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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

The first test

Expert: The president appointed some officials last Tuesday. It is still a big question to what extent these people will manage to change the system of administration
12 June, 2014 - 11:22
UNIAN photo

The criticism of the new president regarding the relatively long pause in the staff questions started to pick up steam. But yesterday the pause was over. Petro Poroshenko appointed Borys Lozhkin the head of the Presidential Administration, whereas Hennadii Zubko became the first deputy head of the Presidential Administration and Oleh Rafalsky was appointed his deputy. Poroshenko appointed journalist of Channel 5 Sviatoslav Tseholko his press secretary. Serhii Berezenko will head the State Management of Affairs, and Yurii Onishchenko, who was dismissed from his post of Ukraine’s Ambassador in Norway, has been appointed the first assistant of the president.

Let’s see in more details the information we have been able to find in the open sources. Borys Lozhkin is known as a media magnate and Petro Poroshenko’s business partner. He graduated from the Kharkiv State Pedagogical Institute, where he acquired specialization “Russian Language and Literature” and International Institute of Humanization and Development (US) where he was trained as a high-ranking manager. A year ago Lozhkin was awarded with an honorary diploma of the Council of the Russian Federation for promotion of Russian media. In June 2013 he sold 98 percent of UMH Group actions (which united media actives). In 2013 Lozhkin entered the ranking of top 30 most influential media managers of the CIS.

Hennadii Zubko has been People’s Deputy of Ukraine since 2012. Before that, in 2006-10, he was a deputy of Zhytomyr City Council. In 2010-12 he was a deputy of Zhytomyr Oblast Council and the head of the Front of Change faction in the oblast council in the same period.

“An acquaintance close to power told that the decision on appointment of Borys Lozhkin, Pavlo Klimkin [he has not been appointed yet. – Author], and Hennadii Zubko as head of the Presidential Administration, minister of foreign affairs, and first deputy head of the Presidential Administration respectively was made long ago. The logic can be seen here. They are technocrats rather than politicians,” writes Vakhtang Kipiani on his Facebook page.

The experts have the most questions to the appointment of Oleh Rafalsky. In this case it is too early to speak about the change of the system. Since 2003 he has been working in Kuchma’s Presidential Administration (headed by Medvedchuk). In 2006-07 he worked in the apparatus of Prime Minister Yanukovych (the apparatus was headed by Liovochkin). In 2008-10 he was first deputy head of Secretariat of the parliamentary faction of the Party of Regions. Since 2010 he has been deputy head of the Presidential Administration (headed by Liovochkin). In 1999-2000 he headed the party Democratic Union of the “director of parliament” Oleksandr Volkov.

The 30-year-old resident of Vinnytsia Serhii Berezenko was appointed the head of the State Management of Affairs. Since 2002 he has been a member of URP “Sobor” of Anatolii Matviienko. In 2006-11 he has been a deputy of Kyiv City Council from faction “Leonid Chernovetsky’s Bloc.” He has been Chernovetsky’s counselor on the questions of family, youth, sport, and tourism.

Sviatoslav Tseholko graduated from the journalism department of Lviv-based Ivan Franko University in 2001. He has worked as a journalist in Lviv media. In 2001-04 he worked as a reporter of the New Channel. Since 2004 till present day he has been working on Channel 5. “I like the new press secretary of the president,” MP from UDAR Iryna Herashchenko wrote on her Facebook page. “He has influence in mass media, he can formulate a thought, and he has principles in profession.”

Yurii Onishchenko is a career diplomat. He has been working for many years on various positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In different years he has worked on the problems of the UN.

Staff appointments were the first test for Petro Poroshenko. It is too early to say that the new president has passed it. First and foremost, it is about Rafalsky. This is a man of the system against which Maidan fought. And he is a man of the system of Kuchma’s time, and then – Yanukovych’s time. However, according to lawyer Hennadii Druzenko, “The president may appoint to the Presidential Administration anyone it will be comfortable for him to work with, because the head of the Presidential Administration is responsible for the work of the president’s chancellery. And appointment of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Defense, new secretary of the National Defense and Security Council of Ukraine, which is a different kind of thing, will give us an opportunity to say about the priorities of the president and his policy,” Druzenko adds.

