Features

Ukraine elects a neophyte as president

Volodymyr Zelensky was previously famous as a comedian who played a character from a TV series, who becomes president by chance. Now he gets to play the role for real.

944-Ukraine-634

Zelensky: facing reality

Volodymyr Zelensky was previously famous as a comedian who played "a character from a TV series, who becomes president by chance"; now he gets to play the role for real, says Katya Gorchinskaya in The Guardian. His victory in Sunday's Ukrainian presidential election, despite having "zero political experience", was born from deep anger at "the rule of old political elites" and years of IMF-backed austerity.

Expectations of the new president run high, with polls suggesting that many Ukrainians expect him to "reduce the cost of utility bills; strip immunity from prosecution from MPs, judges and the president himself ; and start or speed up the investigation of major corruption cases".

Good luck with that, say Daryna Krasnolutska andVolodymyr Verbyany for Bloomberg. When he's formally sworn in next month, Zelensky will "take stewardship of a country at war" the country is still fighting Russian-backed separatists in its Donbass region and "stuck in the middle of a geopolitical feud between the West and Russia". The economy is also reliant on foreign aid, so Zelensky "will probably have to agree to a new aid package, including more potentially controversial economic reforms". And as yet, the newcomer has no representation in parliament.

Of all his problems, relations with Russia are the most immediate, says Justin Lynch in Foreign Policy. President Putin refused to congratulate him, and there are rumours that Russia "may be ready to pounce amid a military and naval build-up". Zelensky is sure to find his sense of humourand substancetested in the very near future.

Recommended

Amazon halts plans to ban UK Visa credit card payments
Personal finance

Amazon halts plans to ban UK Visa credit card payments

Amazon has said that it is to shelve its proposed ban on UK customers making payments with Visa credit cards.
17 Jan 2022
The charts that matter: growth stocks continue their slide
Global Economy

The charts that matter: growth stocks continue their slide

As the US tech stocks and the dollar fell further this week, here’s what happened to the charts that matter most to the global economy.
15 Jan 2022
US inflation is at its highest since 1982. Why aren’t markets panicking?
Inflation

US inflation is at its highest since 1982. Why aren’t markets panicking?

US inflation is at 7% – the last time it was this high interest rates were at 14%. But instead of panicking, markets just shrugged. John Stepek explai…
13 Jan 2022
Bitcoin’s new year is off to a bad start – what does the rest of 2022 hold?
Bitcoin & crypto

Bitcoin’s new year is off to a bad start – what does the rest of 2022 hold?

Bitcoin has had its worst-ever start to a year. But it remains the “future of money”, says Dominic Frisby. Here, he looks at what might come next for …
12 Jan 2022

Most Popular

Five unexpected events that could shock the markets in 2022
Stockmarkets

Five unexpected events that could shock the markets in 2022

Forget Covid-19 – it’s the unexpected twists that will rattle markets in 2022, says Matthew Lynn. Here are five possibilities
31 Dec 2021
US inflation is at its highest since 1982. Why aren’t markets panicking?
Inflation

US inflation is at its highest since 1982. Why aren’t markets panicking?

US inflation is at 7% – the last time it was this high interest rates were at 14%. But instead of panicking, markets just shrugged. John Stepek explai…
13 Jan 2022
Tech stocks teeter as US Treasury bond yields rise
Tech stocks

Tech stocks teeter as US Treasury bond yields rise

The realisation that central banks are about to tighten their monetary policies caused a sell-off in the tech-heavy Nasdaq stock index and the biggest…
14 Jan 2022