NewsZelenskyy Shakes Up Inner Circle, Dismisses Six Key Advisors

Zelenskyy Shakes Up Inner Circle, Dismisses Six Key Advisors

Series of resignations of Zelensky's advisers
Series of resignations of Zelensky's advisers
Images source: © TG
4:41 AM EDT, March 31, 2024

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has dismissed six of his advisors, including Serhiy Shefir, a longtime friend and former business collaborator. The dismissals also affected independent advisors engaged in volunteering and safeguarding the rights of Ukrainian defenders.

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The decrees, signed by Zelenskyy, were published on the legal acts system website on Saturday. Serhiy Shefir, notably the first assistant to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, was among those dismissed.

For years, Shefir partnered with Zelenskyy at "Quarter 95" Studio, a Ukrainian comedy group established in 2003 by comedians under Zelenskyy's lead.

The wave of dismissals within Zelensky's team

Since May 2019, Shefir has advised Zelenskyy. A significant incident occurred on September 22, 2021, when, around 4 AM Eastern Time near Lesniki village close to Kyiv, assailants attacked Shefir's car, hitting it with 18 bullets. Although Shefir's driver was injured, Shefir escaped harm. Following the attack, Zelenskyy released a video message, acknowledging his ignorance of the attackers' identity but promising a "decisive response".

Before the conflict escalated, Shefir was reportedly the "link" between the business community and Zelenskyy's office, according to Ukrainian Pravda.

Oleh Ustenko, removed from his role as an economic advisor held since May 2019, is a Harvard graduate. In 2014, he directed the World Economy and International Relations Center at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. His appointment to the National Investment Council of Ukraine came in June 2019.

Serhiy Trofimov briefly served as the first deputy head of Zelenskyy's office in May 2019, only to be reassigned as an independent advisor a month later.

Mykhailo Radutskyi, an external advisor, became chair of the committee for national health, medical care, and health insurance in the Supreme Council of Ukraine IX convocation on August 29, 2019. He also led the group for interparliamentary relations with the Republic of Moldova and the Kingdom of Thailand.

In 2021, Alona Verbytska was designated by Zelenskyy as an advisor responsible for upholding the rights of Ukrainian defenders. She focused on ensuring rights and fundamental freedoms for those defending Ukraine.

Natalia Pushkarova, another advisor dismissed by Zelenskyy, has dedicated herself since 2019 to independent oversight of volunteer activities.

Further dismissals from Zelenskyy's office

On Friday, Zelenskyy discharged deputy heads of his office, Andriy Smyrnov and Oleksiy Dniprov, appointing Iryna Mudra and Olena Kovalska as their successors.

Subsequently, on Tuesday, Zelenskyy removed Oleksiy Danilov from the position of Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, assigning him to a diplomatic role instead.

In a separate decree, Zelenskyy named 51-year-old Oleksandr Lytvynenko, the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service, as Danilov's replacement.

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