6 Zelenskyi's decisions in 2020 that surprised everyone
What will we remember about the President of Ukraine during such a difficult, outgoing year?
Our government headed by the President never ceases to amaze us, constantly presenting us with new curious incidents and puns, and sometimes with unhappy news. We have collected several of Zelenskyi's decisions that surprised the entire country in 2020. Let's recall everything before crossing the threshold of 2021.
Did "two useful things at once" in Oman
2020 didn't start for Zelenskyi as President in the best way. Thus, on January 5, he flew out to Oman on vacation with his family. During his trip, he also visited the Sultanate of Oman, meeting with Qaboos bin Said Al Said, the then ruling sultan of the monarchy. President, who decided to combine two useful things at once, got under attack in the media: he was criticized for not informing anyone about his visit in advance and meeting with the Sultan "in secret." In the special project of "Schemes," Zelenskyi was even accused of secretly meeting with the Russian government in Oman. Later, the journalists were sued. The Office of the President of Ukraine literally had to justify Zelenskyi, explaining that the trip to Oman had no official status and that he used the private trip to strengthen diplomatic relations between Oman and Ukraine.
Promised to return migrant workers to their homeland–and returned
True, but not in the way Zelenskyi imagined it. Quarantine was declared in March, and state borders were to close 3 days after President's announcement when the spread of the disease in Ukraine was ridiculously small. To what extent this helped, we cannot say for sure, but the huge lines of workers at the Polish-Ukrainian border resulted from several decisions made in March.
We can't say President deserves credit because after returning from abroad, people were offered ridiculous salaries even by Ukrainian standards. However, it's an unprecedented case deserving our attention. Introducing a strict lockdown delayed the spread of the virus a little; it's a fact. Zelenskyi personally reported to Ukrainians on the progress of the fight against coronavirus almost daily in his video messages. For a time, he even lived in the presidential administration building and delivered his speeches, being noticeably unshaven.
Barged in long-distance truckers' chats
And he called them "wankers." In June 2020, Zelenskyi decided to approach truckers in a very non-standard way. What was the problem? As always, it was a road issue. In Viber, a chat was created for truckers, where truck drivers exchanged information in order to avoid responsibility for vehicle overloading. Thus, more and more overloaded trucks appeared on Ukrainian roads, which, in fact, destroyed them. Zelenskyi broke into this chat with a video message. "I'd like to tell you, guys, you are wankers; we want to do something useful for our country. You cannot help, you aren't able, so don't interfere. Okay?" Zelenskyi said.
Insisted on introducing reforms for IMF loan
We're talking about land, banking, and tax reform — opening the land market, Kolomoiskyi's laws, and adopting several amendments to the laws on tax legislation. Introducing land reform and adopting the Kolomoiskyi law was critical for the Ukrainian economy. It influenced whether we would receive a loan from the IMF, so necessary during the quarantine. President noted this himself, speaking to the deputies on the day of voting for the projects.
President of the European Commission, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, praised Zelenskyi for implementing an array of laws at a press conference in Brussels.
However, the Ukrainians didn't like the adopted reforms so much; the land market opening caused a furious reaction.
Nobody liked the decision to give an opportunity to sell the land. Ukrainians protested from the very beginning of 2020, protested against it, but it was adopted during quarantine, at an already critical moment for Ukraine.
Wanted to get sick with coronavirus
In the summer, President stated that he wasn't opposed to contracting the coronavirus. He said he'd isolate himself on Bankova Street, apparently so as not to be distracted from work. "I wanted to live through this stage myself to make it easier for people. I suggested: "I'll get sick, we'll immediately isolate me on Bankova. And I will live through it normally." So citizens could realize that it's scary. You can get sick and feel bad. On my example, I'll show it," Zelenskyi said. Later they abandoned the idea. President then commented that he wouldn't do it because it was too much, and his family members "would say that I'm crazy. And they would be right," he explained.
However, in November, Zelenskyi still fell ill with COVID-19 but continued to carry out his presidential duties remotely, while in self-isolation in Feofania.
"Я хотів пройти цей етап, захворіти на коронавірус. Запропонував нашим: "Давайте, я захворію і мене одразу ізолюємо на Банковій. І проживу це нормально". Щоб люди розуміли – це страшно, ти можеш захворіти, тобі погано. І я через себе це пропущу, покажу. Але щоб люди розуміли, що це не чума. Щоб не було депресії. Повне інтерв'ю читайте на сайті "Української правди" https://www.pravda.com.ua/articles/2020/06/9/7254917/
Posted by Українська правда on Monday, June 8, 2020
Almost fired all CCU judges
In October, Zelenskyi "went to war against the CCU," threatening to fire all judges. On October 27, 2020, the court canceled some provisions of anti-corruption laws and indicated that establishing criminal liability for declaring deliberately inaccurate data, and deliberately failing to submit declarations, is an excessive punishment for committing such offenses. The decision aroused the righteous anger of the President, who promised to dismiss all judges of the Constitutional Court. In fact, it paralyzed the electronic declaration system, which in turn entailed an immediate reaction from Western partners. Kyiv was threatened with curtailing financial cooperation and hinted at the possibility of canceling the visa-free travel with the EU.
People went to protests, burned sticks at the court, and threatened to send its employees, as the tradition governs, to Rostov like all obnoxious officials.
The fight for justice continues to this day. On December 23, Zelenskyi signed Law № 1074-IX, which returns responsibility for declaring inaccurate information and for the subject's failure to submit a declaration, earlier canceled by the decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.