Ukraine’s Servants of the People coming out of the closet as ‘Servants of Russia,’ Portnikov says

Yevhen Shevchenko (L screen), Ukrainian MP from Volodymyr Zelenskyy's party "Servant of the People," and Denis Pushilin (R screen), the collaborationist head of Russia-occupied Donetsk, are speaking on the Russian propagandist 1st Channel. Photo: video capture.

Yevhen Shevchenko (L screen), Ukrainian MP from Volodymyr Zelenskyy's party "Servant of the People," and Denis Pushilin (R screen), the collaborationist head of Russia-occupied Donetsk, are speaking on the Russian propagandist 1st Channel. Photo: video capture. 

Op-ed, Russian Aggression

The scandal arising from Yevhen Shevchenko’s suggestion on Moscow TV that Ukrainian defenders rather than Russian aggressors are responsible for the continuation of the war is the latest surfacing of what may be the views of many in Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s party, Servant of the People, Vitaly Portnikov says.

After all, Shevchenko represents that party in the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian commentator notes; and what he said on Moscow television is not far removed from what other members of it, even closer to the Ukrainian president, have said in recent weeks.

Kyiv media are reporting that the Ukrainian parliament’s Servant of the People faction plans to discuss “’the behavior’” of Shevchenko at its next meeting. “But why?” Portnikov asks. Shevchenko simply repeated what others more highly placed in that party, including Andrii Bohdan, the head of the Presidential Office, Davyd Arakhamiya, head of the Servant of the People faction in the Verkhovna Rada, and President Zelenskyy himself have said.

Shevchenko’s action is “interesting” because “he simply repeated on a big Russian television screen what his bosses and many comrades in arms are saying in the corridors” of power in Kyiv. He has thus shown himself and the others as “collaborationists,” quite prepared to work for those who invaded Ukraine rather than those who have defended it.

For many such people and those who ally themselves with them either out of conviction or short-term calculation, Portnikov continues, “the Russian ‘brothers’ are much closer in spirit than their own compatriots who have been defending their country at the frontline and in the streets of Kyiv and other cities of the country.”

But of course, the Russians “don’t want to be ‘brothers;’ they want again to become masters of unthinking Little Russia slaves.” Putin has shown he doesn’t want an agreement with Ukraine: he wants surrender. And to that end, the Kremlin leader has added one new condition after another for Zelenskyy to have to meet.

“If Zelenskyy or Shevchenko were honest with themselves or even with their own voters,” Portnikov concludes, “they would tell them the truth: the war can be ended” in the way they propose – “stop shooting” – but only if Ukrainians are prepared “to live on their knees and not get up.”

And it is against that prospect that “real Ukrainian citizens are protesting, citizens who never want to be anyone’s ‘servants.’”

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Edited by: A. N.

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