I was always close to the political processes in this country
– Andriy, good afternoon.
– I'm glad to see you. I wanted to meet you for a long time.
– I know it. You even in some interview ... You were asked who you want to interview. You also named me.
– So, we are already switching to the formalities?
– No formalities.
– Everything is like in life.
– As in life.
– I was just on my way to your interview, saw the bus named Bogdan and thought: "Maybe this is Bogdan's bus?" Are these not your buses by chance?
– No, I have nothing to do with this. Although very often I was teased by the existence of this company and these buses.
– You were born in Lviv.
– Are you a Bandera supporter at heart?
– Well, let’s say, I’m not an extreme nationalist, but definitely pro–Ukrainian. And definitely for the Euro–Atlantic direction of development of our country.
– I made notes for myself: you are a lawyer like your father, graduated from the law faculty of Lviv University named after Ivan Franko, and then – from the Faculty of Economics, having received the qualification of an economist: a specialist in finance. Good, fundamental education.
– Please tell me: under the leadership of how many presidents have you worked in the public sector?
– In the public sector? You know, I worked in different ways, in different relationships. I began my work at the Lviv railway.
– Back in the days of Kirpa?
– Yes. My immediate leader was Kirpa. And when he moved to Kyiv, he became the Minister of Transport, after a while I moved to Kyiv. But I already started to practice private law at some time, and then went to work in court. To the Kyiv Economic Court of Appeal. It was under President Kuchma. Then – Maidan, Yushchenko ...Photo by Anrii Bogdan / Facebook
– ... "Kuchma get away!"
– "Kuchma get away!", yes. Then I worked a lot with the Administration ... then there was the Presidential Secretariat. One of my current partners, Igor Pukshin, was the deputy head of the Presidential Secretariat. Accordingly, I spent a lot of time there as a lawyer, representing the interests of many clients. And from that time my presence in the political life of the country began. Then I am from “People’s Ukraine" ... "Our ..." ... "People's self–defense" ...
– "Our Ukraine is Self–Defense ... People's Self–Defense" or somehow, yes ...
– ... Yes, I went to the elections to the Supreme Soviet, then I was appointed Deputy Minister of Justice to Minister of Justice Onischuk, whose deputy I was in the election campaign, at the election headquarters. He was the director, the head of the legal department, and I was his deputy. We worked together, and I went to him as a deputy in the Ministry of Justice. Then there was a transitional period: I went to work in the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to Prime Minister Azarov. I was a Deputy Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers at Tolstoukhov's, then I was an adviser to the Prime Minister, government commissioner for anti-corruption policy.
Under Poroshenko, I resigned from public service and worked as an adviser to the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, Igor Kolomoisky. At first, I advised and helped to understand the bureaucratic processes, and then I helped and participated in all kinds of volunteer work with the front. And when Governor Kolomoisky was fired, I just had to help the front, go there, do volunteering. And in parallel, like all this time, I worked as a lawyer, a lawyer for many individuals, for many politicians. Therefore, we can say that this is all the time, wherever I stayed – in the public service, in private law practice – I was always close to the political processes in this country.
Poroshenko was diligently dismissing me, persecuting me, demanding something, pressing charges
– You went through a serious political school, in contrast to – I wanted to say very many – the overwhelming majority of those who are in power today. Tell me, please, when you worked for Azarov, did Yanukovych or Azarov interview you?
– The interview with Azarov, of course, took place. With Yanukovych ... I saw him live once, and then he demanded to fire me.
– Yes. Somehow life turned out so that I did not get along with the Ukrainian presidents ... (Laughs).
I already met Leonid Danilovich Kuchma at that time. When he was president, I did not know him. But Yushchenko also had little contact with him. I do not know his attitude to me at the time when we worked. But Yanukovych at one time demanded to fire me. I was somehow fired, transferred to an advisor, hid somewhere, then again appointed somewhere. Then Poroshenko was diligently dismissing me, persecuting me, demanding something, pressing charges. It was a long story. He was dismissing me from the list ... When I worked in the Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration, I was included in the list of "European Solidarity" ... Ah! Then it was "BPP": "Petro Poroshenko's Bloc". And I ran for the people's deputy seat on the party’s list.
– 64th, as I remember, huh?
– 73, I think. Since I didn't get through right away, but I was in the back of ten people who ... as soon as the deputies entered the Cabinet of Ministers or went to some positions, this ‘tail’ went up, and I had to go to the deputies. But by this time, the conflict with the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region had already flared up. And in order to delete me from this list, so that I could not enter [the People's Deputy to the Verkhovna Rada], any appointments from parliament were blocked for six months. And then they passed a specific law – Bogdan's Law No. 3700, to erase me from this “tail”. The work in parliament ... well, it's not some great achievement: being a people's deputy. AND...
– And thank God that this law was adopted.
– And thank God that I did not pass. Thank God that it all happened. These are the relationships with different presidents.
Mykola Yanovych stopped a lot of nonsense. And a lot of... if not for Mykola Yanovych, the Maidan would probably have started even earlie
– How do you assess President Yanukovych?
– President Yanukovych? In general... How do I assess the presidents of Ukraine? This is a whole problem for the country. Before my eyes, Yanukovych ... for the first two years, this team really – whether someone likes it or not – but they actively went to the European Union, they worked harmoniously. There was no such ... huge corruption. Well, as it always exists, but the systemic [corruption] was not arranged. And then – this is my personal opinion ...
– They gave everything to the children.
– Yanukovych was ruined by his sons. In general, this power. They all had sons. And these sons in their own way ... They are all businessmen, right? And public service, presidential power and business are incompatible. They are incompatible only because you are the head with which all fish begins to stink. And if you admit the wrong rules of the game for a second, they look at you as at the very top. As soon as you gave a signal that it is possible, that "I allow myself," everyone will immediately do the same. You can't handle this already.
– The eldest son of Yanukovych, son of Pshonka, son of Lavrinovich ... Who else?
– Everyone. They all had sons who were somehow related to some kind of business.
– How long ago have you seen Nikolai Yanovich Azarov for the last time?
– Long time ago. Well, way back then. He left for Moscow – and I have not seen him since.Mykola Azarov was Prime Minister of Ukraine from March 2010 to January 2014. After change of power in 2014 he left Ukraine and currently lives in Russia. In Ukraine, several criminal cases against him are in process concerning embezzlement of state funds. Photo by Maxim Shipenkov / ЕРА
– But he was one of the best premieres, right?
– I think so. I don't want to, there ... it's not the point to talk about the Maidan yet, right? History will probably judge it. But I want to tell you that Mykola Yanovych stopped a lot of nonsense. And a lot of... if not for Mykola Yanovych, the Maidan would probably have started even earlier.
– And I am sure that he is an honest man, he did not allow stealing. Although it was difficult for him, as always: the president gave instructions to the prime minister, and it was very difficult to argue with him. But he is a very experienced bureaucrat, he knew how to say "no" correctly.
– If you don't go into personalities, which government was the most professional: Azarov, Yatsenyuk, Groisman, Honcharuk or Shmygal?
– I consider the Groisman government to be the most professional.
– Yes. Regardless of whether you like it or not. Well, let's say Yatsenyuk is a very smart person, I have a great respect for him, but he came at a difficult time, right after the Maidan "and after the revolution, during the war. And it was very difficult to cope with what was happening in the country. But the most optimistic time in the country, the most successful economically, the most understandable for international partners was the time of Groisman, where 30–something months of stable economic growth, low inflation, understandable relations with international partners, with other states, with society were observed. And I think, if not for Petro Oleksiiovych, the results would have been even better.
