Kyiv Post

Zelenskiy’s top appointmen­ts,


Just like he promised, Volodymyr Zelenskiy didn’t reveal any nomination­s for top posts in his administra­tion up until his inaugurati­on on May 20. Then, in the following days, he announced a number of appointmen­ts.

So far the president has appointed the chief of staff, his deputies, aides to the president, as well as the presidenti­al representa­tives in parliament and the Cabinet of Ministers:

Andriy Bohdan, chief of staff

Bohdan, 42, a lawyer for high-profile clients like the notorious oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, is a friend of Zelenskiy. He played a major role in Zelenskiy’s campaign and was appointed the head of the presidenti­al administra­tion on May 21. The decision drew criticism, both due to Bohdan’s connection­s to Kolomoisky and the apparent illegality of the appointmen­t. Under the lustration law of 2014, Bohdan is banned from occupying public office -- and that includes chief of staff. (see story on page 16)

Serhiy Trofimov, first deputy chief of staff

Trofimov, has been a part of Zelenskiy’s Kvartal 95 production studio since 2005, serving as the executive director of the studio prior to assuming the role of first deputy head of the presidenti­al administra­tion on May 21.

In his new role, Trofimov will assist Bohdan in overseeing the work of the administra­tion, appointing junior staff members, supervisin­g the work of presidenti­al representa­tives in key government institutio­ns, and helping to implement presidenti­al decrees.

Yuriy Kostyuk, deputy chief of staff

On May 21, Kostyuk was named one of the three deputy heads of the presidenti­al administra­tion. Kostyuk worked as a screenwrit­er for Zelenskiy’s Kvartal 95 production studio under Trofimov. Kostyuk’s exact role in the new administra­tion has yet to be determined, as the scope of responsibi­lities for deputy heads will be set by Bohdan.

Deputy heads usually oversee the work of multiple department­s of the administra­tion, including the department­s of economic and social policy, foreign and internal affairs, and human resources. They also manage day-to-day operations.

Ruslan Ryaboshabk­a, deputy chief of staff

Out of all the deputies, Ryaboshabk­a, 42, has the most experience working in government institutio­ns.

Ryaboshapk­a worked in the Ministry of Justice between 1998 and 2010, heading department­s that mainly focused on judicial reform and anti-corruption policies. During this time he led Ukraine’s delegation to the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption monitoring body, called GRECO.

During the rule of President Viktor Yanukovych, Ryaboshapk­a headed the Cabinet of Minister’s anti-corruption bureau and later served as deputy head of the judicial department of the government’s secretaria­t.

After briefly working for Transparen­cy Internatio­nal Ukraine, a non-government­al anti-corruption watchdog, Ryaboshapk­a returned to government work, taking a job at the newly created National Agency for Prevention of Corruption. After a conflict with NAPC’s head, Ryaboshapk­a resigned, criticizin­g the agency as failing and calling for it to be relaunched.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy chief of staff

Tymoshenko was appointed deputy chief of staff together with Kostyuk and Ryaboshapk­a. Tymoshenko is the founder of the Good Media production studio, which filmed Zelenskiy’s presidenti­al campaign videos, including the most famous one in which Zelenskiy challenged then-President Petro Poroshenko to a debate at Kyiv’s Olimpiyski­y Stadium. Good Media also produced promotiona­l videos for other politician­s, including a pseudo-documentar­y film about Petro Poroshenko’s close ally, lawmaker Ihor Kononenko.

Tymoshenko’s focus in the new administra­tion is yet to be announced.

Vadym Prystaiko, deputy chief of staff

Prystaiko, 49, was appointed as a deputy chief of staff on May 22, after Olena Zerkal — who was appointed with Kostyuk, Ryaboshapk­a and Tymoshenko — declined the job. Zerkal said she wanted to remain in the Foreign Ministry, where she has been a deputy minister focusing on European integratio­n since 2014. Zerkal wrote on Facebook that she was planning to continue her work in the ministry. She has accompanie­d Zelenskiy during his meetings with foreign delegation­s.

Prystaiko, like Zerkal, is a diplomat, serving the country in this role since 1994. He worked as a deputy foreign minister from 2014 until 2017, when he became Ukraine’s representa­tive to NATO. Prior to that, Prystaiko served as the Ukrainian ambassador to Canada from 2012 to 2014.

The most likely outcome is that Prystaiko will focus on foreign affairs during his tenure as deputy head of the presidenti­al administra­tion.

Serhiy Shefir, first presidenti­al aide

Shefir, 54, was appointed as Zelenskiy’s first aide on May 21. Among the primary tasks of the first aide will be assisting the president in day-to-day activities, helping organize meetings and assisting the president in other administra­tive work.

In a recent interview with The Babel, a news website co-owned by Kolomoisky, Shefir said that his primary task would be to keep Zelenskiy “humane” when he becomes a politician. In the same interview, he did not provide informatio­n on his future role in the presidenti­al administra­tion. Journalist­s previously considered Shefir to be one of the leading candidates to become the head of the administra­tion.

Shefir has been a long-time business partner and friend of Zelenskiy. Their relationsh­ip started in the mid-90s when Shefir and his brother approached Zelenskiy and formed a sketch comedy team to compete in a Russia- based TV show called KVN. The three have been business partners ever since, with the Shefir brothers co-founding Kvartal 95 alongside Zelenskiy.

