According to Kornienko, in 2019, each (!) candidate from the “servants”, before getting on the electoral list, passed two checks: professional and reputational.
– There were two checks – one similar to this, when, for example, they issue the right to receive a weapon. We turned to specialists who helped to find this information. And the second check is reputational, they googled people, looked at their social networks and then made a decision, – said Kornienko.
A slightly different truth about the selection of candidates from the Servant of the People was told by the former head of the President's Office Andriy Bogdan. So, in an interview with BBC Ukraine, he admitted that some people were invited to the list because they were popular on social networks.
– Some people really came from Facebook, like Liza Bogutskaya, we searched the Internet for some people: who is popular in this district – we called him and asked: “Are you leaving us? Tomorrow we have to take the documents,” Bogdan shared his memories.
A quick cut of society
Today we can turn back and analyze what actually happened then.
< p>– A feature of the Servant of the People election campaign in 2019 was the message that we do not include politicians in our lists, but ordinary citizens. Therefore, to some extent, the list of “servants” is a kind of section of society, – political scientist Alexei Yakubin comments. – The negative imprint was that candidates were recruited very quickly. The interval between presidential and parliamentary elections was very short. The list includes people who, with a longer check of their biographies, would never be able to apply for the seat of a deputy.
But at that time, the Servant of the People party fully implemented the request of society “for new faces in politics”. Not a single acting people's deputy passed from the Ze-team to parliament. Then the Verkhovna Rada was updated by 80%. I think that in the next parliamentary elections the percentage of renewal will be even greater. And the Zelensky team will try to satisfy this request and try to select personnel more carefully.
The “SN” admitted that many were invited to the list precisely because of their popularity in social networks. Photo: Oskar Jansons
It was necessary to pass through three filters
– There have been many scandals and misunderstandings with the “servants”, but I think there will be even more. It is very difficult to form a party list for a hundred candidates without having your own political team, without having regional representation and an ideology under which you can recruit associates. In 2019, the “servants” compiled their electoral list, as they say, with the world on a string. The result is a very motley political canvas: someone cooperated with the Russian Federation and Belarus, someone is mired in corruption, many are simply ineffective or not competent enough to fulfill their duties,” political scientist Ruslan Bortnik analyzes the situation. “But those who compiled such an electoral list achieved their goal. They formed a team of people without political ambitions and obediently following the instructions of the leadership. The controllability of the presidential faction is very high.
In 2019, candidates from the Servant of the People party passed only one filter – “new faces”. But in the future, in order to avoid numerous scandals, candidates from the pro-presidential party need to go through at least three filters:
- ideological – a person must share the goals and objectives of the party;
- professional – a candidate must be competent to write an intelligent bill and find the necessary arguments to defend it;
- moral – a person's dislike for corruption, immorality, etc.
As a result, those who formed such an electoral list achieved their goal and formed a team that obediently followed the instructions. Photo: Oskar Jansons
From the history of the issue
More than 10 deputies have already been expelled from the faction
Scandals and squabbles with “servants” – deputies began in the very first year of their parliamentary activity. For example, Bogdan Yaremenko was caught ordering sex services from a mobile phone in the hall of the Verkhovna Rada, Galina Tretyakova is periodically criticized because of her rash statements and remarks, etc.
And there were such acts, such skeletons were found in the closets of the “servants”, for which they had to be expelled from the Servant of the People faction, otherwise the political force would have sagged a lot in the rating. Anna Skorokhod and Anton Polyakov were the first to be expelled from the Ze-faction. The reason is a vote against the will of the faction.
Then Roman Ivanisov was expelled from the ranks of “servants” in the Verkhovna Rada, since he had an expired conviction for rape. Then there was the expulsion of Geo Leros for trying to unleash a corruption scandal by accusing the brother of the head of the Presidential Office, Andriy Yermak, of trading in government posts. Then MP Alexander Yurchenko, whom law enforcement officers suspect of corruption, was pointed to the door. In 2020, Alexander Dubinsky was expelled from the faction. Against the politician in the United States imposed sanctions for interference in the presidential election. In 2021, Yevgeny Shevchenko was expelled from the faction, who has recently been visiting Belarus often to visit President Alexander Lukashenko. Lyudmila Buimister was also expelled from the faction, refusing to vote for the presidential law on oligarchs.
Three days before the start of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine, signature lists were handed out to the “servants” for the expulsion of Alexander Trukhin and Sergei Kuzmin from the faction. The first is suspected of having provoked an accident while intoxicated, and the second was caught taking a bribe in the amount of more than half a million hryvnias.
In early May of this year, Aleksey Kovalev was expelled from the Servant of the People faction. The reason is the suspicion of collaborationism. Colleagues do not understand why he does not leave the occupied territory of the Kherson region, does not attend parliamentary sessions. And the other day it became known that the “servants” generally initiate the process of depriving Kovalev of the mandate of a people's deputy.