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Ukrainian parliament to stand in the way of mending ties with Russia, says expert

Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council Andrey Kortunov believes that there will be ‘the Trump syndrome’, Zelensky will be suspected of certain ties with the Kremlin

MOSCOW, April 22. /TASS/. The Ukrainian parliament will be preventing the winner of the presidential race, Vladimir Zelensky, from mending ties with Russia, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council Andrey Kortunov told TASS on Monday.

"The powers of the Ukrainian president are more limited, he has to reckon to a greater extent with the parliament, and as the parliament remains the same at the moment, this will of course impede the activity, especially along the Russian trajectory," the expert said.

"All the more as Zelensky will most likely develop, or it already exists, what I would call ‘the Trump syndrome’. He will be suspected of certain ties with the Kremlin, of being ‘an agent’ [of President Vladimir Putin], of receiving money," he explained.

According to Kortunov, this will prompt the newly elected president to pursuing a more reserved policy in terms of relations with Moscow. "That is why, I think that any changes in our relations, especially if we are speaking about changes for the better, will be very gradual, selective. I think there are no grounds at the moment to expect their reset or a revolutionary change," the expert said.

Crackdown on oligarchs

Kortunov believes that Zelensky’s victory may step up fight against oligarchy in Ukraine, though the process will be long and thorny.

"Most of his predecessors, at least we can say this about [Pyotr] Poroshenko and [Viktor] Yanukovich, were representatives of the business elites, that is why one could hardly expect they would wage a consistent fight against that system," he said. "Zelensky is a man of a different system, he has a different record of service, a different view of life, and of course, now the conditions for such fight are better than they were before," the analyst said.

Change of priorities

According to him, the course of the election and its result have demonstrated that the democratic institutions in Ukraine have done a good job. "Those very fragile and so far very unstable political institutions in Ukraine that are responsible for holding elections, did a good job," he said, explaining that attempts to use administrative resources or some other instruments to block or rig the election had failed.

He also pointed out that the vote had showed a change in the moods of the Ukrainian society, that "the Ukrainian society has started moving in the direction opposite to confrontation". "The formula around which Poroshenko was building his election campaign - army, language and faith - failed to strike a chord with most of the voters," he stressed.

"The society needs changes, it is tired of bellicose rhetoric, tired of a war and of course is tired of persisting corruption," he added.


Results of the presidential race

Ukraine’s presidential runoff took place on April 21. With 99.3% of the vote counted, leader of the Servant of the People political party Vladimir Zelensky wins by a landslide with 73.23% of the vote.