Foreign Policy Research Institute

+38 (044) 287 52 58

Foreign Policy Research Institute

tel. +38 (044) 287 52 58

The actions of Petro Poroshenko aimed at destabilizing the government in the country objectively coincide with the same intentions of the Kremlin

Photo: Office of the President of Ukraine

On December 20, 2022, Petro Poroshenko was declared suspected of high treason and facilitating the activities of terrorist organizations. Based on the materials of the Security Service of Ukraine and the State Bureau of Investigation, the fifth President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, terminated contracts with the Republic of South Africa for the coal supply in 2014-2015 in favor of the so-called LPR/DPR. The investigation believes that during this period the «DPR» and «LPR» received at least 200 million hryvnias thanks to the conspiracy of Ukrainian officials and the top leadership of the Russian Federation. This allowed Russia to provide additional funding for quasi-republics. Petro Poroshenko's defense, however, claims that the fifth president knew about the supply of coal from ORDLO, but did not participate. Considering that from the published material it becomes clear the Security Service of Ukraine transferred the money to the representatives of the «LDPR», the statements of Poroshenko’s lawyers, at least, cast doubt on their veracity.

Petro Poroshenko avoided receiving suspicion in every possible way and got into an awkward situation, as for a former president, when he defiantly ran away from the investigators of the State Bureau of Investigation, swearing in Russian to his driver. After the escape on December 17, the international tour of the self-proclaimed leader of the Ukrainian opposition began. Along with loud statements about the importance of the international tour of Petro Poroshenko for the security of Ukraine, affiliated experts, organizations, representatives of some opposition parties, as well as media owned by Poroshenko, launched an information campaign to politically motivate this case. According to them, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, amid a drop in his own rating, decided to eliminate his main political competitor. The information field was filled with comparisons between incumbent President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Viktor Yanukovych, while Petro Poroshenko, in turn, said that all political parties in Ukraine need to unite amid external threats. At the event, entitled "Unity of the people. Protection of democracy. Defense of the State. "The fifth president said: «I call for unity. To the symbolic act that we need to prepare and sign now. I am very sorry that Zelenskyy is not here and there is no officials here. But we cannot remain hostages, we call on the authorities to take part in the unification process».

Unfortunately, it took Petro Poroshenko two years and one suspicion of treason to express his desire for unity. Even during the 2019 election campaign, Poroshenko’s channels promoted the narrative that Volodymyr Zelenskyy was a drug addict, clown and dodger. The same dirty narratives on these media can be seen to this day. During the same campaign, Poroshenko's team filmed a promotional video showing Zelenskyy being hit by a truck that could have been taken as a death threat. After that, billboards appeared on the streets of the country, which depicted a choice: Poroshenko, or… instead of Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Vladimir Putin was portrayed.

Photo: Petro Poroshenko agitation

When Volodymyr Zelenskyy took office as president, one of the first news he was informed about was the fact that servers and computers from the National Security and Defense Council were stolen. It was on these servers that information was stored, including secret information used at meetings chaired by the president. Then, at the beginning of the term of the current president, many expected a large number of prisoners, because one of the election slogans of the ruling Servant of the People party was «When the spring comes - we will send them to jail». The population of Ukraine gave their assessment to Petro Poroshenko, 73 percent of voters voted against the fifth president of Ukraine. However, Volodymyr Zelenskyy chose a different strategy. He was showing in every possible way that he would not interfere in the judicial branch of power, for which he received a lot of criticism from those who expected that the officials of the Poroshenko era, together with Petro Poroshenko himself, would be punished immediately after the elections.

Petro Poroshenko took this decision of Vladimir Zelenskyy for weakness. At the beginning of the tenure of the sixth president, the European Solidarity team spoke very cautiously about the newly elected president and his team. However, realizing that Poroshenko was not in danger of being punished, media resources, affiliated experts and Eurosolidarity deputies launched a campaign to discredit the incumbent president with renewed vigor. These included accusations of pro-Russianism, ties to Ihor Kolomoisky, Rinat Akhmetov, criticism of First Lady Olena Zelenska, and personal threats, including from Sofia Fedina and Marusya Zvirobiy. The latter became a member of Poroshenko's party after a case was opened against her under the article «Threat or violence against a statesman» under the Criminal Code.

Back then, the European Solidarity party brought its supporters to court, thereby putting pressure on Themis. The organization of rallies near the court, where cases of offenses of persons affiliated with Petro Poroshenko are being considered, has already become a common practice. Thus, by accusing Volodymyr Zelenskyy of pressuring the court, which obviously does not happen, because Volodymyr Zelenskyy had more than two years to do this, European Solidarity puts pressure on the court’s decision-making process by mobilizing a part of society. During the consideration of the Poroshenko case, the judge went into the deliberation room for five whole hours. If the case is a political persecution, why does the judge need so much time? It is obvious that Poroshenko is putting pressure on the trial. Such selective justice probably satisfies the Poroshenko group, but it has nothing to do with the process of democratizing the country and establishing the primacy of the rule of law.