– Does this mean that Volodymyr Groisman, still a young man, may be in demand in the future?
– I am sure that he will have some kind of political or managerial career in government structures.
Zelensky can turn his charisma on even with people who are unpleasant to him. This is a very strong side of him
– Andriy, it was a kind of warm–up before proceeding to the main block of questions. When and under what circumstances did you meet Volodymyr Zelensky? And what impression did he make on you?
– I met him a long time ago, in the office of one businessman. What impression did he make?
– A well–known businessman?
– I don’t know if this person wants to link now ... And I am his lawyer as well. Whether he would like to link his name now, I did not ask.
– But this is Igor Valerievich?
– Well, in short, a big businessman ... (laughs). We talked, he knew that I was a lawyer. We crossed several times. What impression did he make? Well, kind, open, honest.
– Did you like him?
– Yes, Yes. Well, he's very charismatic. He just attracts people. I myself watched how such, you know, bison of world politics simply thawed out when they talked to him. You know, it makes you feel like it's ... well, your son. Someone to whom you cannot be hostile. This is a very strong side of him.
– And it is natural.
– It's natural. But at the same time, you have to understand that he is a super professional actor. Super professional. He can turn his charisma on even with people who are unpleasant to him. This is a very strong side of Volodymyr Zelensky. And I want to tell you that he knows how to use this side.Zelensky just attracts people. I myself watched how such, you know, bisons of world politics simply thawed out when they talked to him. You know, it makes you feel like it's ... well, your son. Photo by Anrii Bogdan / Facebook
– When did Volodymyr Zelensky have the idea to run for president? And is it true that it was you who convinced Volodymyr to become president?
– As far as I understand, different things ... I don't know what a person has in his head. But from the conversations that we had ... They have been discussing this in their close circle of “The 95th quarter” long time ago.
– Literally, that he should run for the presidency?
– Or politics?
– For the president. We had a conversation ... I don't remember what year it was: 2016 or 2017. Borya Filatov became the mayor of Dnepropetrovsk, and the district was freed. I dialed Volodymyr and ... Well, I don't know. I dialed Volodymyr Olexandrovych and went ... He was in Odesa, I said: "We have to talk." He says: "Come over." I arrived to Odesa, we were sitting in a restaurant ...
– There were three of you.
– There were three of us, yes.
– I know this from the third participant.
– (Laughs) I know ... And we discussed ... I say: "Look, if you would run for the presidency, there must be some kind of political platform. There must be some minimum foundation from which you can go there – for the presidency. " And I have that phrase... I think it influenced him a lot. I once already, I think, said it publicly: that "after the series" Servant of the People "you gave people some kind of hope, and if you don't even try, they will be disappointed: well, this will be yet another fraud for them. If you don’t succeed and you don’t win, then no one will reproach you, but if you do not even try, then yes. Well, personally, I will be disappointed."
– Did his eyes burn at that moment?
– He thought for a long time. I would tell you that the decision to go to the presidential elections was made internally by him, I think, on December 31. The question of whether or not to put New Year's greetings was discussed on December 31.
I have a friend, he flew for the New Year holidays. He called me and saying: "You won't believe me, I was going to the toilet on the plane and half of the people are watching Zelensky's interview with Gordon."
– But our interview with Volodymyr Zelensky, which you personally organized – I want to thank you publicly for this ...
– And you, Dima, thank you.
– ... it was recorded around, probably, December 12th. And it seemed to me that he already understood everything.
– He understood everything. But he did not say that "yes, I am running."
– But we actually discussed the presidential program.
– Well, we discussed the presidential program. We were preparing, we had some kind of headquarters. Right or wrong, it existed. We were preparing. But the firm "yes, that's it, I'm going, I definitely decided" – it's December 31st.
– Tell me, who came up with the series "Servant of the People"?
– I do not know. From everything that I saw and heard, Volodymyr Zelensky was its scriptwriter, producer, engine and manager.
– But do you understand that without the Servant of the People series shown on the 1 + 1 channel and on the Internet, there would probably not have been such a crazy rating and request for Volodymyr Zelensky?
– No, I absolutely disagree. Of course, the Servant of the People series had an impact. Of course, he gave some kind of feeling to people: what if this can be done and repeated in life. But the main thing was that there was a very technological, beautiful election campaign, which was not based on the "Servant of the people". It was built on Volodymyr Zelensky: on him and his real personality. We came up with a lot of the right things there, and you helped us a lot, and your interview, which came out ... Two weeks after the shooting, I think, it was cut into ads. And it went on the air, as far as I remember, either on December 22, or 25.
– Somewhere like that, yes.
– And the moment of release was that ... Well, I have a friend, he flew for the New Year holidays. And he landed there and called me, saying: "You won't believe me, I was going to the toilet on the plane and half of the people are watching Zelensky's interview with Gordon." That is, a New Year's explosion like this. And since there were 14 days of holidays, I think more than half of the Ukrainian population watched this interview for sure. And then, the election campaign: it was not Goloborodko, it was Zelensky. It was a conscious decision: not to repeat, not to take the image of Goloborodko, but to go as Zelensky. This is what he is: Zelensky.December 25, 2018, Kyiv, “Visiting Gordon” show. An interview of Volodymyr Zelensky by Dmytro Gordon after which it became obvious that Zelensky started a presidential campaign. Photo by Rostislav Gordon / Gordonua.com
– Is it true that the wife of Volodymyr Zelensky Elena – to whom, as they say, he listens the most – was the last who find out about his decision to run for president?
– No, I think it's not true. As far as I heard, Lena was against it. I respect Lena very much, she is a smart person. She was against it, but ...
– Strongly against?
– I do not know, these are their internal conversations, I was not present. As far as I heard, she was against it, but when Volodymyr Olexandrovych said “no, I’m running,” she put her opinion aside and helped him in every possible way, supported him. Well, she – you know how it is? – “did not harm quietly” ...
– ... and that's it, "here you have made a decision – okay, I'm with you." And her support was constantly with him.
– Volodymyr's mom and dad also objected?
– I do not know. I think yes. It seems to me that they did. I really like his parents. Despite these recent scandals (I think that there is nothing good in this), and Vova's father is very ...
– …honest man.
– Very cool man. He is so cool! And mom ... I would not want to, probably, I did not advise him to take it all out, to wash it publicly. But I believe that his father deserves some human recognition. He's such a guy!
I also threw away my personal money - and a rather large sum - and put it for the common needs of Zelensky campaign
– There is a stable point of view that the election of Volodymyr Zelensky was financed by Igor Kolomoisky. However, after the first round ...
– Yes? ..
– Not even, when the second has already ended, we spoke with Igor Valerievich. And I decided to brag to him, I said: the elections of Igor Petrovich Smeshko, when he got 6%, were the cheapest – they cost 1 million 800 thousand hryvnias. In response to which he said: "You spent little, but we earned." Is it true or not? Or has he invested in Zelenskiy's campaign?
– Honestly, Dima, the whole country knows: this wasn’t Smeshko’s election, it was Gordon's election.
– Well (shakes his head negatively) ...
– We have the opposite (laughing) ... Well, people think so.
– It was the Smeshko election.
