The Political bureau 1.0

After almost 2 years of Vladimir Zelensky's unsuccessful tenure as President of Ukraine and his increasing conviction of his inability to achieve his goals within the existing vertical of power (Parliament, Government, judicial system) and procedures (Constitution and laws), the power in Ukraine has actually been transformed into the national version of Politburo (Political Bureau): the highest collective body of state management, standing actually above it and having little limited powers.

Of course, this is not the first attempt of Ukrainian presidents to use the NSDCU to strengthen themselves, but if previous ones were limited to the use of the NSDCU as a parallel "government" or special service, the current one is a much different approach.

If the previous cases were limited to the use of the National Security and Defence Council as a "government" or a "special government", the present approach is much different. In this situation, the NSBU not only works to strengthen the authority, pressure or paralel the authorities, but its main goal was to replace them: the judicial power (laws and punishments), the legislative (the actual formation of a new legal field of the country), the executive (economic regulation, taking over the authority of the Cabinet of Ministers, the National Council on TV and Radio Broadcasting). By the way, earlier, the National Security and Defense Council also played an important (if not decisive) role in making decisions to cancel local elections in part of the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (under control) and the actual defeat of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.

Therefore, the current NSDCU is not a government, but precisely the Politburo. It is supranational and all-embracing nature is determined by a paradoxical combination: on the one hand, by the absence of any specific powers of the body itself and the weakness of its status; On the other hand, the maximum concentration of real power and authority in its individual members - the President of Ukraine, the Head of the Verkhovna Rada, the Prime Minister of Ukraine, the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Head of the Security Service of Ukraine, the Prosecutor General, the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, the Head of the Foreign Intelligence Service, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Defense, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, the Head of the State Financial Monitoring Service of Ukraine, the Head of the National Bank of Ukraine and others - in total 20 top officials. At the same time, it seems that the President only nominally and legally gives the appearance of legitimacy to his decisions. The power and executive structures are guided in their work not by the Constitution and laws of Ukraine, but by the decisions, made at the National Security and Defense Council and legalized by the Presidential decrees. The most important thing in this process is not the President's signature on the Decree, but the signatures of all other Decisions of the NSDCU - a political "omertà" ("mutual responsibility").

And even if the NSDCU is aware of the unprecedented threats to the Ukrainian statehood, the current REAL model of governance is fundamentally inconsistent with the constitutional architecture of the Ukrainian state authorities.

The NSDCU is primarily an expression of power (the ability to do something), rather than legitimacy (the body has no powers, which it actually implements) and justice (decisions that are not aimed at social problems, but exclusively political ones). And although this "Big Lodge" on the one hand stabilizes the presidency of V. Zelensky (although it dilutes the powers), on the other hand it is largely under the influence of external forces and certain Ukrainian financial groups.

But the group character of this new politburo is undoubtedly advantageous. It makes it possible to solve several fundamental problems:

- to achieve the initial unity of all key structures of power (and the ability to implement decisions made);

- to get around legislative and managerial barriers to decision-making and the resistance of other participants in the system;

- to collectively take over potential political dissidents and competitors in power structures (for example, the head of the Verkhovna Rada or the Prosecutor General);

- divide responsibility and public pressure on everyone.

The source of the inspiration for this transformation of power is most likely the fear of losing power, and then Western partners.

It is too early to answer the question of how all this will end. But, probably, an even greater widening of the "boundaries of what is acceptable" in Ukrainian politics.


Ruslan Bortnik