1st year of President Zelensky: Poll of regional journalists and experts

The poll of regional journalists and experts "The First Year of President Zelensky" was conducted by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation from May 8 to 15, 2020. A total of 77 journalists, political experts, and public activists from different regions of Ukraine were interviewed.

Online press-conference "The First Year of President Zelensky"  is conducted by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation as a part of  USAID/ENGAGE activity, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Pact in Ukraine. The contents of the event are the sole responsibility of Pact and its partners and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) or the United States Government. 

  • Polled regional experts rated the effectiveness of the President Zelensky as relatively low. Thus, the average score of its activities is only 3.1 out of 10. The opinion of regional journalists and experts widely differs from the results of the public opinion poll.
  • According to the respondents, the President's interaction with the parliament was the most effective - 4.6/10. Interaction with the government was rated slightly lower - 4.2/10. The worst rates were received by the President's personnel policy - only 2.1/10.
  • The main achievement of the President's first year – his contribution to the adoption (albeit in a limited form)  of the Law "On the circulation of agricultural land." The release of Ukrainian prisoners, the formation of a parliamentary majority and the preservation of power are also among the achievements.
  • Failed personnel policy is common both for Zelensky and Poroshenko. This component has traditionally been called one of the biggest problems for the fifth President, but it is also Zelensky's weakest point today. Also, regional experts mention failures in foreign policy, such as being caught up in a scandal with the impeachment of the President in the United States, as well as the withdrawal of troops in Donbas, poor performance as the Commander-in-Chief, lack of anti-corruption progress, corruption scandals in his environment.                                               
  • Almost all respondents approve the President's decision to support the law, which makes the return of Privatbank to its former owners impossible. The vast majority of respondents also support the legalization of amber mining and the abolition of the MPs' immunity. Regional journalists and experts welcome Zelensky's support for the law on the circulation of agricultural land. In addition, respondents positively assessed the appointment of Ruslan Ryaboshapka as the Prosecutor General of Ukraine.
  • At the same time, the appointment of Iryna Venediktova as the Prosecutor General of Ukraine after the dismissal of Ruslan Ryaboshapka received the lowest support among respondents. About 85% of all respondents oppose such a decision. There is a similar level of disapproval regarding the retention of Arsen Avakov as Minister of Internal Affairs.
  • If we talk about decisions that have not yet been made, but which were proposed by the President or members of his team, the interviewed regional experts support only the legalization of the gambling business. Proposals to reduce the number of deputies to 300 almost equally divided sympathizers and opponents of the idea.
  • There is a noticeable consensus that certain presidential decisions are completely impractical. In particular: the establishment of a direct dialogue with the DPR / LPR, including through the Advisory Council within the Tripartite Contact Group in Minsk; involvement of the UOC (MP) in negotiations with the DPR / LPR; restoration of water supply to the Crimea and granting the President the sole right to appoint and dismiss the heads of NABU and SBI.
  • Regional journalists are most positive about quarantine measures implemented by local authorities in their city. However, support for the anti-coronavirus policy provided by the Cabinet of Ministers, regional state administrations, and the President is relatively low. The Ministry of Health received the most negative assessments during the leadership of Ilya Yemets.
  • According to the respondents, the situation in regions has mostly deteriorated in various areas during the first year of Zelensky's presidency. However, according to experts, this deterioration should not be attributed to the activities of the President, but rather to the large-scale global crisis caused by COVID-19 and quarantine measures.
  • Authorities and government agencies and institutions in the respondents' areas of residence were also negatively rated. Most of the negative rates are related to the work of state administrations and the police gained the most disapproval. At the same time, some respondents noted an improvement in the work of the Centers for the provision of administrative services.
  • Predicting the events that may occur by the end of the year, a significant number of respondents believe that mass protests with both social and political demands are possible in their region. Polled experts indicated the possibility of changes within the authorities: the heads of regional state administrations, as well as mayors, can be replaced following the local elections. But respondents are skeptical about the rapid economic development after the lifting of quarantine and do not believe in increasing the stability and manageability of the situation in their regions.
  • Volunteers and community organizations, conscious citizens, doctors, and health workers, as well as local authorities, according to the respondents, made the most significant efforts to curb the coronavirus epidemic at the local level. Experts assessed the activity of the central government as less important.


1.         Koval Iryna

2.         Zolotukhin Mykhailo

3.         Ivan Antypenko

4.         Oksana Shtefano

5.         Dmytro Sinchenko

6.         Sinchenko Olena

7.         Orlova-Fesenko Tetiana

8.         Ihor Todorov

9.         Olesia Benchak

10.       Nykyforenko Andrii

11.       Hanna Kolomiiets

12.       Ivan Shevchuk

13.       Petrova Maryna

14.       Oksana Pohomii

15.       Yaroslav Katolyk

16.       Oleh Chaban

17.       Mykhailo Shtekel

18.       Artem Shelkovyi

19.       Iryna Kyporenko

20.       Balabanova Halyna

21.       Maior Liudmyla

22.       Dmytro Durniev

23.       Yhor Hromov

24.       Vakalo Olha

25.       Olena Kvasha

26.       Lapikova Olesia

27.       Serhii Andrukh

28.       Butko Tamila

29.       Chupryna Hanna

30.       Denys Astafiev

31.       Zheldak Timur

32.       Didenko Yuliia

33.       Andreieva Nataliia

34.       Matsiievskyi Yurii

35.       Yuliia Bidenko

36.       Adamovych Serhii

37.       Shapovalenko Karyna

38.       Marchuk Nataliia

39.       Shelest Hanna

40.       Koval Tamara

41.       Mashlianka Borys

42.       Filatova-Sukhova Alla Mykolaivna

43.       Danylov Ihor

44.       Mykola Ralyk

45.       Olha Shevchuk

46.       Deputat Serhii

47.       Kutsovera Tetiana

48.       Kostariev Artemii

49.       Chebotarov Kyryl

50.       Urlapov Viktor

51.       Kindrat Vitchenko

52.       Oleksandr Kholod

53.       Olha-Stefaniia Kalynovska

54.       Nataliia Vyhovska

55.       Bondarenko Serhii Vasylovych

56.       Raisa Yurhel

57.       Ivanova Ivanna

58.       Orel Svitlana

59.       Rad Taras

60.       Bielyi Dementii

61.       Stanislav Kozlov

62.       Alla Fedoryna

63.       Andrii Hnatiuk

64.       Aniuta Yeremenko

65.       Valerii Bolhan

66.       Vlad Voitsekhovskyi

67.       Vladyslav Romanov

68.       Volodymyr Chos

69.       Diana Kupar

70.       Ovsiankin Dmytro

71.       Yevhen Maslov

72.       Ivan Farion

73-77. - Preferred to remain anonymous