– No. I believe it was Gordon's election. And you shouldn't hide: you have to go, you have to tell people honestly that Gordon is Gordon. And Gordon is a politician, not a PR man. It's my opinion. And in terms of cost ... Probably, many will not believe me, but these elections were made by the people. We ... Well, I also threw away my personal money – and a rather large sum – and put it for the common needs.
– Many friends of mine, many people ... You will not believe, but we just announced a political account, registered with the CEC, and money came there from people whom we did not know.
– How much did you put in personally, do you remember?
– A lot, I don't even want such amounts ...
–… but these are tens, hundreds of thousands? Or millions?
– This is a lot of money.
– That is, Igor Valerievich was cunning, saying that "we made money at concerts"?
– Probably it was a joke. Of course, they didn't make money at concerts. But it was one of the cheapest election campaigns in the world.
– But it was a sincere impulse. So, you pulled out the money and never regretted it, didn’t you?
– Never. I have not regretted and will not regret it. You understand, there were even such nuances when there was not enough for the second round ... It was necessary to create a commission of, let’s say, 14 people. And all the candidates created it in the first round. In the second round, in three weeks you need to appoint exactly a half: seven people. And Petro Oleksiiovych is a very creative and correct guy.
– Prepared. He did not send his candidates. That is, in the thousands of these precinct polling commissions... in each village it is necessary to find 14 people who will become members of the commissions. Well, we just asked people, this is without money, without anything: "Go, well, because we are risking to disrupt the elections, and there will be no official result at all." And you know, there was such a popular impulse ...
– That, this we are doing it not for money. That we are doing not for money.
– Of course, this is not a story about money at all, yes.
– Thousands of people helped us. People came to us, gave billboards for free. The Internet itself typed, people on Facebook, on TVs – this was all discussed ...
– Were you afraid of Poroshenko in general?
– We were afraid of provocations, yes.
– Were you afraid of the murder of Volodymyr? There were signals, I know.
– I don't think ... There were signals, but I know Petro Oleksiiovych well. You know, he put out such a feeler to scare. But since we were all inexperienced there, they really ... The rumor that a criminal case was opened – "ah!"
– I've been in this for 20 years, I say: "Yes, calm down. They can press any charges they want." Any statement to law enforcers – they have to register it. Any at all.
– Were you afraid of debates at the stadium?
– I was afraid.
– Yes, I was.
– Other ... You see, I was afraid, because ...
– Volodya could have said something wrong?
– Yeah. You know, the debate is won by the one ... and in general these political ones ... The one who does one’s homework better, who prepares better. Here he was sitting for seven days, and he was preparing. He didn't do anything. He was preparing: talking, searching for the sense, looking for phrases. And the result is obvious.
I said to Zelensky: “You have the first rating in the country. If they are offered to pay large sums, let’s say $500 million, and you are withdrawing, I think they will agree
– You know, I was struck by his strange calmness. Three weeks before the elections, "Kvartal" held concerts in Kyiv at the "Ukraine" palace. And there was a number when Zhenya Koshevoy goes on stage with me ...
– Yes – Yes – Yes.
– We parody each other there and so on.
– Yes – Yes.
– He had a rehearsal with me. For three evenings I went on stage with Koshevoy. He held the microphone before going out, gave it, met me. And I could see that he is completely serene. I asked him: "Tell me, you have presidential elections in three weeks, are you not worried?" He says, "I don't want to think about it." Was he really not worried at all?
– I think he didn’t fully believe that this ...
– Didn't believe?
– Well, before the second round, about three days before the vote ... How? Conventionally, it was on the 18th, 17th. He told me: "Andryukha, you know, but it seems to me that it can work." I say: "Volodya, it is already inevitable: you have already won. This is already in fact."
I do not want to tell a story, but I must, on the one hand, very well characterize the president, well, at least during that period of his life. We gathered in a narrow circle: six, seven, eight people – depended on the day. And I say: “Look: you have the first rating in the country before the first round. Two people pass into the second round… if number two and number tree are offered to pay large sums, let’s say $500 million, and you are withdrawing, I think they will agree."
– And he refused. Well, it was a joke. It was definitely a joke.
– But I think they could have paid.
–They could. But between the first and the second rounds – there are 21 days, three weeks. And if one of two candidates is removed already in the third week, then the second one automatically becomes the winner, the president.
– And prices are much higher there.
– Yes. Again, a joke. It was just a joke. But he reacted to it seriously. I said: "Look: there are seven days left. Tomorrow you are withdrawing from the elections (I was joking). I think that your opponent would have been ready to rewrite some business for two or three billion dollars." Well, that's all: no elections are needed, he automatically wins ...
– Live and enjoy.
– Live and enjoy. "No. What are you talking about?"
– I want to quote the ex–Prosecutor General Ruslan Ryaboshapka. He said that if it had not been for Bogdan, Zelensky would not have been president. What exactly did you do that allowed Volodymyr Zelensky to become the head of state? Let's list.
– I do not know. You know my way of looking at things. For the last 20 years I have been taking part in all election campaigns in different guises. Absolutely different ones: in the central headquarters, and as a lawyer, and in the CEC, and as a lawyer on the side, and as a member of supervisory commissions in some regional center, in a village ...
Here are local, presidential, parliamentary, everything that happened I was registered as a member, twice on the lists of people's deputies and to the Kyiv City Council. That is, I survived it, went through it, I’m an expert in it. And when we started talking seriously about this in the spring of 2019, their knowledge in this area was ... well, not even zero, but negative. They made films about it, but they absolutely did not know how it happens in life. They tried to hire some people, there were many ones, but the essence of those people was to make money or tell some fairy tales. Sometimes I couldn't stand it. I am such an emotional person ...
– No way!
– Yes. When people are sitting and talking nonsense, I get up and say: "Guys, this is nonsense." What did I do? I put this energy, talent and creativity into the law, order and deadlines.
I have a post on Facebook in 2017: I talked with the Pope, he told me that Zelensky would be president
– Tell me, please, when did you first realize that Volodymyr Zelensky could become president? Do you remember this moment?
– Look, I was sure: I have a post on Facebook in 2017 ...
– In 2017?
– I was in the Vatican, just walking, and the Pope came out there, waved his hand out of the window. The people gathered, I took a photo: as in I talked with the Pope, he told me that Zelensky would be president. You can see it in my account. But it was more of a joke. I studied sociology, political science, I saw a request ... I showed this request to Volodymyr Olexandrovich, showed it to my friends, my team. There was the request for a new face, people were tired of the old politicians. This narrative was just growing. And even Vakarchuk ...
– And you felt it.
– Not that I felt it, it was in numbers. You need to correctly formulate the questions and you will get the right answers. You will think, you will understand what people think, what is in their heads. And such no–systemic people, but with one hundred percent recognition, who could be pulled ...
–… there were two.
– Well, four.
– Let's list: Zelensky, Vakarchuk ...
– (Laughs) Why is it necessary?
– Well, who else are two?
– Well, people, I don’t know, want or don’t want ... These are my feelings. I'm with no one ...
–Zelensky, Vakarchuk – two. Or don't you want to list further?
– No. By the way, Slava is a good guy, but not a politician at all. At all. It was immediately obvious. Since March 2018, we have been taking sociology and throwing it away in one way or another. Well, just it was officially published. And Volodymyr Oleksandrovich Zelensky was in sixth or seventh place. With some 4%.
