Why Do Mayors Have Such High Ratings That Zelensky Has Never Dreamed Of? (videoblog)

Bobyrenko Viktor

Head of the Expert Group of the Bureau of Policy Analysis. He studied at the National Academy for Public Administration. Master of Public Administration, Political Scientist, Political Technologist. Studies the…


23 September 2020

The surprise of the local elections will be that almost all mayors of regional centers will be re-elected, and the Servant of the People Party will fail everywhere, and in only a few cities they will be able to form coalitions.

City mayors are to chip in to the monument to Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

Yes, it was during his government that two main things happened. First. He made market tariffs, and they soared. And the people prone to freebies cursed him. But mayors of cities could use an excuse: that’s not our fault, that’s the government.

And second, the government has reformed financial decentralization.

Basic subsidies and two key subventions began to be sent to local communities: medical and educational.

This means that it has become possible to invest the money that cities earn themselves in development budgets. A development budget is a part of the budget when all salaries and all current expenses have already been paid and this money is used for the construction, reconstruction or purchase of the necessary equipment for schools or hospitals.

Thus, the development budgets of regional centers, for example Sumy, Cherkasy, Ternopil, Kherson, increased in comparison with the pre-war period in 2013 from 25-30 million to 600-700 million hryvnias.

That’s way more. That is, even if 20-30% of this money due to corruption stays in the pockets of officials, there’re still hundreds of millions for development in the cities.

And after decades of devastation, people begin to see repaired and tidy roads, tiled courtyards, renovated and upgraded elevators, built new bright fountains and even bridges.

And attention, all this is during war. Therefore, mayors elected or re-elected in 2015 began to seem to people successful strong businessmen. But there is nothing to do with them.

There has been a demand for new non-systemic politicians in the world in recent decades. In 2019, a typical populist campaign was conducted in Ukraine and its non-systemic president was elected.

But within a year, everyone saw that Lenin's principle that every lady cook could run the country did not work, just as socialism did not work. And the people again wanted strong managers. That is why the Servant of the People Party has not a lot out in local elections.

That is why local elites come into force. That is why people are looking for managers on the ground. And we see either nominal parties or parties in which several charismatic leaders gather to enter the regional councils.

But as a rule, they are all former and have visited many parties. So we will see a situation when in the East, South, and sometimes in the Center of Ukraine, OPZZh will make a block with local parties. Just read their biographies and you’ll be shocked: they are all former members of the Party of Regions.

Zelensky united the country last year, winning the second round of elections in almost all regions.

Now we will see the old usual map of the division of Ukraine into East and West.

But this division will be the last. Why? Because a changing fashion for strong owners, then for new faces passes. But it turns out we need a new fashion: for professionals, but not corrupt ones.

Therefore, mayors of millionaire cities, who now look like strong local businessmen, can start new political projects. In these cities, there’re large and self-sufficient budgets: Kharkiv - almost 15 billion hryvnias, including development budget of 5 billion. Dnipro: revenues - over 13 billion hryvnias, development budget - over 4 billion. Odesa: almost 13 billion. Lviv: almost 10 billion. And Kyiv's budget is 58 billion including development budget of 19 billion.

Therefore, mayors of big cities are new political elite to be reckoned with. However, Sadovyi and Samopomich started early and fizzled out. Now Andrii Ivanovych does not have the drive that was before the garbage scandal.

As for Kernes and Trukhanov, they are too odious and are considered pro-Russian to become the next leaders of the country. Although they will win their cities in the first round.

Klitschko and Filatov remain.

Filatov openly and sharply criticizes Zelensky's team, pressuring its insane unprofessionalism. And this, and his possible support in the East and South of the country, makes his Proposal Party (Пропозиція) quite competitive in a possible early parliamentary election.

And Filatov himself can become a real candidate for president.

Klitschko, of course, in politics, unlike boxing, behaves restrained and intelligent and shows everyone that he can negotiate.

Here, and this is the main thing. And it is necessary to negotiate. And Ukraine's trouble is that politicians negotiate not with us.

They negotiate with oligarchs who have media resources, without which it is impossible to highlight the candidate and form his correct image.

We know the general direction of development of political technologies. Of course, it is too early to predict whether Klitschko and Filatov will meet in the second round of the next presidential election. Will there be a third candidate? Will Poroshenko's electoral reincarnation take place? But the fact that the mayors already have not city, but all-Ukrainian political ambitions is clear.

And we need to be smarter and not be driven by crude technology. And then politicians will have to negotiate with us.

Don’t be fooled.