AOnly a few weeks after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022, the top Ukrainian presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, revealed that there have been at least a dozen serious assassination attempts on Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Chechens, Wagner group mercenaries and elements of Russian sabotage attempted to breach Kyiv’s heavily guarded seat of government, Podolyak explained.
But after all, if Zelensky is, effectively, assassinated, what will happen? According to the newspaper Politico, Ukraine has already defined a simple plan to prevent the country from being leaderless for longer than necessary.
In the event of the sudden death of the Ukrainian president, will be the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada [o paramento ucraniano]Ruslan Stefanchuk, taking the reins of the country.
They must join President’s Cabinet Leader Andrii Yermak, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.
Stefanchuk, says Politico, is not very popular with Ukrainians, “but that doesn’t matter”says a researcher at the Atlantic Council think tank, Adrian Karatnycky. “The country is at a point of substantial solidarity and national unity, so if something terrible happens to Zelensky it wouldn’t be so decisive.”these.
Without wanting to say that Zelensky is “irrelevant”, Karatnycky concluded: “I think the unity of the country is the most indispensable thing.”
Yaroslav Azhnyuk, a Ukrainian businessman quoted by Politico, believes a Russian assassination of Zelensky is unlikely but, if it happens, it should not dampen Kyiv’s spirits. “Zelensky is playing his leading role well in these difficult times. However, the feeling among the absolute majority of Ukrainians is that we will never give up, we will never submit to Russia,” he said.
The same newspaper also cites the work of two academics from the National Bureau of Economic Research of the United States (NBER), Benjamin Jones and Benjamin Olken, who studied the effects of 59 assassinations of political leaders between 1875 and 2004. “Assassinations of autocrats produce changes substantial damage to the nation’s institutions, while assassinations of Democrats have not,” they concluded.
Also Read: Russian Attack Hits Zelensky’s Homeland. “Terror shall not frighten us”
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