Photo: Protesters accuse V. Zelenskyy of a High treason

During the presidency of Volodymyr Zelenskyy, hundreds of rallies against the current authorities took place. A large number of them were organized by European Solidarity and affiliated organizations, or at least such events were provided with media support акщь Petro Poroshenko's media channels. TV channels are still a powerful tool for the fifth president of Ukraine. This justifies the heavy media criticism by the Poroshenko empire of Volodymyr Zelensky's anti-oligarchic initiatives, which aim to reduce the influence of the oligarchs in Ukrainian politics. These initiatives will contribute to the democratic development of Ukraine, whose policy has depended on big business, which is a characteristic feature of the oligarchic-clan system, in existing of which various groups in Ukraine, as well as the Russian Federation, continue to be interested. After all, the existing extractive institutions not only contribute to the enrichment of certain groups and oligarchs, but also inhibit the development of the state.

Opposition to Volodymyr Zelenskyy inside the country, discrediting any presidential initiatives and attempts to destabilize the situation inside by organizing protests and anti-government rallies are complemented by Petro Poroshenko's anti-government activities abroad. The decision to tour abroad amid a build-up of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine is allegedly based on the desire of Ukraine’s fifth president to consolidate international partners. Thus, Petro Poroshenko, apart from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the President, as a true leader and «patriot» of his country, decided to counter Russian aggression on his own. However, the question arises, what results and benefits Ukraine got after Poroshenko’s meetings with international partners? Have sanctions against Russia strengthened? Did Petro Poroshenko agree to increase military aid to Ukraine?

Content analysis of foreign media provides an opportunity to understand what issues Poroshenko solved abroad. Politico: «Zelenskiyy’s office accuses Poroshenko of fleeing treason charges. With Russian troops massing on border, Ukraine’s current and former presidents battle each other». Here is what the British news agency The Guardian writes: «Former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has appeared in court on charges of treason, which, according to him, is politically motivated, in a case that alarmed the country's Western allies. Poroshenko, a pro-European politician who has been critical of Moscow, has denied the allegations and accused the prosecution of acting «shamefully» and of «dividing» the country». Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt called the allegations «clearly political». Bildt said that any attempt to place Poroshenko under house arrest would be hugely damaging to the cohesion of Ukraine». The American financial publication Bloomberg noted that the legal standoff pressed by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s administration injects a level of political instability in the region as Russia amasses troops on Ukraine’s eastern frontier, a move that’s prompted Western allies to raise the specter of a full-scale invasion.[1] This is only a small part of the accusations of Volodymyr Zelensky by the European and American media.

Apparently, Petro Poroshenko, along with other members of the European Solidarity, has spent a lot of effort to turn Ukraine's international partners against the current government and the president personally. It is enough to listen to their conversations during diplomatic events and conferences. For example, the team of the fifth president convinces American officials that Volodymyr Zelensky has close ties with Ihor Kolomoisky. Poroshenko called Ihor Kolomoisky the customer of his court case and the president of Ukraine, according to him is the executor. Given the United States' attitude toward Ihor Kolomoisky, Poroshenko's statements are intended to put additional pressure on Ukraine's president.

Thus, Petro Poroshenko’s international tour, as well as his activities during the term of Volodymyr Zelenskyy, are aimed not at strengthening Ukrainian statehood, but at shaking the positions of the central government. Given the aggression of the Russian Federation and the threat of a full-scale invasion, internal destabilization could lead to catastrophic consequences for the state. In case of escalation of internal contradictions, Vladimir Putin can take advantage of the situation and go on the offensive, as it was in 2014 in Donbass. The political ambitions of the fifth president, disguised as a desire to unite political forces, seem to have won the support of part of Western society.

However, political scientist Volodymyr Fesenko raised the right question: «Should Volodymyr Zelenskyy have prohibited the court to open a case against Petro Poroshenko?» Wouldn't this be an interference in the activities of the judiciary? Ukrainian society has many questions regarding the activities of the fifth president of Ukraine. In addition to trading with the so-called «LDPR», this is a question of Ilovaisk, Debaltseve, an explosion of 200 thousand tons! of weapons in the arsenals of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, for which no one was punished. Of course, one of the main claims against Poroshenko is the signing of the Minsk agreements, the implementation of which will create conditions for the destruction of Ukraine and which Russia now uses to blackmail Ukraine.

Petro Poroshenko must answer these questions in a court that is fair, without any pressure, in the Ukrainian court reformed by Poroshenko himself. However, in the threatening situation that has developed around Ukraine today, the actions of Petro Poroshenko aimed at destabilizing the authorities in the country objectively coincide with the same intentions of the Kremlin. Then the question arises: does Petro Poroshenko and his party realize that such a game under patriotic slogans plays in favor of the enemy and does Ukrainian society understand this?