Recently, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Ruslan Riaboshapka was sacked by the Ukrainian parliament in a no-confidence vote.

By domestic anti-corruption activists (link) as well as international organizations such as the EU (link), he was praised for his work and seen as a reformist type. Surprisingly, most of Zelensky's MPs (members of the parliament from his party Servant of the People) buddied up with the pro-Moscow party Opposition Platform and voted in favor of the move.

Why did this happen?

  • I was going to edit this to try and salvage it, but I'm not sure I can. At best, it's asking for people's internal motivations ("Why does the Ukrainian government want to undermine reform efforts?"), at worst it's you accusing the Zelensky administration of corruption rather than actually asking a good-faith question. (I don't disagree that corrupt governments should be called out on it, just that Politics.SE is not the place to do it.)
    – F1Krazy
    Mar 9, 2020 at 17:12
  • @F1Krazy I'm asking a political question on a political platform. What else is this website for? Mar 9, 2020 at 17:40
  • @SergeyZolotarev, remember where StackExchange comes from -- software engineering and the like. It wants questions that can have an objective answer.
    – o.m.
    Mar 9, 2020 at 17:49
  • @o.m. It's ridiculous. Only natural sciences can provide "objective answers" (at least, when we talk about whys). Other than that, it's about probability, "speculation", "internal motives" and the like. Also, you guys seem to think that what you call "speculation" and yanking out of one's butt are the same thing. "Speculation" is not necessarily baseless Mar 9, 2020 at 18:28
  • 1
    He's not a Special Prosecutor, who added that tag? Mar 10, 2020 at 13:26

1 Answer 1


The official reason?

Riaboshapka was too slow in bringing results.

The actual reason?

TL;DR: It's a short-term gamble to mollify competing interests that threaten to remove him from office.

Zelenskiy's polling numbers (as well as those of his Prime Minister and Parliamentary Speaker) have dropped lately due to their work on the Steinmeier Formula (basically half-annexing a city in Ukraine to Russia due to a high percentage of Russian allegiance in that town) and the issue with Trump's impeachment. He's being forced to walk a very narrow tightrope (more on that later) between his bold anti-corruption campaign promises and not angering several oligarchs who hold the purse strings, including Donald Trump.

Another one is Ihor Kolomoiskiy, the Ukrainian billionaire who owned the network Zelenskiy's show was on and bankrolled Zelenskiy's presidential run, and Kolomoiskiy has begun to cash in his chips for favors from the president. Specifically, favors regarding PrivatBank.

The Ukrainian government seized and nationalized the bank in 2016 because it had like $6 billion missing from its ledger which threatened to collapse Ukraine's fragile economic market. One of the two owners of that bank? Ihor Kolomoiskiy. Kolomoiskiy claims that the bank's seizure was unlawful and it should be returned to him. Meanwhile, the IMF is threatening to not lend to Ukraine anymore if PrivatBank is returned to Kolomoiskiy because it seems like a return to a corrupt Ukraine.

So back to Zelenskiy's tightrope. He is firing several senior members of his government as a stopgap to look like he's fighting corruption, while also helping to avoid a clash between Kolomoiskiy and anti-corruption staffers so as to avoid losing his funding to continue.

  • What's the link between firing Riaboshapka and "looking like he's fighting corruption"? Also, you didn't clarify why there's a clash between Riboshapka and Kolomoisky Mar 11, 2020 at 16:32

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