After having crossed the Rubicon of implying that the same man who waged the first Donbass War is either a Russian agent or at least that country’s useful idiot, it’s anyone’s guess what happens next, but the past month’s precedent suggests that more drama is likely.
Reuters reported over the weekend that Ukraine’s secret police, the SBU, wrote on social media that former President Poroshenko was prevented from crossing the border into Poland because of his alleged plans to meet with Hungarian Prime Minister Orban. They were quoted as saying that “Russia planned to use this meeting (like other ‘working meetings with … representative of countries voicing pro-Russian narratives) in psychological operations against Ukraine.”
It was assessed just days prior to this incident that “Ukraine’s Latest Paranoia About Russian Sleeper Cells Is Dividing Its Security Services” after National Security Council chief Danilov suspiciously retracted his claim to the Times of London that the SBU is rife with Russian spies. That official was likely emboldened to share his concerns with British media after Zelensky himself publicly speculated that Russian spies inside the country were supposedly conspiring to stage a “Maidan 3” regime change against him.
Even before he made such a contentious claim, political intrigue had already returned to Ukraine after Commander-in-Chief Zaluzhny’s admission that the conflict was at a stalemate worsened his long-running rivalry with Zelensky, which the New York Times drew everyone’s attention to last month. Around that same time, Zelensky’s former advisor Arestovich slammed him after Time Magazine’s damning cover story in late October disclosed a lot of embarrassing details about the Ukrainian leader.
Just last weekend as the Poroshenko incident was transpiring along the de facto blockaded Polish border, Kiev Mayor Klitschko told Der Spiegel that Zelensky was behaving like a dictator, thus further broadening the number of his political rivals in the span of a single month. Putting them all together, it can be said that Arestovich, Zaluzhny, Klitschko, and now Poroshenko have all soured on Zelensky and publicly challenged him each in their own way, which bodes badly for the Ukrainian leader’s political future.
The SBU’s latest statement on social media makes the Zelensky-Poroshenko rivalry the most scandalous by far, however, since the secret police have yet to allege that any of the others are part of a Russian plot in any capacity like they claimed that the former Ukrainian President was. For what it’s worth, his party denied that he had any plans to meet with Orban and warned the SBU from meddling in domestic politics, so it’s unclear which of these two is lying even though one of them obviously is.
In any case, this latest incident deepens the political intrigue in Ukraine, and it also proves that the SBU remain loyal to Zelensky since they made such a spectacle out of supposedly protecting him from the alleged Poroshenko-Orban-Russia plot. After having crossed the Rubicon of implying that the same man who waged the first Donbass War is either a Russian agent or at least that country’s useful idiot, it’s anyone’s guess what happens next, but the past month’s precedent suggests that more drama is likely.
As the military, political, and financial dimensions of the Ukrainian Conflict continue winding down, all preexisting fault lines within that country which had hitherto been frozen due to each stakeholder’s shared pursuit of victory are expected to re-emerge. It’s premature to claim that a power struggle is taking place since the SBU still controls the situation, but one might very well be right around the corner if just one military, intelligence, or security faction decisively turns against Zelensky in the coming future.