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What's Happening 09:05 30 Jun 2021

Are they still partners or almost rivals? How relationships between Zelenskyi and Razumkov will develop further

Each step of the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Dmytro Razumkov has long been viewed under a magnifying glass. Be it the unexpected release of a rather pretentious promotional video about his working day, a veiled repartee at the Office of the President in another interview, or refusing to vote with everyone for new sanctions at an NSDC meeting. All this immediately raises a lot of questions from the media: is the second person in the state going to leave the first person according to the Constitution? Is he gradually starting his own campaign? Could he become a strong competitor for Volodymyr Zelenskyi, who's still the top-rated politician in Ukraine?

The past Constitution Day threw in new questions and details. Find out about them in the Rubryka article.

"Razumkov is stretching"

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On June 25, the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada summoned the journalists for a press conference. The upcoming celebration was the official reason, but those gathered in the courtyard couldn't help but note that literally the day before, Volodymyr Zelenskyi had given a big interview to 1+1.

Nothing is surprising that many of the journalists considered this as a kind of response to "Bankova" and asked the speaker the appropriate questions. However, Razumkov's team ruled out any undercover games were. "The date of the press conference was chosen specifically for Constitution Day. It was most logical to hold it before the weekend on Friday. There's no connection with the president's interview here," a source from the Verkhovna Rada Chairperson's team told Rubryka.

Of course, Razumkov was also asked about their relationships with the president at a press conference. Judging by the expression on the chairperson's face, this point tired him out, but he answered again. And there's no doubt that as the presidential race approaches, he'll respond to it more and more often.

"I continue to work, I consider myself a member of the president's team. The key thing in the team is the principles we came here with and the promises we made. It seems to me that I haven't betrayed mine," Razumkov said.

At the same time, the Rada speaker, in his characteristic neat manner, pricked Zelenskyi for the idea of ​​bringing important state issues to an all-Ukrainian referendum: according to him, the two billion hryvnias can be spent more profitably, and questions about the territorial integrity of Ukraine cannot be brought up for public discussion at all as it's contrary to the referendum law.

However, he said in an extremely restrained form, so it's definitely impossible to blame Razumkov for the attack on the OP.

"Now they're partners. Circumstances are such that they cannot do without each other. Therefore, they're forced to coexist and coordinate their goals and interests. It's clear that Zelenskyi will have more problems with Razumkov. Since the speaker is stretching now. On the one hand, as a political strategist, he understands that the post of speaker has repeatedly turned out to be the highest point in his political career, after which a fall followed.

On the other hand, there's probably a group of comrades who are playing on his ambition. And Dmytro Razumkov is an ambitious person, but from time to time he needs to designate his independence so that they don't lose interest in him. The further it progresses, the more suspicions Zelenskyi will become. It remains possible that their political paths will radically diverge," political expert and head of the Third Sector analytical center Andrii Zolotarev said in an interview with the publication.

"Bankova" tried to drive Razumkov into a stall, but without success 

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The current Rada chairperson was the most important part of Zelenskyi's super successful campaign, for which he received a place where he seemed to be able to show his strengths best.

However, from the very first days of his term of office, Razumkov made it clear that he would not dissolve in the "embrace of Bankova." This caused a predictable increase in relationship tension, not only between the speaker and the president but also between their people, in the President's Office and Rada. Several sources, on both sides of the barricades, told Rubryka about the existing conflicts. They say that misunderstandings also arose with the president's ex-press secretary, Yulia Mendel. Time will show how it will be with a new press person in the OP, but we suspect that the source of the problem will disappear nowhere. The president's office wants to control everything, and Razumkov doesn't want to lose his independence: an attempt to remove him from office would be fraught with the open war in the Verkhovna Rada: too big a risk for Zelenskyi.

"Perhaps the moment of conflict will come long before the presidential elections. I don't rule out this fall. My forecast for a hot summer is starting to come true, and hot autumn will follow. They'll try to shake Zelenskyi, and for this, he needs to be knocked out of a foothold. Perhaps the blow will be toward the Verkhovna Rada," Andrii Zolotarev predicts.

Razumkov's prospects

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It's not for nothing that the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada is considered one of the most promising politicians of the new wave. He knows very well how to behave, doesn't get involved in scandals, but gradually tries to expand his field of activity. For example, he travels to regions, which is perceived by many as a kind of PR campaign.

However, now Razumkov's personal rating in the latest presidential polls doesn't even reach 3%. Can he expect more soon?

"He's very smart, obviously takes his place in the Verkhovna Rada, but if Razumkov wants more, he'll have to decide. Keeping up with the current government isn't very good for him. The same Groisman is an example, who suffered greatly because of the proximity to Poroshenko; part of the anti-rating spread to him. Zelenskyi doesn't have such toxic "ends" yet, but it's extremely hard to turn around with them in a pair. Why does Bankova need a competitor? Hence, you need to go to a conflict, and it's also fraught with considerable risks. Being the second person in a state with a decent amount of independence is not so bad. He has something to lose," political expert Dmytro Antonenko said.

Razumkov can hardly count on a sharp growth in ratings from the current position of the speaker, so, as the elections approach, he'll have to solve a dilemma: chasing the pigeon on the roof or having a sparrow in the hand. If he chooses the first option, then Ukraine will face an extremely interesting fight between former partners who dispersed due to political ambitions.

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