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Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has resigned from his post. Avakov has been in office since 2014, and his resignation is awaiting approval from parliament.

One of the most powerful men in Ukraine is Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, who has been in power since February 2014. Ministers are changed rapidly in Ukraine, but Avakov has managed to survive as Interior Minister under two presidents and four prime ministers and is often seen as one of the most powerful men in Ukrainian politics as a result. His critics accuse him of corruption, while his followers praise him for his fight for Ukraine.

However, Avakovs time as Interior Minister now seems to have come to an end. Yesterday, Avakov filed his letter of resignation, which is still awaiting approval from parliament. As Interior Minister, Avakov has been in charge of Ukrainian law enforcers. 

“To the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. In accordance with Article 18, part 1, of the Law ‘On the Cabinet of Ministers’ I ask that you accept my resignation as interior minister of Ukraine,” says the resignation letter sent to parliament and gives no reason for leaving, but he adds that it was an honor to have served as interior minister. 

A controversial reputation

As previously mentioned, Avakov is a minister who is disliked by many. Several approval ratings have listed Avakov as one of the least trusted ministers in Ukraine. Kyiv Post writes that his critics accuse him of being corrupt, referring to “how his annual declarations revealed the vast riches he acquired despite having spent most of his life in public service.” The paper also writes that Avakov has been accused of being inefficient, referring to his unsuccessful police reform and many unsolved cases such as the 2016 murder of Belarusian journalist Pavel Sheremet. 

The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been trying to remove Avakov since he became President in 2019 but for long without luck. Zelensky believes that Avakov is standing in the way of fundamental reforms, and the question is whether Avakovs removal will mean faster and more widespread reforms in Ukraine. 

The Ukrainian Parliament is expected to vote on the resignation in the coming days. A majority needs to support Avakovs resignation for it to come into force. Some are also wondering why his resignation comes now and whether it is simply because Avakov has higher ambitions and wants to pursue a more prominent role in Parliament. 

Who will be the next minister?

Avakov hasn’t officially left office yet, but people are already speculating about who will take his place. Denys Monastyrsky, a 40-year-old lawyer and a member of Zelensky’s party, is mentioned as one option. 

“I decided to take this step, the hardest one in my life, and seek the post of the interior minister,” Monastyrsky told journalists at a briefing after the lawmakers’ meeting with Zelensky, according to Kyiv Post. 

Other names might be in the mix, but Monastyrsky is said to be Zelensky’s favorite. Oleksiy Danylov, the National Security and Defense Council secretary, has also been mentioned as a potential candidate.