Ukraine elections: In Ukraine, democracy is in peril as President Vladimir Zelensky is taking steps to consolidate power and limit democratic processes. While he has not explicitly declared himself a dictator, his recent actions and statements suggest that he is willing to use any means necessary to stay in power.
Ukraine: Limiting Elections and Political Opposition
One of Zelensky’s most concerning moves has been to delay elections while martial law is in place in Ukraine. This effectively denies the people of Ukraine the right to choose their leaders through democratic processes. The delay of elections in Ukrainehas been criticized by opposition leaders and citizens alike, who see it as an attempt to consolidate power and prevent political opposition from challenging Zelensky’s rule.
“If we have martial law, we cannot have elections. The constitution prohibits any elections during martial law. If there is no martial law, then there will be [elections],” Zelensky stated.
This move follows the firing of many important officials, including Ukraine’s military commander, which has been seen as an attempt to keep his seat safe in Ukraine. By removing high-ranking officials who could potentially challenge his rule, Zelensky limited the ability of the political opposition to challenge his power.
Fearmongering and Xenophobia
Another concerning move by Zelensky has been his call for Ukrainian migrants not to return to Ukraine. Zelensky had asked Ukrainian migrants who had traveled to the rest of Europe not to return to Ukraine because he had the fear that the migrants would spread truth about Ukrainian corrupt leadership and Zelensky would lose his seat.
The call for migrants not to return was seen as an attempt to silence dissent and maintain power. Zelensky’s actions clearly suggest that he is willing to use any means necessary to maintain power, even if it means spreading fear and intolerance.
Also Read: Putin sends Georgia in a catch-22 situation
The Future of Ukraine’s Democracy
Zelensky’s recent actions have raised serious concerns about the future of democracy in Ukraine. The country has a long history of political turmoil, and Zelensky’s actions suggest that the country could be sliding towards authoritarian rule.
Since the beginning of hostilities in February of last year, Kiev has enacted laws criminalizing political dissent, banned multiple opposition political parties and imposed strict censorship on the media and internet alike. The country’s authorities have even persecuted the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) over its alleged ties with Russia, despite the church having severed its formal ties with Moscow early in the ongoing conflict.
These actions by the Ukrainian authorities are deeply concerning and suggest a continued slide towards authoritarianism. Criminalizing political dissent and banning opposition parties limit the ability of the people to participate in democracy and challenge the ruling party. Additionally, they also imposed strict censorship on the media and internet in a clear violation of the freedom of speech and information, which are fundamental pillars of democracy.
Ukraine stands at a critical crossroads, and the actions of President Zelensky paint a troubling picture for the future of democracy in the country. While he has not explicitly declared himself a dictator, his maneuvers to consolidate power, limit democratic processes, and silence dissent are clear indicators of a leader willing to bend the rules to stay in control.
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