Nov 5, 2021
The Kyiv Post reported, “President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s loyalist, Yulia Svyrydenko, was the last of four ministers appointed by parliament on Nov. 4.
Svyrydenko, the ex-deputy head of the President’s Office, became the 51st minister appointed since Zelenskyy took full control of parliament, following his Servant of the People party’s landslide victory in the 2019 parliamentary election.
Customs Head Pavlo Ryabkin was appointed minister of strategic industries, Zelenskyy’s party lawmaker Iryna Vereshchuk became the minister for the reintegration of occupied territories and ex-Vice Prime Minister Oleksii Reznikov will now serve as the minister of defense.
This was just the latest of many government reshuffles by Zelenskyy. Few ministers survived more than a year on the job, with record-holders ex-Finance Minister Ihor Umansky and ex-Health Minister Illia Yemets fired less than a month into their terms.
While fighting a defensive war against Russia and combating the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Ukraine had three ministers of defense and four healthcare chiefs in just two years.
The process of hiring and firing top officials under Zelenskyy has been chaotic, experts say. The disarray delayed crucial reforms in key government sectors, such as defense and medical procurement. Moreover, some ministers have left a dubious trail, with the National Anti-Corruption Bureau opening probes into corruption and abuse of office.
‘They don’t have a strategy, no one knows why people are hired or fired, what are the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), what were the initial goals of their appointments,’ said Anatoly Oktysiuk, a political expert at the local think tank Democracy House.
‘Due to a huge staff turnover, as a result, the skilled don’t want to join the government — the reputational damage (to join) is huge,’ Oktysiuk told the Kyiv Post.
Yet, this constant shuffling may continue for as long as the president and his 242-member Servant of the People faction sees political dividend in firing government officials. The President’s Office continues to think that new people will do a better job, Oktysiuk says. ‘They won’t.’
The recent changes in government have been discussed since late summer. According to the Ukrainian media, the replacements weren’t done sooner because of the lack of candidates.
The five ministers that were eventually ousted on Nov. 3 are Strategic Industries head Oleh Uruskiy, Defense Minister Andriy Taran, Ecology Minister Roman Abramovsky and Economy Minister Oleksiy Lyubchenko.
Reznikov, head of the Ministry of Reintegration, resigned to take on a new Cabinet role. According to lawmaker Mykyta Poturaev, who represents Zelenskyy’s party, the main reasons for the ousting were either inefficiency, corruption or both.”