Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko strikes a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin every day, according to Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian politician and former investigative journalist currently serving in parliament as member of Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc.
Leshchenko serves on the parliamentary committee on Corruption Prevention and Counteraction and is one of the president’s loudest critics. He was formally the Deputy Editor-in-Chief for the Ukrainska Pravda publication and is known for his work on corruption.
In an exclusive interview with Hromadske, Leshchenko blasted the current Ukrainian president for having a close Moscow representative in his inner circle.
“[The representative] is Viktor Medvedchuk, one of the worst examples of the political, let's say, zoo in Ukraine. He's a political animal, and he's a member of Putin’s family, and he's a member of Poroshenko’s team. They’re conspiring together,” he said.
“With the current President, we lost time, we lost money, and we lost spirit of people.”
Leshchenko also warned Western governments about betting on the wrong candidate, citing historical missteps in policy that have done little to help Ukraine’s fledgling democracy, such as President George H.W. Bush’s infamous “Chicken Kyiv” comment.
“If the West put all bets on Poroshenko's side, it means, after the elections, there can be stupid situations, as has happened many times in the past. [Western governments] made a very, let's say, arrogant position towards Ukrainian independence in the 90’s….President George H.W. Bush spoke to the parliament of Ukraine and argued Ukrainians should stay in the Soviet Union.”
He also commented on actor and businessman Volodymyr Zelenskiy — saying that Zelenskiy is a formidable contender for president and should not be underestimated — as he represents a “large segment of Ukrainian society.”
While Leshchenko is not optimistic about a fresh candidate who can take on Ukraine’s establishment, he is positive about new faces in legislative positions.
“For presidential elections there is no candidate representing a new generation. But for parliamentary elections, I believe a number of parties will represent this generation of young politicians.”
“The person elected in 2014 has failed the mandate of the people.”