The Day’s experts comment on the appointments of the new president.


Viktoria PODHORNA, political scientist:

“Apart from Rafalsky, all the appointments were predicted, because we are speaking about the people who have been working with Poroshenko for a long time.

“Zubko’s candidature is not bad. He is connected with the Front of Change, with Yatseniuk, and basically represents the young generation of politicians, he is a good manager and a clever man.

“Lozhkin is a person connected with Poroshenko’s media holdings, and his candidature has been actively discussed by experts on the eve. Lozhkin is distinguished by his managerial approach to the situation. I.e., he is not a political figure, neither is he connected with any political project or political force, which works in the favor of the new head of the Presidential Administration.

“It is hard to tell what steps and general line Lozhkin will take when he is in office, but clearly he will agree them with Poroshenko. Lozhkin is not going to become either a political figure or independent manager. This indicates that the president’s line will be connected with advancing of his own political course rather than a line which will be coordinated with various political forces, allies, etc.

“As for Rafalsky, he is an old political figure connected with various political projects. At the moment he is the closest to Lytvyn. Therefore I don’t think that this appointment is good and optimistic for civic society. I would like to see more new people and this appointment, in my opinion, won’t make a positive influence on the image of Petro Poroshenko, who proclaimed ‘To live in a new way!’ as his motto.

“As for Berezenko, he is a person who has been in Poroshenko’s team for a long time, therefore his appointment was quite predictable.

“If we assess on the whole the recent staff appointments of the newly-elected president, it turns out that Poroshenko’s course is connected with shaping a backbone of his own political team for a long term.”


Natalia LYHACHOVA, media expert, chief editor of community organization Telekrytyka:

“As we can see, Poroshenko appoints people who have been close to him for a long time, people from his team. Borys Lozhkin, as is known, was his business partner, when Poroshenko was a shareholder of the company KP-Media (journal and website Korrespondent, portal Bigmir), and Sviatoslav Tseholko is well-recognized journalist of Channel 5. I think it is absolutely natural that the president forms his closest milieu, in which he is going to work every day, out of reliable people, people he is confident in and with whom he feels comfortable. As for Sviatoslav’s professionalism, he has proved it many times on air. It is good that he knows well the profession of a journalist namely from journalist’s side. Hopefully, he will be loyal to his colleagues and won’t have any conflicts, like it used to be many times with the presidential press service, and that Sviatoslav will be able to organize the president’s schedule in such a way that press conference will be held at least once in a quarter. Both Borys Lozhkin and Sviatoslav Tseholko are media personalities who understand how to work with the press, they know that the press service and the head of the Presidential Service should not have any favorites, what informational reasons for mass media are, and that a politician must be open. I think that people who have been appointed are quite professional for these positions. Besides, they enjoy big trust in journalistic circles.”


Hennadii DRUZENKO, civic activist, lawyer, and publicist:

“I don’t think these appointments should be commented, because these are not constitutional posts. Not in the sense they run counter to the Constitution, but in the sense that, for example, the head of the Presidential Administration is the main clerk with the president. The president can appoint to this post anyone it will be comfortable for him to work with, because this person will be responsible for the work of his chancellery, and I would give the full freedom of choice to the president in this regard.

“The appointments of a different kind, the candidate to the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Defense, new secretary of the National Defense and Security Council will give us an opportunity to say about some or other priorities of the president and his policy.

“As for Lozhkin, I doubt that he will be another Medvedchuk or Liovochkin. Apparently, Poroshenko does not see in him a strong player, rather a quiet executive, his shadow that does not exist without the master.”

Prepared by Ivan KAPSAMUN, Yulia LUCHYK, Anna CHEREVKO, Anna SVENTAKH, The Day