Legislate against Ukrainian oligarchs?
The Ukrainian government has presented a draft law aimed at the "deoligarchisation" of the country. Those who are oligarchs according to the definition stipulated in the draft must register and disclose their income on an annual basis. In addition, they are prohibited from financing political parties and purchasing state property. The media are sceptical that this is the right way to break the power of oligarchs in Ukraine.
No way out of the institutional crisis
The bill would give the president even more power, criticises political scientist Volodymyr Lupaziy on Hromadske Radio:
“We are in the midst of an institutional crisis from which we have not emerged since the Maidan. The courts are not working, there is no clear division between the legislative and executive branches. ... This is a law about a quasi-presidential republic, because the president is to be one of the main decisionmakers when it comes to implementing the decisions of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine on whether someone is considered an oligarch or not.”
Political scientist Volodymyr Fesenko, on the other hand, praises the draft law on the website of the pro-government TV channel Kanal Dom:
“The oligarchs don't like it. This means that this action is going in the right direction. An entry in the register and the restrictions it imposes represent a serious first step towards deoligarchisation. The state is finally taking action. ... If politicians are not also entrepreneurs and have no media assets, they'll have no problems. ... But those who are both politicians and entrepreneurs will have to decide - either for business or politics.”
Companies and Zelensky's friends will benefit most
The law would hit the wrong people if it came into force, the pro-Kremlin news agency Ria Novosti argues:
“Actually, this isn't really about the fight against oligarchs. The five to ten people who are real oligarchs in Ukraine will hardly suffer under the law - at least for the time being. ... In the short term Zelensky and his entourage will benefit. And in the long term, the law only plays into the hands of the foreign trustees and transnational corporations whose interests they represent. They are the main beneficiaries. ... In a country where according to Forbes there are eight billionaires and several more who are close to passing the billion mark, it's an embarrassment to declare all those with more than 80 million dollars oligarchs.”