In May, another round of conflict began between Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko.
It started with police searches of communal enterprises and in city administration departments — Ukrainain law enforcement suspects the people surrounding Klitschko of corruption and theft.
The mayor of Kyiv was quick to respond, calling the searches a «serial» occurrence, which he considers to be undue pressure on the city authorities and on himself personally. Klitschko added that Bankova «very much doesn’t want Kyiv to be led by the mayor elected by Kyivians, instead of a little servant appointed by the central authority.»
After these words, Zelenskyy himself involved himself in this conflict. Zelenskyy has great respect for Klitschko’s victories prior to Klitschko’s mayoralty, according to the president. The President added that the head of the city’s administration «is constantly writing, calling, scheduling meetings» and coming to the Presidential Office when the president is «not ready to meet with him.»
Klitschko replied that he’s a well-mannered man whose code of conduct doesn’t include loitering around the doors of offices. «Maybe I’ve been confused for someone else?» offered the mayor.
The conflict between Zelenskyy and Klitschko stretches back to the first days of Zelenskyy’s presidency. The president’s newly formed team at the time, was insistent that Klitschko relinquish some of the authority he had over the city — specifically, to resign as the head of the Kyiv City State Administration. Klitschko refused to do so, and the issue of his resignation remains undecided.
The coronavirus pandemic only added fuel to this fire: neither the central nor regional powers want to take accountability for the mistakes and unpopular decisions made, such as the lockdown and transport restrictions. Instead, they blame each other for any and all ills.
Interestingly, the two politicians don’t seem willing to go into an open duel: Klitschko blames the collective «Bankova», while Zelenskyy blames «the people surrounding the mayor.»
Another possible reason for the current spark in this long-running drama between the two are the next presidential elections. According to the latest polls, Zelenskyy currently tops the rating for trustworthiness — but Klitschko is in second place.