And the leaders began to actively fight among themselves that they did not pay attention to him at all. And then in August 2018 we started to launch promotional short teasers "Servant of the People – 3" (there were 15 of them, I think), where an official was buried there, the forest was cut down, this ...
– They were so bright, so correct ...
– The strike at the heart.
– Yes. His rating began to rise sharply. Sharply, sharply, sharply. And then we started playing intrigue: is he going or not? Well, Slava Vakarchuk overplayed this intrigue. In the end, everyone wanted him not to go.
– It was no longer funny.
– Yes. We must keep the intrigue. It cannot be kept for nine months.
– And if the indecisive Vakarchuk were decisive and said "I'm running" – could he be in the first place instead of Zelensky?
– I do not know.
– But you can’t say “no”?
– No. I cannot say. There is just a displacement of the core too. Volodymyr Olexandrovych, after all, is the core of the East. And there was no ...
– And central.
– Yes, the center and the East. And another one is the West. West, huh? And then he had to conduct a different rhetoric. He could be done. He has one hundred percent recognition, he is pro–Ukrainian. But what he said, firstly, no one understood what he wanted to say. And secondly, it was very strongly intersected by Poroshenko's electoral field.
– And he was indistinct.
– This is the first thing I said. Nobody understood what he was saying. He spoke such clever phrases ...
– Which he himself didn’t understand, I think.
– Which he himself did not understand. He could not finish, went deep into thought and then lost it on the way.
All the crossflows of all other candidates went in such fat streams to Zelensky. That is, if he entered the second round - no matter with whom, no matter - he won 100%
– In the summer and fall of 2018, I traveled around the country with creative evenings.
– Full halls ...
– You won't believe, we even – well, it's not big money on YouTube, right? – were advertising your concerts...
– (Laughs) I didn't know ...
–… For people to see it. I got calls: "Did you see? Gordon was there and there – the audience voted for Zelensky.
– But this is a unique story. Suddenly I got the idea to conduct a vote as if it were elections today.
– Everyone thought we bought you then. And you and I did not agree at all about it.
– By the way, it's not too late ...
– An amazing story, when halls from Odessa to Kharkov, Krivoy Rog and Dnipro, naturally, voted for Volodymyr Zelensky. And hundreds of thousands of people have watched it on YouTube. An amazing story, I understood everything then. But when I said this to Volodymyr Olexandrovych on November 22, as I remember now, he asked one question: "Is it really possible?"
– No, I'm telling you ... I haven't finished my previous answer. I guessed, understood what was theoretically possible. When did I know that we won? We ordered sociology, it came out, we published it on January 21st or 22nd, I don't remember the exact dates. There he was already in first place by a significant margin. And in addition to the published one, there is a part that is not published. It's called crossflows: second choice.
– "But if in the second round, who will you vote for?" And there were all the crossflows of all other candidates went in such fat streams to Zelensky. That is, if he entered the second round – no matter with whom, no matter – he won 100%. Poroshenko was the most comfortable opponent. He was the most uncomfortable because he had power, he had money, so he had something to lose. But purely sociologically ...
– Everyone so got fed up of him ...
– On the other hand, you know, I have explained this a thousand times – no one probably fully understood and heard me. And it worked. Yanukovych and the first Maidan. The massive falsifications were established by the decision of the Supreme Court. This was about 3%.
– Yes, it's about 3%. So, I told them a million times: in the presidential elections, you need to increase your rating, and not spend some hundreds of millions of dollars on commissions and observers. Do you understand? Because everything that can be done is as much as possible ... That is 3% . And it will be known to everyone, it will be everywhere, well, in a democratic society in Ukraine. Therefore, we tried to spend and create where the rating is growing. And this technology worked. There was a total victory. There was nothing to be done against it.
All the countries of the democratic camp demanded to keep me away. Even a whole delegation from the United States of America came and said: "Well, you can't take Kolomoisky's man"
– Volodymyr Zelenskyy won the presidential elections. The polling stations were closed – and that's it: it is clear that he is the president. What were your feelings?
– I ... I was scared. I tell you: when I became the head of the Presidential Administration ...
– Wait, wait, head of administration, wait. Tell me, this is the minute when all the polling stations were closed and it is clear: he is the president. Did you have euphoria? Fatigue? What?..
– Both euphoria and fatigue. AND...
–… and fear.
– And fear. Well, I just worked under three previous presidents, I know what it is.
– Is it true that Trump called Zelensky right after the election?
– Yes, at night. Well, it's the same there ... by democratic standards, when Poroshenko admitted defeat ... here he admits it publicly – that means the winner can be congratulated. And yes, he congratulated at night.
– Did you attend the conversation with Trump?
– No, no.
– What was Trump talking about?
– I was not present. In this country, it's better to always say that you don't know what the phone conversations with Trump were about (laughs).
– Who offered you to take the post of head of the Presidential Administration?
– Oh, it's such a long story ... Well, it's clear who it was. Volodymyr Olexandrovych offered it, but then, when the first congratulations came, all the countries of the democratic camp demanded to keep me away. Even a whole delegation from the United States of America came and said: "Well, you can't take Kolomoisky's man ..."
– Yes, you were passing as Kolomoisky's man.
– I was passing as Kolomoisky's man.
– Nevertheless, he appointed you.
– Nevertheless, he appointed me.
– Tell me why you, a wealthy, gambling, no–systemic person, maybe – although I think very systemic, – agreed to take this bureaucratic, gloomy position?
– Well, first of all, I had an agreement with Volodymyr Olexandrovych.
– Initial one?
– Initial one, yes, that I have no right to leave until he lets me go. I have fulfilled my part of the agreement. Why did I personally need it?
– Well, you know, this is probably not the second, but not the third position in the country. And for a person who has an official term of civil service ... Besides the fact that I have 11 years and six months of civil service, and there is also a service ... Well, I worked in state enterprises, as a political lawyer ... Of course, it was some point, which ... some sign in the work book, some kind of tick that you can deserve.
– Do you remember your conversation with Volodymyr Zelensky at the time of your appointment? What did he tell you?
– Oh, there were a lot of such conversations, back and forth.
– And the first conversation when ...
– He has heard enough of ambassadors ...
– And he said: "I have to think for a day."
– All the same.
– Yes. Therefore, my appointment, if you look there, it was in a day.
– Did you have a fun day when he was thinking?
– I went home.
– To Lviv?
– No, to Kyiv. I have a house in Kyiv.
– But was it gloomy in your soul?
– Well yes. Yes.
“I came up with this phrase "Spring will come - we will “plant” (put to prison)”
– Tell me: when you won, do you remember the conversation? Here you two sat down – what did you say to each other?
– We ... he had to go out to the public press, well, say something. And we were looking for phrases to say. And I told him: "Look: this is not the history of Ukraine – this is the history of the world."
– "You must say the words that everyone will hear." And then we found these words, and he said them.
– That we will become an example – yes? – For Russia...
–Not this way. "Guys from the countries of the former Soviet Union, we did it."
– The hearts of many dictators skipped a beat. Very many. On the other hand, he also took on all responsibility ... you know, such a global responsibility. If it all falls apart and ends badly, then all these regimes will say: "Do you see, how do you like this??"
