Arkivfoto: Emil Filtenborg.

The controversial law on de-oligarchization has been submitted by the Verkhovna Rada to the president. When he has signed it, the law will be in force.

One of the first duties of the new Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk has been signing the law on de-oligarchization. The Chairman’s signature is the last step in the Ukrainian legislative system before the President signs, approves and passes the law into effect.

The laws aim is to stop the oligarchs from having readily available media resources with which they can manipulate and in some cases control the public. It also includes denying oligarchs access to their state assets. Who exactly is on the list of oligarchs is not yet certain, but Zelenskyy’s main political rival, former President Petro Poroshenko, might be on there.

The law has been both publicly praised and shamed by many different organizations and people in and outside of Ukraine. The harshest critics have been people from Poroshenko’s party who, not surprisingly, feel it is a politicly motivated assault on the freedom of the European Solidarity Party.

The attack

The president wrote a piece for Atlantic Council in May, where he argued for the implementation of the law.

“Since the 1990s, a small handful of Ukrainians have dominated the economic and political life of the country. We all know the names of these people. They feature in annual lists of the richest Ukrainians, which remain virtually unchanged from year to year. The rest of the country has little choice but to adapt to the reality created by this oligarch class, which distributes Ukraine’s political, financial, industrial, and media resources among themselves,” wrote president Volodymyr Zelensky for the Atlantic Council in May.

In September, an assassination attempt on the President’s top aide, Serhiy Shefir, was linked by the president’s press officer, Serihiy Nykyforov, to this exact law.

“As of now, it can be said that the perpetrator of the assassination attempt, as well as the customers and their accomplices, will not escape punishment,” he wrote, “And also that the course of the President’s Office on the de-shadowing and de-oligarchisation of Ukraine will not change, and no insidious actions will affect it.”