Dmytro Razumkov, the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, was dismissed on Oct. 7.
The firing followed Razumkov’s clash with President Volodymyr Zelensky and his ruling Servant of the People party over legislation to tackle the influence of oligarchs.
Razumkov did not support the president-created law and sent it to the Venice Commission to examine, attracting the party’s ire. He also stopped short of supporting sanctions against oligarch and Ukrainian citizen Viktor Medvedchuk in February.
A total of 284 lawmakers voted in favor of Razumkov’s resignation, 215 of whom were from Zelesnky’s party. Razumkov first entered parliament as the number one candidate on the party’s list.
The Servant of the People party’s press secretary, Yulia Paliychuk, soon informed that Ruslan Stefanchuk, First Deputy Speaker, is delegated by a majority vote for the position of speaker.
Faction head David Arakhamia on Oct.5 told the reporters that the vote for the new speaker’s appointment could take place on Friday, Oct.8.
In a speech before the vote, Razumkov told lawmakers about “the country of his dreams,” addressing the Servant of the People faction. He criticized Zelensky and his party for stepping back from their initial principles.
“The principle of the rule of law has turned into the principle of political expediency,” the speaker said. “The principle of… freedom of speech became ‘whoever is not with us is against us.’ The principle of ‘the law is the same for everyone’ turned into ‘the law is for enemies; my friends can have everything.”
Razumkov also mentioned the Pandora Papers’ revelations that Zelensky concealed assets offshore, like the very oligarchs he promised to take down.
When Zelensky was campaigning for the presidency in 2019, he called for politicians to be transparent. The Pandora Papers revealed that Zelensky and his inner circle were the beneficiaries of a network of offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands, Cyprus, and Belize, including some that owned expensive London property.
According to the investigation, Zelensky transferred shares in a key offshore company to his aide close to the 2019 election but arranged for a family owned by his family to continue receiving money from it. It’s unclear if any dividends were actually paid.
“The principle that offshore arrangements for the governors is a disgrace turned into ‘no problem, every individual entrepreneur has them,” Razumkov said.
On Oct. 5, Zelensky’s party voted to suspend the speaker for two days in preparation for the final ouster.
The signatures to put the issue to vote in parliament were collected during the Servant of the People party convention in Truskavets, a city of about 30,000 people, some 600 kilometers southwest of Kyiv, in the past weekend.
Read more: After falling out with President, speaker Razumkov faces ouster
Razumkov was a member of Zelenskiy’s core election team when the president won a landslide victory in 2019.
Razumkov took charge of creating the new pro-Zelensky political project named Servant of the People after the president’s hit TV series.
But as a speaker, Razumkov has seemingly been the only top official daring to publicly disagree with Zelensky and his party.
The latest disagreement erupted over the president’s law on oligarchs, which has recently cleared the Rada. Razumkov actively criticized the law and publicly disagreed with Security Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov, who said that oligarch influence in parliament is “extremely high.” Razumkov invited Danilov to give concrete examples.
Despite his party’s opposition, Razumkov sent the anti-oligarch draft bill for consideration of the Venice Commission, a legal advisory board of the Council of Europe.
After the parliament voted for his dismissal, Rasumkov hinted he’s planning to compete against Zelensky in the next presidential election.
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