Ukraine President Zelenskyy Appoints Core Team Members. Who Are They?
22 May, 2019

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has now issued several decrees, appointing new members to his presidential team – deputy heads, aides and advisors. Hromadske takes a look at who they are.

The lawyer to oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky Andriy Bohdan was named the head of the presidential administration, while Zelenskyy's long-term partner from Kvartal 95 studio Serhiy Shefir the first assistant to the president.

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The first deputy head of the presidential administration will be Serhiy Trofimov who until now has been the executive producer of Zelenskyy’s Kvartal 95 production company. Other deputy heads of the administration include Yuriy Kostyuk (a member of the creative team of the election campaign and former scriptwriter for Kvartal 95's TV series and films), Ruslan Ryaboshapka (who before joining Zelenskyy’s election campaign worked at the National Agency on Corruption Prevention) and Kyrylo Tymoshenko (a founder of Good Media production company and member of Zelenskyy’s inaugural committee).

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It was previously reported that among the deputy heads would also be Olena Zerkal – a former deputy to Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin – but, according to news site Ukrainska Pravda's sources, Zerkal declined the offer for unknown reason. She, however, is reported (again, according to Ukrainska Pravda) to be willing to serve as commissioner for international courts of Ukraine with regards to Russia. Any mentions about Zerkal's appointment as deputy head of the presidential administration have been removed from the official website of the Ukrainian president.

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Energy expert and head of Ukraine's Association of Consumers of Energy and Utility Services Andriy Gerus has been appointed as Zelenskyy's representative in the Cabinet of Ministers. Within the Ukrainian parliament, the new president will be represented by his adviser Ruslan Stefanchuk who holds a doctorate in Law and was a lawyer and chief ideologist of Zelenskyy' election campaign.

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For the position of his assistant, the president appointed Andriy Yermak, an international lawyer, founder and CEO of the International Law Company, a company that works in the field of protection of intellectual property rights and copyright. Yermak is also the founder of the Garnet International Media Group.

Zelenskyy also appointed Mykhaylo Fedorov, who was a coordinator of the digital team during the campaign, as his freelance adviser.

The position of the first deputy head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) will be taken by Ivan Bakanov, the head of the Servant of the People political party, according to Zelenskyy's decree dated May 22. During the election campaign, Ivan Bakanov was also in charge of the relations with the parliament. The media calls Bakanov Zelenskyy's childhood friend, a lawyer and a partner of Kvartal 95.

Head of Ukraine's Mission to NATO Vadym Prystaiko also became deputy head of Zelenskyy's PA. In 2017, he was appointed first deputy Foreign Minister.

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According to the newly appointed Head of the Presidential Administration (PA) Bohdan, former finance minister Oleksandr Danylyuk is being considered for the position of the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine or NSDC. 

"However, it is unclear at the moment whether his candidacy will be approved by the president," Bohdan told the Ukrainian TV channel 112.

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The newly appointed president's representative in the Cabinet of Ministers Gerus also spoke about the division of duties in Zelenskyy’s team.

According to Gerus, Danylyuk is responsible for negotiations with the International Monetary Fund. On top of that, Gerus confirmed that Zelenskyy is considering Danylyuk for the position of the Secretary of the NSDC.

Gerus also said it was Zelenskyy’s personal decision to appoint him representative in the cabinet, but before that, he consulted the head of the PA Bohdan. Gerus also mentioned that Stefanchuk, representative of the president in the Verkhovna Rada, and Ruslan Ryaboshapka, deputy head of the PA, are in charge of drafting bills in the PA.

Gerus also announced there will be further appointments to the PA.