats, among others – using their leverage over the Zelensky administration to prevent it from making catastrophic geopolitical mistakes. While the national poll looks inevitable (though its organization will be highly flawed with only ten days until the vote), it can be arranged in such a way – with enough pressure on the Zelensky administration – to be a one-off forgettable stunt by a group of entertainers who themselves will eventually be one-off politicians. And who will some day realize they were in far over their heads.

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