The Prosecutor of Ukraine has authorized the arrest of Viktor Mevedchuk, a pro-Kremlin politician and oligarch.
Viktor Medvedchuk has been in the crosshair of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for half a year now. Since February, Viktor Medvedchuk and many of his close allies have been sanctioned for their close ties to the Kremlin. These ties are well documented – one of the most clear examples is the fact that Vladimir Putin is the godfather to Medvedchuk’s child.
But it doesn’t stop there. On Friday last week, Medvedchuk was charged with terrorism and a second count of high treason. Yesterday, the prosecutor issued an arrest warrent on Medvechuk, unless he is able to post the bail of one billion UAH (which is just short of 40 million dollars), reports Kyiv Post.
According to SBU, the intelligence service of Ukraine, Medvedchuk made an illegal scheme to supply state-owned companies in Ukraine with coal from the occupied areas in Donbas, Eastern Ukraine. Allegedly, more than 7 million USD was sent to the separatists fighting the Ukrainian Army as a result of this deal.
The actions of President Zelenskyy’s office has put a large dent in Medvedchuks power and influence. For one, he is now a defendant in a very serious criminal case that can give him 15 years in prison, but he also lost his TV channels following the February sanctions. This naturally gives him less influence, as he has less control over the information space in Ukraine.
The sanctions worried many commentators and experts, as it is perceived as being unconstitutional to sanction your own citizens, since essentially you are punishing people while circumventing the judicial system. Medvedchuk is more than just an oligarch. He is also a MP from the Opposition Platform.
This means that he is also considered one of the most serious opponents of president Zelenskyy, and one of the only politicians who is regularly standing to make it to a second round against Zelenskyy, if a presidential election would be held now. The other serious threat to president Zelenskyy’s chances of reelection, though he has said he would only sit for one term, is Petro Poroshenko.
It is still unclear, whether or not Petro Poroshenko will be hit hard by the law on de-oligarchisation, but it is very likely, that Poroshenko would be included in the list of oligarchs that has to stay away from politics.