– "You wanted ... want this?" And this leaves another such imprint of panic in connection with what is happening now.April 22, 2019, Zelensky campaign stuff. Preliminary results of the second tour had just been announced. Zelensky received majority of votes (73.23%). On the photo: Andrii Bogdan, Olena andVolodymyr Zelensky, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, Dmytro Razumkov. Photo by Kirill Timoshenko / Facebook
– Who came up with this cool phrase "Spring will come – we will “plant” (put to prison)?
– Probably, many do not remember this, but I came up with this phrase.
– Is that your phrase?
– This is my phrase. And there was another phrase invented by Volodymyr Olexandrovych. His was: "Spring will come – and we’ll see who was stealing where." And this is a paraphrase of another famous phrase ...
And I ... Again, he was also afraid to put this on the billboards. He said: "Well, it's like we are threatening." I said: "No, we are not threatening here, we say that spring will come and we will plant ... a garden" (laughs). But, by the way, this turned out to be the most powerful slogan.
– Zelensky Volodymyr Olexandrovych said that he initially saw you as the Prosecutor General.
– He probably does not remember historical events. He offered me to be Prosecutor General in December 2019. At this time, these internal [affairs] had already reached their climax, and he seemed to give a hint that he would not mind if I switched to a different post and stayed in the team. But...
– And you didn't want to become the Attorney General?
– No, I didn't want to become the Attorney General. I didn't want to become an official at all.
– If, let's say, you became the Attorney General, who would you put to prison in the country?
– And this is very difficult. They did not understand: it is very difficult to put the president to prison in this country. Some big political leader ... This must be a tough evidence base, there must be some specific corruption crime. Who would I jail? Well, I would jail everyone who deserves it.
– Would you jail Poroshenko??
– It is very difficult. I...
– No, that was originally a desire ...
– Yes Yes.
– Well, this is some kind of personal vendetta. He initiated criminal cases against me, they planted various objects on me there.
– Is he a criminal: Poroshenko?
– No, a person can be called a criminal only after a court verdict.
– Says the lawyer.
– Yes, a lawyer with 20 years of experience. But do we have motivated suspicions that should be investigated? Yes, definitely we have.
What is happening now with Poroshenko cases investigation is inflating the rating for Petro Oleksiiovych
– In November 2019, the Telegram channel "Pipe(Truba) broke through" posted the wiretap of the former head of the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) Roman Truba. You also appear on the wiretaps. Truba reports to you on the phone about cases involving the fifth president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko. I quote Truba: "Andrei Iosifovich, I promise you that I will do everything. So that you understand: I have, f...ck, 25 investigators. I cannot turn the whole country with them, but this is a priority for us." Why did you press Truba like that? And did you want to put Poroshenko in prison then? Was this your intention?
– I couldn't want to jail Poroshenko. In general, this Telegram channel is kind of fantastic, because I have never been in the premises of the SBI. Only once, when I introduced the new officer–in–charge Iryna Venediktova. Look, priority has been given to all law enforcement agencies: there are no any stops, there are no sly glances up ...
– Work according to the law.
– Work honestly, start up. That’s all. Well, they all came and said: "We would do it, but the political will ..." Everyone, let's go ahead! We sanction everything. We will not stop you even if you work on us. I told the law enforcement officers, the same NABU, to everyone: "If you put a wiretap on me ... Do what you want. If I steal, arrest me."
– That's what you said?
– Yes, I said that. No entourage – nothing. Moreover, I summoned everyone – ministers, deputies – and said the same phrase: "Look, we have no roof, we will not give you anything, we will not give you any roof. Moreover, if you get caught, then we will press in every possible way to jail you. "
– Did you just say so?
– That's what I said directly. "And with this trouble now go and work. And think: do you need it or not?"
– And there is only one way ... You understand, how corruption lives in the country in general?
– Well, of course, the scheme is clear.
– Very understandable.
– From bottom to top.
– Yes. But I appoint you and give you protection from law enforcement, and you are sharing illegal loot with me. And if you remove this, this roof, then you go and earn at your own peril and risk ... And what is the point? It doesn't make any sense. Right?
August 2019, Kyiv, Verkhovna Rada session hall, the former Presidents of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, Viktor Yushchenko, Leonid Kuchma, Leonid Kravchuk attend an oath of office ceremony of newly elected People’s deputies. Photo by ЕРА
– I get the general impression ... They are bringing proceedings against Poroshenko, right? There are a lot of things to do, some things aren’t generally worth anything. And I have a feeling that no one wants to jail Poroshenko. There are specific things about "Leninska Kuznitsa", "Ukroboronprom", many of them, right? But nobody goes there. They go to nonsense.
– I absolutely agree with you. There are several points here. All these economic crimes are very difficult to investigate. There are offshores everywhere, there is international legal assistance, these are long terms ... You write to Cyprus – they tell you: "Go by the forest!" (Go away!)
– And by the field.
– "And go by the field", yes. That is, it takes time. But as a lawyer I think there is a perspective. But what is happening now is inflating the rating for Petro Oleksiiovych.
– Becauses of stupidity or deliberately, that's the question.
– I do not know, but I heard that some officials of the President's Office often visit "Sanakhant", where they quite accidentally have dinner with Petro Oleksiiovych. But these coincidences happen very, very often.
– Are you talking about the highest employees of the President's Office?
– I will not call the names in our interview, but everyone understands everything. Why can't I give names? Because I like it when someone runs in wind–up, indignant: "What did he say?" – and everyone will tell him ...
–… no last name.
– "So he didn't call your name. Why are you nervous?" (Laughs)
– And does it often happen in "Sanakhant"?
– It often happens in Sanahant. Some Telegram channels that I believe have said that it happened at least four times. Well, it also seems to me that this is pass–outs.
– Maybe they were just chosing clothes?
– No, no, this is definitely pass–outs, because such a stupidity that happens is impossible to do out of stupidity.
Poroshenko is very smart and very experienced. A bureaucrat with an enormous experience, a businessman.But he's absolutely evil
– Would you, as a lawyer with 20 years of experience, put Poroshenko in prison?
– Dima, well, I can't. This needs to be investigated. That's the stupidest thing – right? – on the Sheremet case: if you watch the press conference, you will not see only one senior official. Me. Because until you investigate the case, you will never know the evidence base.
– Lawyer, yes. I just know and understand it very well. I've ruined cases.
– Whether the president have to go to the press conference?
– He shouldn't have gone to this press conference. I said: it was not necessary. This is stupid PR will not lead to anything good in any case. Even if they are convicted, even if the court finds by the verdict that they are guilty, they will still be able to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, that the presence of the President predetermined in advance ...
– Provides pressure.
– ... predetermined the verdict. And this is an axiom in politics. But inexperience, multiplied by this stupid desire for constant PR, gives mistakes. They become more, more and more. And these mistakes are likely to lead to some kind of tragedy. Would I jail Poroshenko? I have personal feelings for him.
– Describe, please ...
– If I would do it, it would be just perfectly polished, proven case. Every word would have a piece of paper, each event would be highlighted from many angles. It would be perfect case. If I could do it.
– Would you take it up?
– Yes. But maybe that would ... well, I couldn't do that. But then I would not do these stupid things.
– Please describe Poroshenko.
– I met him during the first Maidan at Yushchenko's headquarters. Then we met several times in the Cabinet of Azarov, Yanukovych, where he was a minister ...
– …of Economy and Foreign Affairs.
– Yes. More than a year he held this position. Then, under the Verkhovna Rada. On August 29, we spoke a few words there. I have a total rejection of him.
– But he is clever?
– He is very smart and very experienced. He's very smart: really, very smart.
