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Anna-Lena Laurén: Five challenges for Ukraine's new president Volodymyr Zelenskyj

Volodymyr Zelenskyj has said that one of his main priorities is to bring home all prisoners of war held by the separatists and in Russia. He also intends to continue peace negotiations in accordance with the Minskavtalet. At the same time, it is said that he intends to dismiss Viktor Medvetjuk from his unofficial role in the negotiations. Medvetjuk, which is Putin's personal friend, has in the past managed to negotiate extensive fångutväxlingar.

In contrast to Porosjenko is Zelenskyj not hated by separatistledarna and the people who live there. Many residents have seen his shows. But he will not have a long time to achieve concrete progress. In addition, he is dependent on what Russia wants.

The biggest single reason that Zelenskyj was selected is that corruption in Ukraine is still at least as big a problem as before Majdanrevolutionen 2014. The predecessor of Petro Porosjenko implemented a variety of reforms, but many of them, including the police reform, turned out to mostly be about a treat for the eyes.

Porosjenko was part of the old system. It is not Zelenskyj, but he has close ties to the oligarch Ihor Kolomojskij. Many see him as weak and an easy prey for the experienced and unscrupulous oligarchs.

Ukraine is currently a country where the gaps between the rich and the poor has djupnat. Some of the reforms that the EU and IMF have demanded aggravated poverty. This applies above all to gas prices, which may no longer be subsidised. They have risen above the european level, while wages and pensions are still low.

Many Ukrainian pensioners and low-income households have become destitute, at the same time more and more ukrainians are moving abroad for better wages. Zelenskyj is pressured to do something to reduce the gaps, at the same time as the economic reforms which the EU requires in order to pay out loans and assistance cannot be implemented without low-income people for a period of time, it's even worse.

This could be countered if Ukraine received more foreign investment. Then Zelenskyj first succeed in the fight against corruption.

Zelenskyj claims to be for both EU and nato membership. Before the election, he traveled to Paris to personally meet the president of France Emmanuel Macron. He is a representation of a younger Ukrainian generation, who speak both Ukrainian, Russian and English, and for which the choice is no longer between Russia and Western europe. This generation perceive of course, Ukraine as a part of the west.

at the same time is Zelenskyj so long as no great diplomatic ability. When the g-7 countries ' ambassadors met Zelenskyj in Kiev, they were not impressed by him - he seemed to not understand why he should meet them.

It is important for Ukraine that the country's president is able to argue for the Ukrainian matters in the west, bearing in mind also that patience within the EU, with the half-baked reforms will start to be on the upphällning.

There is a perception that the Zelenskyj would automatically get an understanding in the Kremlin, because his mother tongue is Russian and he has played in several Russian films. This view is misleading – the Kremlin is only interested in whether it is possible to agree with the new president.

From the Kremlin's point of view means ”agree” that Ukraine will put his european ambitions on ice, something that is a political impossibility for Zelenskyj. In addition, he is pressured to face the home crowd prove uncompromising in the face of Putin, because he is perceived as weak.

Zelenskyj himself has said that he wants to improve relations with Russia. It's likely that nothing will happen. Zelenskyj is not in a position where he can make concessions, and the Kremlin still believe that time is playing to Russia's advantage.

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