Personnel reshuffles in Zelensky’s team: business expects the dismissal of those who pressured them

After changes in the military, the President of Ukraine carried out a series of personnel reshuffles within his team. Dismissals or reassignments mainly affected the second echelon – deputies, assistants, advisors. Currently, the key figure is the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council. At the same time, Volodymyr Zelensky announced that this is not all, further personnel decisions will be made.

It’s mostly about displacement, not dismissal. That is, officials are transferred from one position to another. And those more loyal to the head of the President’s Office are appointed to high government offices. Therefore, it is difficult to call this a reboot of the government“, – believes Alona Lebedieva, the owner of the Ukrainian multidisciplinary industrial and investment group of companies “Aurum Group”.

According to her, the business community is closely monitoring this process, expecting that the top management, which, along with law enforcement, exerted pressure on business, will be deprived of influence and removed from their positions. All these names are known to both the president and businessmen.

“In recent years, entrepreneurs have been under unprecedented pressure from law enforcement agencies. Economic activity was blocked, property was seized, pressure was exerted on managers and owners on fabricated charges. Companies were simply assigned risk statuses, and as a result, many ukr. manufacturers were on the verge of disappearing, causing huge losses to the economy of the warring country, people lost their jobs, and the state did not receive taxes, whether this is the correct and effective approach to business during the war is a rhetorical question.” Lebedieva continued.

As an example, she cited the case of Pozhmashyna, Ukraine’s largest manufacturer of fire equipment. They have repeatedly complained that not every contract of theirs is accompanied by criminal proceedings. Sometimes it is not even signed yet, but the case is already there. Another example is the recent arrest of Synevo head office and central laboratory in Kyiv, which was on the verge of closure due to pressure from law enforcement agencies. This is an international business with the largest share of European investments in the healthcare sector of Ukraine.

Another instrument is the unjust inclusion in sanction lists, which ruins the business of those against whom sanctions are applied. My team and I have experienced this firsthand. All these matters are known at Bankova Street, a working group has been created to address them” says Alona Lebedieva.

However, she emphasizes that law enforcement agencies in Ukraine still have corrupt opportunities to pressure business activities. The recent detention of a former high-ranking official of the Security Service of Ukraine and ex-advisor to the Office of the President of Ukraine, who oversaw business affairs, proves this.

According to Ukrainian media reports, it’s about Artem Shylo. Together with his accomplices, he formed an organized group back in 2021 to control funds of PJSC “Ukrzaliznytsia.” Their activities led to the misappropriation of UAH 94.8 million during the purchase of transformers during a state of war, as reported by the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau.

“This name is familiar to businessmen, because it appeared in all high-profile cases against big Ukrainian business. It is no coincidence that Artem Shylo accumulated assets worth almost 4 million dollars during ten years of public service. What Ukrainian journalists were talking about a year ago” – she reminds.

We hope that soon it will be known whether this is really renewal and development or just reshuffling the deck and settling scores among Ukrainian politicians.