– Prepared. Very experienced. A politician with such experience! A bureaucrat with an enormous experience, a businessman. I don't even know who is more prepared than him.
– But is he a cynical man?
– But he's absolutely evil. In my opinion, this is a person who discredits the country's movement towards Europe in general. I told my acquaintances, friends from the same Lviv ... I say: "Well, if with Poroshenko, then I don't want to go to Europe." I don’t care for such Europe.
– And look how a certain number of people, no matter what they heard about Poroshenko, they love him, like a sect, and follow him.
– Yes, he just burns out. He makes it so that he has no competitors: he buys someone, intimidates someone, discredits someone through TV channels and the Internet. But just when a strong one appears there ... a strong leader appears in the right– centrism: Groisman, Klitschko, someone else, then his rating will simply crumble. Well just he has such a rating because there is no competition. Well, there is no second person who ...
– Five years of Ukraine under Poroshenko – is it the country's success or collapse?
– Well, somewhere is success, somewhere is collapse.
Are there many fools among Servant of the People parliamentary corps? A lot of. Even a large herd of fools can be managed
– Parliamentary elections, Volodymyr Zelensky is president. Tell me, please, how did you feel when the parliamentary elections won with such an incredible for Ukraine result, which no one even dreamed of in a dream?
– This is a very interesting story, because we were sitting in a close company before ... literally one day before the elections. And the forecasts were completely different. I was the most optimistic, I said 180. It was 100, 120, 150, I was the most optimistic – 180. And when I woke up in the morning and I saw the scoreboard ... I call it "the only time in my life, I’ve got ecstasy of a non–sexual nature."
– Even so.
– That's right, yes. You do not understand. This ... I don't know such stories in the world. When such a number, such a mono–majority, such a percentage is obtained in an absolutely democratic way. Where there were no influences, infusions ...
– …of money…
–… money, administrative resources – there was nothing like that. And the result is simply stunning.
– Did you like the deputy composition of Servant of the People?
– Well, I have a lot of criticisms. Honestly: to do, to collect such a number of people in two months ...
– And check everyone.
– And check everyone. It's impossible. This is an assessment of society.
– Yes, I agree.
– This is the face of society.
– Well, are there many fools?
– A lot of.
– Critically a lot or just a lot?
– No, there's different. Look, even a large herd of fools can be managed. This one is harder, This one is easier, this is generally simple ... But ...
– But it’s possible.
– But it’s possible. You need a goal. Here we are all going there. Well, carrot and stick. Those who go well get the carrot. Those who go bad get the stick. Well, that's how I managed this situation. I summoned the deputies: I came to them in parliament, swore, asked, defended, attacked but it was going somewhere. And it was clear to where. But now the problem is ... What is the goal? To live another day? Is that the goal for today? Where are we going?
August 29, 2019, Kyiv, the first meeting of the 9th convocation of Verkhovna Rada. Elected Members of Parliament of whom majority represented Servant of the People faction took an oath. The ex-Presidents and incumbent President Volodymyr Zelensky attended the official ceremony. Photo by ЕРА
– Tell me, please: did you come up with the turbo mode for passing laws?
– Well, this was a collective word.
– But I was told that you personally did it.
– The word was not chosen by me, but the coordinate system was built by me, yes. You know, during the period when the elections were already held, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came here and he said a very cool phrase to Volodymyr Zelensky, which he didn’t hear, but I heard. He said: "Now do quickly – quickly, quickly! – the right things." I understood it. It's like raiding: when you run, they are chasing you, but as soon as you stop, they'll eat you up, tear you apart.
– Here the speed gave ... And you understand, and everyone yelled, everyone criticized, and we looked at the ratings and sociologically we grew.
– The people liked it, of course.
– Yes. Because even the things that are debatable from the point of view of popularity: the land reform, other things, tax laws ... People criticized, but you know, this "clown" rhetoric did not exist at all. Even the opposition didn’t say that word. That was ... it was even funny: the person who said this. Because it was clear that we were working. Yes, we probably made mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. But no one could say that they were meaningless.
– But they hadn’t pushed the turbo mode till the end, right? Not finished?
– I do not know. With me, everything with turbo mode was normal. What happened next with them, I ...
When in charge of the Office of the President, I actually slept for three hours a day. When adrenaline hits you, it's hard to sleep
– As the head of the President's Office, you went to the front. What for?
– As the head of the President's Office, I did not go to the front.
– Before that?
– I have three years of volunteering there.
– Three years.
– Could you be killed during these trips?
– Yes, we had "Grad" rocket launchers there, mines, bullets overhead. Well, there were bullets that ... you run, and these brick houses, and you see the fountains exploding. Such a feeling for whole life. Listen, adrenaline ...
– Was it scary?
– Sure. When all this happens, you don't understand it, you don't feel it. You're on automatic. And when you have already reached a safe zone, then the adrenaline rises ... And you have such a feeling of fear that you ... And you have already gone through it, you already understand that you are safe, but the feeling of fear ...
Look, I have an answer to the question: Russian and Ukrainian languages. I say: listen, I was at the front when the command "Grad" sounds, absolutely do not care what language it is in. These stories, I can probably tell them for days. But I ... Nobody raised the linguistic question, that the commander speaks Russian, and the observers answer him in Ukrainian. And no one asks to switch to Ukrainian or switch to Russian. They understand perfectly. There are no questions at all.
"I have an answer to the question: Russian and Ukrainian languages. I say: listen, I was at the front when the command "Grad" sounds, absolutely do not care what language it is in". Photo by Anrii Bogdan / Facebook
Listen, there are a lot of people in the nationalist battalions who speak Russian all the time. In the Armed Forces of Ukraine, according to the charter, yes, Ukrainian. But in the trenches, they speak in both. What's the difference? I'll tell you even more. Probably, there are such stories when the father and the youngest son are fighting for the "DPR", and the eldest son – for Ukraine. And so, they do not talk to each other, they talk through their mother. And with a high degree of probability they shoot at each other during the day, and in the evening, they somehow communicate through mom, send greetings. There are thousands of such stories.
Businessmen came to here from Italy, my partners. I told these my life stories, and they really cried.
– Running the office, how many hours a day did you sleep?
– I repeated this many times: I actually slept for three hours a day.
– On a flow?
– Not even because there was no time to sleep, but really ... You know, when adrenaline hits you, it's hard to sleep.
– Well, it was scary, because this period of formation ... There any mistake could cost the reputation, and not only mine, but everyone’s. I was under the biggest magnifying glass due to the strength of a democratic society.
Now there is a big problem in the country: now Zelensky has one point of view, he does not have the opposite one. One point of view, which is formed by his environment
– Once the head of the Administration of President Leonid Kuchma – the first head – was Dmitry Tabachnik. The person is very smart, very prepared, active, sophisticated, and so on.
– When I worked for Azarov, he was a minister ...
– Yes. Well, he's smart. I'm not talking about his political views now, but he is a smart girl with a capital letter.
– Yes, very much.
– And then there was such a joke: "Who is Leonid Kuchma? This is the president in the administration of Dmitry Tabachnik." Leonid Danilovich by the time he became president, he was still the director of the world's largest missile defense plant, he was a member of the CPSU Central Committee, a Lenin Prize laureate. That is, he was the most prepared person. Volodymyr Zelensky, of course, did not have such a background, he was not prepared. Can we say that Volodymyr Zelenskyy worked as president in the Office of Andrei Bogdan?
