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Zelensky is using the war to suspend democratic processes!?

Ukrainian parliamentary elections are due to be held in autumn 2023 is likely to be postponed for a long long time. How long? Nobody knows. Because according to President Zelensky, the elections can be conducted only in 90 days after the end of martial law. And the end of hostilities may not make the government lift the martial law immediately. Even if the ceasefire is established, there will be good reasons to expect the fighting to resume any moment, especially in the first few months. So the government will have grounds to maintain the martial law.

In his interview with the Washington post, in which he declared that the parliament elections will be postponed, Zelensky acknowledged that he doesn’t remember, what period is required for organizing the elections after the martial law has been lifted. It means that he does not considere them to be possible in the near future.


The President does not want to contemplate the prospect of losing parliamentary majority and does not want to make efforts to preserve. Because the parliament cannot be maintained in its existing state, only if the president keeps on concentrating power in his hands. And in case of the elections he will have to make concessions and retreats. Zelensky  does not need democratic processes to keep up governing the country, the continuation of hostilities is much more efficient way for him to maintain political domination than parliamentary elections.

Such political behavior is raising an important questions about the goals of the struggle against the Russian aggression. It has been presumed that Ukraine is fighting to protect not only its national sovereignty, but also its political democracy and civil rights of its citizens. But the democracy cannot exist without democratic processes, in which regular elections play the key part. If the elections are not held, the democracy just stops functioning.

President of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Tiny Kox made an attempt to remind the Ukrainian government about it. In his interview with an Ukrainian news outlet he warned that the democracy should not be taken for granted. It can be maintained only if voters are allowed to participate in the political process, “taking care that politicians are to be held accountable”.


Tiny Kox stressed that Ukraine has obligations under the European conventions it has signed. Due to them, the parliamentary elections should be held on time. And if the Ukrainian Constitution forbids the elections when martial law is in force,  a solution has to be found to organize free and fair elections in order to preserve democracy.

Tiny Kox said that “nobody will blame Ukraine” if the elections will not be perfect. But he considers them to be necessary to ensure that democracy keeps functioning. Otherwise, democracy, that guarantees political rights, including freedom of speech and freedom of media, will perish. In that case even the military victory of Ukraine will not protect the Ukrainian society from heavy damage, inflicted by distortion of the system of government.

For his appeal to the Ukrainian government to full its obligations Tiny Kox received a harsh reprimand from National Security and Defence Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov. PACE President was told that there will be no elections in Ukraine until the end of martial law, and there can be no further discussion on this matter.


Zelensky and his associates have realized that elections can make them lose the political influence and even their seats. Meanwhile, the hostilities are helping to preserve political domination. And they are going to stick to this conviction.

Molchanov Kyryl

director of the International Institute for study of the Consequences of the war in Ukraine