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Foreign Policy Research Institute

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Russian impressions on the inauguration of the president of Ukraine

On May 20, the Verkhovna Rada held a solemn meeting at which the inauguration of the newly elected President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky took place. The aggressor country quickly reacted to this historic event for Ukraine with its scandalous statements and actions. The scandalous Russian politician, the Deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Zhirinovsky devoted a caustic post in which he shared the senile reasonings. In the post he traditionally exploded with the threat of destruction of a sovereign Ukraine and full of Russian expansion. Also, in the UN Security Council, Russia proposed to consider the law of Ukraine №5670-d "On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a state language". But the UN Security Council firmly put Russia in place, refusing to consider this issue. This decision was supported by the representatives of France, UK, USA, Germany, Belgium and Poland.[1]

The inauguration of Volodymyr Zelensky became the headline on the leading Russian TV channels, such as "Channel One" and "Russia-24" and NTV. The last one even broadcast the ceremony of the presidential oath in the Verkhovna Rada with a translation into Russian. Zelensky's loud statements were willingly quoted by journalists of pro-government TV channels. First of all, his promise to end the war in the Donbass. And also a call to officials not to hang his portrait in offices. On the Russian "Channel One" first of all paid attention to dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada by the President. But the Kremlin news agency "RIA" decided to joke about the decision of Zelensky.[2]

The editor-in-chief of the magazine "Russia in Global Politics" Fyodor Lukyanov believes that the speech of Zelensky in the Verkhovna Rada showed his opponents that the jokes were over. The "Vedomosti" newspaper also believes that the sixth President of Ukraine is moving away from the usual image (especially for Russia) of a politician. And he calls strange words that the construction of a successful country depends not only on one President and government, but on each of its inhabitants. Also received attention Zelensky's words that the President is not an icon and his photo should not hang in offices of officials. The publication believes that this statement turns over the vertical of power and establishes the responsibility of politicians for the future, not for the leadership.[3]

The Kremlin is not yet ready to follow the example of Volodymyr Zelensky. Vladimir Putin is not even going to congratulate him on his assumption of the presidency. They say that they are waiting for the normalization of Ukrainian-Russian relations. "President Putin will congratulate the President Zelensky with the first successes in the settlement of the "internal" conflict in the South-East of Ukraine, and also the first successes in the normalization of Russian-Ukrainian relations", the Press Secretary of Vladimir Putin said. Meanwhile, Volodymyr Zelensky says he is ready for a dialogue with Moscow. But he proposes to start a dialogue on the release of prisoners.[4]

The Kremlin raised the issue of the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. The Press Secretary of Vladimir Putin noted that the occupied "Crimea is a region of the Russian Federation", therefore, the issue of "affiliation" is not necessary, reports "TASS". As for the settlement of the situation in the South-East of Ukraine, the representative of the Kremlin said that the said the President Zelensky "can and should solve" problem on the basis of a clear plan set out in the Minsk Agreements.[5]

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev believes that Ukraine's rhetoric on the restoration of the Minsk Agreements is outdated, and the new Ukrainian government makes "very controversial statements". "It seems like they would like to restore certain processes on the basis of the Minsk Agreements. At the same time, this is accompanied by a rather outdated and, frankly, rhetoric that has become obsolete... If they want to take any steps, they will. Statements which sound now from Kyiv are very controversial. But we don't see any actions," the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation said, reports "TASS". He also complains that the new Ukrainian government has not taken steps to "restore relations". "Let's be patient!" Medvedev called. "Ultimately, it is all in the hands of the new President [of Ukraine], the new government," the politician says. In addition, Medvedev said that the exclusion of Viktor Medvedchuk from the negotiations was a short-sighted decision.[6]

The head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov said that the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky disappointed him after the inauguration speech in the Verkhovna Rada. Kadyrov posted it in his Telegram channel. "Volodymyr Alexandrovich, I had a very different opinion of you. I thought that a successful, experienced and well-known showman would become a wise and sober-minded politician, but you immediately coveted someone else's. Good neighbors don’t do this! Forced to be disappointed with you. And I did not want this in the very first day!" Kadyrov said. Kadyrov is convinced that if "Russia needed foreign lands, Kyiv would have become a regional center in the West of Russia long ago." "Big, beautiful, blooming city! But Russia will never do it! We respect the territorial integrity of the country of the fraternal Ukrainian people! We do not need somebody else’s, but we will not give our to anyone!" Kadyrov said.[7]

Thus, the inauguration of the President of Ukraine in Russia was perceived by many in different ways. Of course, the Kremlin did not like the speech of the new President, which was contrary to the interests of the Russian Federation. In turn, some Russian publications were even surprised and drew attention to the big difference between our countries. However, now when Russia sees a clearer picture, it will have to separate Zelensky as much as possible from the pro-Western vector of Ukraine and make maximum efforts.