Has Zelensky lived up to expectations?

A country of new opportunities and a radical break with corrupt elites was what Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky promised before he took office. The political newcomer arrived at his inauguration on foot, seemed relaxed and approachable, and took selfies. Shortly thereafter in a controversial decision he dissolved parliament, where he'd lacked a majority. Commentators take stock a year later.

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TSN (UA) /

Mixed results

TSN lists a number of successes and disappointments in Zelensky's first year of office, including this one:

“Some prisoners have been freed, there is less shooting in Donbass, the Normandy format has been revived. ... The EU has not lifted its sanctions [against Russia]. The phone call between Zelensky and Trump sent tremors across the whole planet. ... Zelensky managed to come away unscathed. … The president is holding to his pro-EU, pro-Nato course, and that's a plus. On the other hand, no decisive steps been taken in this direction. And that's a minus. ... Add to that his personnel policy and the frequent changes in his team. ... One of Zelensky's main election promises was to put corrupt officials in jail. But so far nobody is behind bars.”

Webcafé (BG) /

Spawning scandals instead of fighting corruption

Webcafé is unenthusiastic after a year of Zelensky in office:

“He won the presidential election convincingly with the promise of eradicating corruption, putting the country's biggest criminals behind bars, ending the war with Russia and attracting billions in foreign investments. But none of this has happened. ... In his first year, the former comedian has achieved little in the fight against corruption. The war against the Kremlin-supported separatists in eastern Ukraine is still in deadlock. Instead, Ukraine has become the focus of the biggest scandal in the United States since Monica Lewinsky.”

Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (PL) /

In calmer waters

Dziennik Gazeta Prawna is relieved that relations between Kiev and Warsaw have at least not deteriorated:

“Poland didn't expect or offer much from the start. Long before Zelensky, while Poroshenko was in office, Polish President Andrzej Duda made it clear that Poland would not return to its routine unconditional support for Kiev, regardless of whether or not nationally-oriented Ukrainian activists are once again organising protests. … But after a year of Zelensky's presidency, the tensions between Warsaw and Kiev have calmed significantly. And in principle this can be seen as a moderate success.”