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Zelensky lacks new people in his team and can be viewed as ‘Poroshenko-light’, says expert

Political scientist Kirill Molchanov believes the only difference is that "Poroshenko makes more radical statements while Zelensky sticks to more moderate pronouncements"

KIEV, April 19. /TASS/. The team of like-minded people of Ukraine’s presidential hopeful Vladimir Zelensky whom he officially introduced on Thursday does not differ much by its views and the set of values from the viewpoints held by the country’s current leadership, Ukrainian political scientist Kirill Molchanov told TASS on Friday.

"Largely speaking, Zelensky does not lead any qualitatively new people. The team he introduced is from the series: "Everything new is actually well-forgotten old," the expert noted.

The only difference is that "Poroshenko makes more radical statements while Zelensky sticks to more moderate pronouncements but generally the development vector of the system of values and views almost coincides."

"I would sooner call these people a renewed and rejuvenated face of the team that is currently in power while Zelensky can be characterized as ‘Poroshenko-light,’ judging from his little interviews," the political scientist said.

"What is common for them [representatives of the Zelensky team] is that they are either lawyers or attorneys with a very narrow segment of competency and experience. They are actually fully affiliated with the so-called ‘grant spenders’ because many of them have had the experience of work with various Western funds, with the support of the Soros Fund," the expert pointed out.

The composition of the Zelensky team does not make it possible to speak about any radical changes in the Ukrainian policy in the future, Molchanov said.

"They should hardly be expected to carry out systemic breakthroughs or change anything. So far, this is highly unlikely. Most likely, we will see something similar to what Poroshenko is doing now but only in the light version. There will be many talks about the continuation of reforms, liberalization, integration into the EU and NATO, cooperation with the IMF because all these people hold absolutely liberally moderate views and do not propose anything qualitatively new," the expert said, noting that everything, which had been heard from them the other day, "is the same what Poroshenko was offering to Ukraine in 2014 when he ran for presidency."

The political scientist compared the current situation in the Ukrainian politics to that existing in the United States. "The Poroshenko and Zelensky teams are very similar and differ insignificantly. In the United States, for example, there are Republicans and Democrats. They pursue almost similar policy, except for some aspects, but generally differ little from each other. Here [in Ukraine] we see something similar," the expert said.

Zelensky team

Presidential candidate Vladimir Zelensky officially introduced his team of specialists in a live broadcast of the 1+1 TV Channel. The team includes former Finance Minister Alexander Danilyuk who will be in charge of "international relations, the economy and financial issues," former member of the National Anti-Corruption Agency Ruslan Ryaboshapka who will focus on "law-enforcement and anti-corruption policy." Zelensky also picked renowned Ukrainian doctor Yevgeny Komarovsky as a health care adviser. Education expert from the Ukrainian Institute for the Future Sergei Babak will deal with education reform while former member of the National Commission for Regulation in the Energy Sector Andrei Garus will oversee energy issues and utilities. Among other specialists, Zelensky introduced taxation expert Daniil Getmantsev, election legislation expert Sergei Kalchenko and environmental policy adviser Oleg Bondarenko.

During the first round of the presidential elections held on March 31, Zelensky gained 30.24% of the votes or almost twice as much as incumbent President Poroshenko (15.95%). The presidential runoff has been scheduled for April 21.