A recent poll which was observed in Ukraine revealed that almost 60 percent of the citizens of that country are unhappy with their current president, Petro Poroshenko. His low approval rating hardly comes as a surprise to many. Having been granted his role as President of Ukraine in June of last year, his reign has already been rife with corruption, social unrest and economic faltering. On the heels of the seizure of the Crimea region by Russia, Poroshenko has drawn even more controversy with he most recent decision to fire regional governor, Ihor Kolomoisky.
Kolomoisky, an oligarch-leaning billionaire oil, media and bank tycoon, was the governor of Dnipropetrovsk, an industrial-oriented region in eastern Ukraine. During his reign as governor, he proved himself as a valuable ally to the Kievan government, providing arms and generous financing to the Ukrainian militia, in addition to organizing various volunteer battalions to assist the official army. In particular, he was a great help in warding off pro-Russian separatists from seizing control of not only his region but various other regions in eastern Ukraine, where the sentiment of pro-Russian separatism that plagues the entire country is the most dominant.
Because of this, many are not happy about Kolomoisky being ousted from his position. Already a magnet for controversy, Poroshenko drew some harsh criticism for his decision, some even going as far to suggest that he is just opening the floodgates to allow a full on conflict with Russia to happen. There has been some optimistic commentary, with a few sources saying that he gave Kolomoisky the boot from his political position so he could spend more time focusing on the energy-sector in order to improve the ailing economic situation of the country. Still, most believe that it is too high risk of a move to make in a time of social unrest and political crisis.
Poroshenko is not alone however; most Ukrainian government officials scored low ratings in the recent polls, with the prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk only receiving a 24 percent score of approval. With Crimea being illegally seized by Russia, and the eastern regions of Donestk and Luhansk falling under separatist control, public morale has reached staggering lows in Ukraine. One public official recently quit his job out of frustration, citing a lack of interest in combating internal corruption. On the external side of things, numerous protests have erupted throughout the country during the past several months, with the conflict between separartists and the militia leading to nearly 6,000 deaths since last year.
Many have cited Poroshenko as weak-willed and irresponsible, with his firing of the nationally well-received Kolomoisky only drawing even more controversy. As the country relies on billions in foreign aid, and the parliament makes highly unpopular decisions such as increased energy prices and anti-graft movements, many believe that things are looking very bleak for Ukraine. In the face of social, political and economic crisis, most agree that a shake-up is not in the best of interest for Ukrainian citizens While speculation on his reasoning for ousting Kolomoisky is rampant, with many assuming it was an economic move, Poroshenko has yet to reveal the official reason for his decision.
By Philip Cunningham
Photo by: Dennis Kan – Flickr License