Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky seems to have concrete plans to move his office closer to people.
On June 20, Zelensky announced he might move the Presidential Administration to the Ukrainian House in central Kyiv. His current office on Bankova Street, where all the previous Ukrainian presidents have worked, would then become a museum, according to the president’s plan.
At its core, the Presidential Administration gives organizational, legal, and advisory help to a president. Zelensky will not change its functions, but he plans to rename the body the “President’s Office” and to fire unnecessary staff.
The plan is “to turn the Presidential Administration, a rudiment of the Soviet system, into a modern, European office for the Ukrainian president,” said Presidential Administration Chief Andriy Bohdan, talking to Zelensky in a video published on June 20.
The staff reorganization promises to reduce the amount of budgetary money Ukraine spends on the maintenance of the building on Bankova Street.
The National Security and Defense Council also uses the building on Bankova. It is not known whether it will also be forced to move.
The Ukrainian House building stands in central Kyiv next to Independence Square. It was built in 1982 and was a museum dedicated to Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin until the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
When Ukraine became independent, the building served as a prosecutor’s office and then as a police department. During the EuroMaidan Revolution in 2014, the 17,000-square-meter building was used by the Berkut riot police, who brutalized protesters, as a base. Now it is an exhibition center.
Before moving into the building, Zelensky’s team plans to redo it completely. The financing for this will come from grants given by nonprofits from the European Union, Bohdan said.
“We won’t take a penny from the budget,” he added.
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