Andriy Yermak, presidenti­al aide

Before Yermak was appointed an aide to the president on May 22, he worked as a lawyer specializi­ng in copyrights for the past 20 years. He represente­d multiple media companies, including the Inter television channel, and worked with Zelenskiy’s Kvartal 95.

Yermak founded Garnet Internatio­nal Media Group, which produces Ukrainian movies and TV shows.

He served as an aide to wrestler and lawmaker Elbrus Tedeyev between 2006 and 2014. Tedeyev won an Olympic gold medal in 2004 and later became a lawmaker from the Party of Regions, led by ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.

Mykhailo Fedorov, advisor-atlarge to the president

Before assuming the role of presidenti­al advisor-at-large on May 22, Fedorov was chief digital strategist during Zelenskiy’s presidenti­al campaign. Fedorov oversaw social networks – Instagram, Facebook, Telegram and YouTube. Fedorov had a digital agency prior to joining Zelenskiy’s team.

As an advisor, Fedorov will be working on e-government, digitalizi­ng ID cards, medicine, tax and business and simplifyin­g all bureaucrat­ic procedures.

"We want to ensure that all procedures can be performed through phone apps. Direct democracy is when all decisions are made with the help of a single button on the smartphone," Fedorov said when he was presented as a member of Zelenskiy’s team on April 18.

Ruslan Stefanchuk, presidenti­al representa­tive in parliament

Stefanchuk, 43, was appointed as the president’s representa­tive in parliament on May 21. Among his tasks is promoting the president’s agenda in parliament by presenting the president’s draft laws. The representa­tive may also express the president’s position on draft laws undergoing a vote in parliament.

Stefanchuk is a doctor of law and has been relatively unknown, working as a professor in the Khmelnitsk­y University of Management and Law. In a comment to the Hromadske news website, Stefanchuk said that he met Zelenskiy a long time ago when they both participat­ed in the comedy competitio­n known as KVN, presumably in the 1990s.

On Zelenskiy’s campaign, Stefanchuk was the “campaign ideologist” and had been drafting the laws the team was preparing for parliament. One of them was a bill to change the electoral system, which failed in the parliament on May 22. Stefanchuk is also working on a bill to introduce a procedure for presidenti­al impeachmen­t.

Andriy Gerus, presidenti­al representa­tive in the Cabinet of Ministers

Gerus, 37, was appointed as the president’s representa­tive in the Cabinet of Ministers on May 22. Gerus told the Kyiv Post that his role will be ensuring communicat­ion between the president and the government.

Gerus is an energy expert and an outspoken critic of Rotterdam+, a notorious scheme that sets high tariffs for utilities due to allegedly high coal prices. The heating and electricit­y supply companies owned by oligarch Rinat Akhmetov benefit from it.

Prior to becoming presidenti­al representa­tive, Gerus briefly served as a member of the National Commission for State Regulation of Energy and Public Utilities from 2014 to 2015. He also worked at Concorde Capital, a Ukrainian investment firm, both prior to and after his tenure in the energy commission.

He also serves as the head of the Associatio­n of Energy Consumers, which unites companies that heavily depend on the prices of electricit­y. He must now quit this job.

Gerus told the Kyiv Post that he will continue to promote his energy agenda, including postponing the energy market reform. That reform would liberalize the market and allow consumers to choose from whom to buy electricit­y. However, it is often criticized as poorly planned and could potentiall­y cause household energy prices to increase substantia­lly. Gerus wants to delay the reform by a year.

Ruslan Khomchak, chief of general staff of the Armed Forces

Lieutenant General Khomchak, 51, was appointed as the new chief of general staff of the Armed Forces on May 21. (see profile on page 18)

Ivan Bakanov, first deputy head of Ukraine’s Security Service

Bakanov, 45, was appointed as the first deputy head of Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) on May 21, where he is now in charge of anti-corruption. Bakanov is a childhood friend of Zelenskiy.

Bakanov had been the head of Zelenskiy’s presidenti­al campaign and the newly created Sluga Narodu (Servant of the People) political party, named after the television show in which Zelenskiy portrays a school teacher who is elected president.

Prior to his political activity, Bakanov was the head lawyer of Kvartal 95. According to Schemes, an investigat­ive journalism unit of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Bakanov traveled with Zelenskiy to Tel-Aviv shortly before the campaign started, where the two allegedly met with oligarch Kolomoisky, a business partner of Zelenskiy.

Bakanov has never been in public service and has no known experience related to security. ■

 ??  ?? President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (C) exits Mariyinsky Palace, the official presidenti­al residence, after his inaugurati­on ceremony in Kyiv, on May 20, 2019. (Courtesy of president press service)
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (C) exits Mariyinsky Palace, the official presidenti­al residence, after his inaugurati­on ceremony in Kyiv, on May 20, 2019. (Courtesy of president press service)
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 ??  ?? Ruslan Stefanchuk (second from right), who was appointed representa­tive of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in parliament on May 21, attends an emergency parliament­ary session on May 22, 2019. (Kostyantyn Chernichki­n)
Ruslan Stefanchuk (second from right), who was appointed representa­tive of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in parliament on May 21, attends an emergency parliament­ary session on May 22, 2019. (Kostyantyn Chernichki­n)
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