Zelenskyy’s chief of staff dubbed ‘ghost’ with exceptionally broad powers – The Washington Post

Chief of staff Andriy Yermak and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Chief of staff Andriy Yermak and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Andriy Yermak, the head of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's office, is the most powerful chief of staff in the Ukrainian history, concentrating extraordinary powers that make him almost indistinguishable from his boss, The Washington Post wrote on May 18.

Yermak's power has reduced the credibility of the president himself, said Ukrainian political scientist Ihor Reiterovych, calling him “a vice president with non-ceremonial powers.”

“This is a question of responsibility. That is, a person who <...> is de facto the prime minister, the foreign minister, the head of the office, the vice president, and many other [government officials], if you look at the documents on the basis of which he carries out his activities, bears no responsibility for anything. Except, perhaps, political, in the sense of rating, image, and so on,” another political scientist, Valerii Klochok, told Radio NV.

Yermak’s position is not clearly defined in Ukrainian legislation, unlike the rights, duties and responsibilities of MPs or ministers, leaving room for potential abuse or the ability to evade accountability.

"But when it comes to advisors and people who work in the office, for example, it is a completely unclear story. And that is the scariest part. Why? Because if the situation turns negative, these people can just disappear at any time, or just step aside, and there will be no questions about them. Because they don't exist. They are ghosts for the current legal framework".

Read also: Zelenskyy’s administrative reshuffle and its risks – expert interview

This is the main negative point that needs to be addressed now.

"I am afraid that sooner or later this will lead to a very critical situation. And this critical situation will clearly not benefit Ukraine."

Earlier, in a surprising twist, Yermak became the only Ukrainian named in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world this year, while Zelenskyy, who previously topped similar rankings, was not included at all.

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