IISWU expert group
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Zelensky sales dreams and services due to the lack of achievements

Zelesky’s speech in the parliament on the Constitution Day was probably intended to create an impression of confidence and determination. That seems to be the reason why he decided to speak about the brilliant future that should await Ukraine after the war. The President obviously wanted to demonstrate his conviction that Ukraine will inevitably be victorious and prosperous. But he seems to have serious doubts about that. Thus instead of a coherent picture of  Ukrainian future, he presented an assortment of dreams, which are not related to the reality.

All Zelesky’s promises everything go beyond the wildest imagination. Ukrainian GDP was promised to become almost five times surpass prewar level in ten years and reach a trillion dollars. The average salary should raise at least as much to exceed Polish and Czech by thirty recent. Ukraine would develop new industries based on science and highly skilled labor. The have been only a few examples of such a rapid progress in human history. The latest one is China’s growth in 1980s and 1990s. Nowadays, the global economic situation is completely different, and Ukraine today has no resemblance to China forty five years ago.


So how is Zelesky going to attract a huge amount of foreign investments required to accomplish the promised tasks?


The answer is simple: he has no such intentions, he is just pretending. He is just trying to make his supporters accept these dreams as a substitute for military achievements they were promised before.    The Russian defense did not collapse as Zelensky and his associates had expected. And the Ukrainian forces do not have combat power to breach it. So the Ukrainian public has to be distracted from following the developments on the battlefield  and concentrate on anticipating the great life after the victory. To make it work, Zelensky needs clear signs that Ukraine can account on the long-term support of the West. In his speech on the Constitution Day demanded to ensure Ukraine’s accession to the EU and NATO. And he offered services in exchange for political guarantees and financial aid.

First of all, he promised to keep on opposing Russia long after the end of hostilities. Russia is going to become an eternal enemy of Ukraine. The possibility of a restoration of prewar relations was never mentioned. Moreover, after winning the war Ukraine should start preparing to fight against “Russian revanchism”, which will remain a threat to Ukrainian “free people”.


Zelensky wants the Ukrainian society to be heavily militarized and he thinks that it will be an important advantage that will make Ukraine membership in NATO and the EU essential for both organizations. NATO will be able to use Ukrainian formations in its operations aimed at defending “rules-based international order’. Ukrainian brigades with a combat experience can be deployed in the Eastern European countries, securing the conflict with Russia and reduce the cost of its maintenance. Zelensky also made pledges to use Ukrainian forces “to restore territorial integrity” of Moldova and Georgia, bring freedom to Belarus and protest “the entire Central Asia” from “external manipulation, whether military or political”. The  latter statement can be regarded as Zelensky’s proposal to struggle against not only against Russian but only against Chinese influence.

Thanks to Ukraine the EU will remain united in its approach to the issues of international security. It means that if Ukraine is admitted to the EU, Zelensky is going to block all the attempts to decrease tension in relations with Russia.

It is hard to comprehend why Zelensky is certain that these services, rather expensive ones, judging by his demands, can be sold. Maybe, he has become a victim of Russian propaganda, and now believes that the West wants to destroy Russia and crush China. But it seems most likely that he just confused the current goals of the US administration with the strategic interests of the US and the EU. In that case he is just wasting his efforts. He is not going to sell anything, because his services are not needed, and he will be supported only until he helps the US administration to achieve its tasks.

Ukraine are not going to be paid for becoming an international actor, a “donor of security for the whole of Europe” and “a factor of unity for the European Union”. Zelensky will not gain international influence he is dreaming about. And he will not persuade the Ukrainians to ignore the reality and stick to his dreams.


Molchanov Kyryl,

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