"Hit hard and early too" | TIME ONLINE


In Ukraine, the politically completely inexperienced TV star
      Volodymyr Selenskyj won the presidential election. What can be expected from him?

His thin program offers at best clues. Selenskyj expressed himself here and there, but deliberately avoided concrete plans. He bets on experts, really listen, say these, he learns fast. This is Selenskyj's strength and weakness at the same time – he gets involved in something new, but can possibly be manipulated. What a President Volodymyr Selenskyj will be depends on who his advisers and his team will be.

The official team presented Selenskyj shortly before the election: 20 names from all over Ukraine. Significantly more men than women, many unused faces, but also some experienced politicians from the old system. The youngest in this team is 26, the oldest 62 years old. But actually there is not
Team. There are many groups around Selenskyj, and it is unclear who the future president will listen to. There are friends from his production company Quartal 95, whom he has known well for over 20 years and who celebrated with him on election night. There are acquaintances of the oligarchs Ihor Kolomojskyj broadcasting Selenskyj's productions on his TV station. And there are the reformers who have turned away from Poroshenko, supporting Selenskyj and networking with each other through a WhatsApp group. After all, Selenskyj must still in the coming months, many posts awarded – in the presidential administration or in his party, which is named after his TV series "Servant of the People" and must be filled with content and people by the October parliamentary election in no time.

Those who talk to people from the different groups around Selenskyj get the impression that, while it is still scary, it is not clear, but one thing seems certain: Angela Merkel does not have to worry. Was she in the election earlier? Petro Poroshenko too inclined to be an unpredictable newcomer, she does not need to worry about a turnaround in foreign policy. The Western orientation continues, even though in Selenskyj's TV series the EU and the IMF got away badly. The Ukrainian policy on Russia should also not change significantly. "There will be no turnaround on Russia, and the current course remains," says Oleksandr Mereschko, a lawyer and professor of international relations who has fluent four languages, taught a lot abroad, and then returned to Ukraine to appoint judges at the Anti-Corruption Court become. He felt out there, turned away with bitterness and, despite many doubts about the system, joined the official team of Selenskyj for all the frustration with the system. Mereschko sounds safe, but certainly no one can be of what Selenskyj plans. Maybe not even him.

Selenskyj said on election night that the main goal was the release of 24 Ukrainian seamen in jail in Moscow. He also wants to stick to the 2015 Minsk Agreement, which is intended to pacify Eastern Ukraine, and the regular meetings with Russians, Germans and Frenchmen. However, he may try to involve the United States more than before, because the Minsk process has not been in progress for years. It fits in that Selenskyj with the US Special Representative for the Ukraine met and supported its peace plan. He is also said to have commissioned an American public relations firm to better network him in the US.

Selenskyj, like his predecessor Poroshenko, supports Ukraine's membership in NATO – when the people vote in a referendum. Although Poroshenko recently had the goal of NATO accession enshrined in the constitution, EU and NATO membership are currently unattainable for Ukraine, both of which are virtually irrelevant for Selensky.

In the Donbass Poroshenko wanted to economically isolate the areas occupied by pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. Selenskyj, on the other hand, wants to use a pro-Russian Russian-language broadcaster to recruit local residents and reach them with humanitarian gestures, such as facilitating their retirement.