– No, it was Volodymyr Zelensky who made all decisions in my Office.
– Even so?
– Yes. But even sometimes through swearing, but I gave him different positions. He made the decisions. I had an agreement, I always strictly observed it: "Volodymyr Olexandrovych, please listen to my opinion, but the decision will be yours. And I will always execute it, categorically." But my point of view or the point of view of professionals in this or that issue should be listened to. He never ... Now there is a big problem in the country: now he has one point of view, he does not have the opposite one.
– The only his points of view?
– One point of view, which is formed by his environment.
– Who really ruled the country during your leadership of the President's Office? President or you?
– Well, what do you mean? It was he, of course, the president!
– Who is more difficult to be? President or Head of Office?
– Head of the Office.
– More difficult?
– This is a filter: you are a liver, you filter questions ...
– Yes. All the difficult questions, difficult problems – those problems in which there is no good solution – are left to yourself. You make decisions. When we had the last conversation, Volodymyr Olexandrovych told me: "Listen, everyone is complaining about you. Well, everyone comes to me: all the deputies, some ministers, some people, businessmen – they come to me and complain about you. ". I say: "That's right. I'm a bad cop. That's why I exist, so that you can be kind." As if there are three good policemen, and there is not a single bad one, then it does not work. Well, they don't complain.
Why did the rating of the Cabinet of Ministers of Honcharuk plummet? They started walking, writing and giving interviews about their salary. In a poor country, talking about a salary of 50, 100 thousand hryvnia
– Can you explain this Ukrainian phenomenon? How can it be that the president gets a lower salary than the head of his Office?
– It's populistic. Listen, this is generally a whole bunch of questions. Why did the rating of the Cabinet of Ministers of Honcharuk plummet after the New Year?
– Because they started walking, writing and giving interviews about their salary. In a poor country, talking about a salary of 50, 100 thousand hryvnia ...
– Not allowed?
– Not allowed. But if you make decisions about billions, you are tempted to steal. Well, at the very least, you should earn enough for living.
– So, all presidents are for the sake of some popularity – right? – did not raise or index their salaries. And what to live for? My salary was higher only because I had a lot of civil service experience. I am a candidate of legal sciences. And titles, and experience – that's all together gave the result. But I didn't take a dime. The salary was collected – I never took it, and in the end, when I quit, I donated everything to charity. So, I didn't even take it in my hands, I wrote a statement: "Transfer it there and there." That’s all.
– I studied your declaration. 10 land plots, 16 apartments, two Teslas, 1 million 400 dollars and 12 million hryvnia in cash.
– At the same time, all my interlocutors, when I asked, "Does Bogdan lead corruption there?" – they said: "You won't believe, he doesn't take it at all."
– I didn't take it at all. No, they often went to complain about me, because I did not allow it. I swore, threatened, sometimes put people in their place, but corruption did not exist either in the Office, or in the Cabinet, or in the Verkhovna Rada.
– You didn't take it because you are rich? Or is it because you're also smart?
– You see, it's always ... it's the same war, as in the elections. Are you for money or for an idea? And if you tell everyone that you’re for the idea, but at the same time took something for a second ...
– Everyone! Totally everyone! This is their problem now. Nobody believes. Because you talked about an idea – you have to stick to this idea. And look: in a bad way, in a good way, but everyone will believe in you. It's like a stone thrown into a quiet lake. Threw a stone – and circles went. And instantly. I told this ... In the courts they even stopped taking, because I was telling ... You see, I called them and said: "You understand, I am a lawyer. You all know me for 15–20 years. If you succumb to the temptation, then I will know exactly in two or three days, because I know the entire professional community."
– A man said to me: "I came to Bogdan, offered them with the president a serious conversation. He said:" No, we have different rules, we don't work like that anymore. "And this man told me:" Well, two crazy people. " Please tell me: were there great temptations?
– They were big. I actually have a good one ...
– Well, tell me, what was the biggest temptation?
– I didn’t even get to the discussion of amounts, I didn’t get it at all.
– And there were people who came and said: "Andryusha, look: so many ..."
– I've seen so much of this in my life, heard ...
– I can imagine.
– Do you understand? That I ... I know how not to bring it to the point ...
– To the specifics.
– to the ... not that ... For me, as a lawyer, these are different stages of a criminal offense. There is such a stage: an attempt. When you've done everything to commit a crime, but for reasons beyond your control, it was not done. There, one official signed some agreements without having the right to do so. It was about the creation of a negotiating group between Ukraine and the "LPR" and "DPR". Without being in the status of a diplomat, without having any directives.
– Big official?
– Big official. Signed. Not having the right to do so. And the crime is not committed to the end. This negotiating group was not created.
– But an attempt..
– Because the society reacted, the deputies reacted. But attempt to commit: there are signatures. This is the stage of the criminal process. So, in these conversations I did not bring it even to this stage.
Who has the biggest influence on the president?Member of Parliament Mykola Tyshchenko
– I'll ask you a question now. Say: here are many coming ...
– In my office, Dima, there was a big sticker.
– It was hung everywhere, at the entrance and on all walls: "Audio recording by NABU".
– Even there is a picture. Famous photo with a famous official Geo Leros.
– I'll ask you an interesting question now. Many go to the highest power to this day in order to get rich. Many people pay money to get a position. Having come to the highest power, have you become impoverished?
– Yes. Not essential, but yes, I spent money.
– You spent.
– I spent, yes.
– Besides you, in the President's inner circle, did anyone understand how the state functions?
– I don’t want to be like ... ex, but friends. But no.
– No one?
– Not that they didn't understand, but their life was different: they were engaged in a different business. They didn't get along with it. Well, nobody understood.
– That is, as a result, we got: the new president and the president's closest environment, where, except for one person – the head of his office – no one understands how the state functions?
– Well, not like that... Look ... No. Well, all the same, no one from Volodymyr Olexandrovych's inner circle understood, no one had ever been ... Just take officials and see what length of government service is before appointment. It will be very clear: who and from where. But still there were people who suggested something ...
– That is, in general, it was a global experiment. I don’t want to say now whether this is good or bad. I speak as a fact: people came to power who did not understand how the state works in general.
Yes, it was ... Look: it was a request from society.
– I understand that, I do not characterize it.
– That’s not that we had cheated on somebody.
– I'm just saying it's a medical fact.
– I can't imagine, for example, that people come in the cockpit of an airplane – right? – ...
– Volodymyr Olexandrovych asked me: "What are we going to do?" I say: "So the problem ..." Who is a president? He is the guarantor. This is not a professional bureaucrat, he was not raised in the school of presidents. Do you understand? He is a moral guarantor. He is a person who says: this is fair, and this is not fair. And everyone else should be professional managers. Professional managers, experienced, knowledgeable, educated, well–connected, with an understanding of specific business processes.
– Who has the biggest influence on the president?
– I believe that MP Myikola Tyshchenko has the greatest influence on the president.
– This is a joke?
– Yes. What? No. Look: back in December 2019, it was very actively discussed in the Office – and Volodymyr Olexandrovych, in principle, agreed with this – to change David Arakhamia, head of the "Servant of the People" faction, whom I brought to our team ... change to Mykola Tyshchenko.
– Are you joking now, tell me honestly?
–I am not joking. So, December, January and February this were the narrative. Why we didn't finish this shift, I don't know. I supported him in every possible way.
