Foto: Emil Filtenborg.

The government sanctions against Ukrainian national and oligarch, Medvedchuk, are against the constitution, according to expert.

When Zelensky made sanctions against the pro-Russian oligarch and member of parliament, Viktor Medvedchuk, he might have acted against the constitution, according to Alexei Jakubin, senior lector at Kyiv Polytechnic Institute and expert on Ukrainian politics.

“In my opinion, the sanctions against Medvedchuk are unconstitutional. Because Medvedchuk is a Ukrainian national, there are courts and laws to handle the allegations of treason against him,” said Jakubin.

The sanctions signed by president Volodimir Zelensky targets Medvedchuk, his wife, six other individuals and 19 companies believed to be controlled by Medvedchuk. Concretely they freeze the assets of Medvedchuk and his wife and prevents them from doing business in Ukraine.

He has since been arrested and put under house arrest, charged with treason. The sanctions came before this arrest and are still in place. What worries experts and commentators like Jakubin is, that the sanctions circumvent the rule of law in Ukraine, and if a precedent is established, it would give the president of Ukraine power to target individuals without consulting the law.

War against oligarchs

With a new anti-oligarch law, Zelensky has proposed, he is stating that he is now going to handle the Ukrainian oligarchs. Zelensky writes that the key to stopping the oligarchs is to remove their media resources, deny them access to their state assets and remove their political protection.

It is similar to Ukraine recently did with Medvedchuk, who had his media blocked and state assets confiscated before being arrested and put under house arrest. But it might not be just about the well-being of the country.

“The anti-oligarch law might be an attempt to limit the power of big oligarchs like Kolomoiskij or Akhmetov, but it might also be used against political opponents such as Petro Poroshenko,” says Jakubin.

While both Medvedchuk and Petro Poroshenko are oligarchs, they are also political opponents of Zelensky. Poroshenko is the former president of Ukraine, and Medvedchuk is a member of the Opposition Platform – For Life, who have increasing popularity in eastern and southern Ukraine.

“Opposition Platform have good chances of making it to the second round of elections, if an election would be called now. Their popularity is increasing in eastern and southern Ukraine,” Jakubin says, “and they run on a platform that looks a lot like what Zelensky did in 2019. It is about social reform, anti-corruption and stuff like that. They are pro-Russian, but those are not their main talking points,”