– Does Mykola Tyshchenko have the greatest influence on the president?
– This is the person who ... Well, you have to ask the president: who has the greatest influence on him. But from my point of view, Mykola Tyshchenko is the person who is not just a moral authority, but also, you know, a visionary. He enjoys the confidence of society ... Well, how to read "Mykola Tyshchenko". And he enjoys the confidence of the management of the President's Office and the President himself.
– Are you kidding me now? Honestly. I just don't know how to relate to this.
– I express my idea. My thoughts. Look: he's a pretty smart guy. Well, as for the Office of the President.
– Enough? Clear. Good. I think over what you’ve said. It's not easy for me, see? You puzzled me.
– Look, you see: he constantly appears on the air. There are no officials from the President's Office. I always went on air there and made my deputies to do the same. But if you do not know how to communicate, if you have nothing to say, then you do not know how to work. Now nobody goes on air. And I think they should do it. And that's all.
They're ... they're just ... I don't know. They are afraid. They probably do not fully understand ... Therefore, they send the smartest among them. Take a look: Mykola Tyshchenko is on all broadcasts. Well, I think it's kind of ... well, it's an indicator.
Bakanov? Ivan Gennadievich is not in his place. This is the security of the country. They do whatever you want, but they don't do security
– I have heard that Volodymyr Olexandrovych listens most of all to his wife. Is this true?
– No, no. Lena has a very big influence, but this influence – it does not spread ... she does not deliberately spread it. Well, I think so, I could be wrong. Probably, somewhere I'm wrong.
– But she’s a very smart person.
– But when I was there, she never got involved in solving government issues. Never.
– Well, that emphasizes her mind.
– That emphasizes her mind. This is very important to me, because I have seen thousands of wonderful careers that flew off when they started ...
– Because of the wives?
– Yes, when they started to manage. She doesn't do it. But here is the house, personal and family life – she does not allow anyone there.
– But she's smart, tactful. And she was one of the authors of "Quarter". That is, she has a high sense of humor, and everything else.
– I have very good impressions of Lena, although I know that she is also very much involved in the intrigue around me.
– How did she treat you, by the way?
– I don’t know. I didn't feel that she was treating me badly. And I never treated her badly and don’t do now.
– Why doesn't Zhenya Koshevoy love you?
– I do not understand. Honestly. It was a surprise for me. I saw this interview. I even looked at this performance of “The 95th quarter” later. I don’t know. I had no conflict situations with him. Well, we were joking. Maybe I'm just ... my jokes are sharper than his ones. He is jealous.
– I want to ask you to describe several of the president's closest associates. Sergey Shefir.
– Ok. Shefir, he is Volodya's mentor. This is probably the most trusted person. Well, at least it was. He is very good. Well, I don't want to ... I can't say anything bad about him.
– But he's a wise man, isn't he?
– Well, you know, there is wisdom, and there is an understanding of the algorithm. Here he is wisdom. There is intelligence and there is wisdom. Here he is wise. But he is not a bureaucrat, he is not from there.
– Ivan Bakanov.
– Oh, well ... you ask me such questions that I have to ... I don't want to talk badly about people, but Ivan Gennadievich is not in his place. Very out of his place. This is the security of the country. They do whatever you want, but they don't do security. Volodymyr Olexandrovych generally needs to start to turn his head on very much, because everything can end badly.
– In November journalist Stanislav Rechinsky reported that Bakanov and Bogdan had a fight in the Office of the President of Ukraine due to the appointment of the head of the SBU Investigation Department, as a result of which the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine had a tooth knocked out. Sonia Koshkina, editor–in–chief of Lb.ua, also published information about the fight. The President's Office reported that Bogdan and Bakanov did not fight. Was there a fight or not?
– No, we laughed at that.
– Can you show your mouth, are all the teeth in place? Or did you manage to implant it?
– All teeth are in place. I even put an avatar on Facebook (the picture where Bogdan appears to be lacking some teeth). Everyone laughed at this. No, there wasn't any ...
– there wasn’t a fight?
– Well no. How can you think so?!
– At all?
– Well, there was no murder, so there was no fight (laughs).
Swindlers of the media market came to the Office of the President. And Volodymyr Olexandrovych is of bronze now. They did not just lick him alive to a bronze color, but made him some kind of Brezhnev
– Kirill Timoshenko. Describe him, please.
– Well, how to characterize? This is the person I brought to the team. Very talented. He is a media market expert. Well, without him, we would not have coped with all election campaigns. Look, when Kirill was in charge of the information policy of the Office, the president was lively, cheerful, our guy. And now Kirill was pushed aside, and there came such ... swindlers of the media market.
– For example?
– Why do you need it? Everyone knows, you are journalists. Look: Volodymyr Olexandrovych is of bronze now. That's generally bronze. They did not just lick him live to a bronze color, but made him some kind of Brezhnev. How is it possible? Good guy, our guy, five stars, a guy from the people, and then – boom! – he throws a ball into the hoop, and all those officials line up and gaggle like penguins.
– One has some questions.
– Look, I don’t understand at all. No, maybe it was not prepared. But this cannot be broadcast. And you ...
– And a karate belt.
– Yes. I've been for six months ... I understand what they make of him, what they mold from him. Kind of strong president? So, he came as our guy. What for? ... they are lying. People feel it. He won the trust by being honest, decent, our guy, simple.
– He’s such as we are.
– Such as we are. He speaks in human language. Why are you making Brezhnev out of him? Well, he is not like Brezhnev, he will not be Brezhnev. He will never understand this coordinate system, because, well, he ... he is causing non–perception now. Well, I think so. Maybe there ...
– Tell me, please, why is Volodymyr Olexandrovych never alone in his office?
– No, I can't say.
– Why does he accept people and there are always other people with him?
– It is not right. I tried to fight this, but in general at the moment it is impossible to get to the president without coordinating with the head of the President's Office.
– Well, that's okay, I guess. Or not?
– No, it's not okay. There should always be a second and third opinion. Always. The president must communicate one–on–one with key government officials. He must receive intelligence, economic, political information, he must analyze it. He should invite those who are needed in the conversation. And today some characters allow themselves to drift, that is, ask: "What do you want to talk to the president about? Don't say that, and this you can try."
– It wasn't like that when you were there?
– Never, no. I deliberately did so that the president would not feel himself like in a warm bathtub, so that he understood where the state had problems, what options were there for their solutions, and he chose where we were going.
– Good. You said it was wrong: that he is not left alone in the Office. Why is this happening?
– I don’t know. I, returning to Ivan Bakanov ... I spoke to Volodymyr Olexandrovych 20 times. Not because I like him or not. But the head of the KGB, SBU does not fly abroad. Doesn't fly at all. Doesn't go to rest. Because if they steal him, toss up some drugs, do him ...
– A bad favor.
– ... a bad favor, if something happens, he will become dependent on the professional special services of other countries. He carries information. I understand that Ivan Gennadievich is probably not a very valuable carrier, but in any case, it is a danger. He can probably leave the country in the most extreme cases. Look: there are rules everywhere. These rules are unshakable. These are the rules of diplomacy, these are the rules of the special services, these are the rules of the economy. They don't know these rules: they just ... they are not written anywhere.
– And there is no one to explain it?
– And there is no one to explain. And they do not think, do not believe that they are doing something bad. They don't want to create problems, but just a lack of understanding of the processes creates these problems ... You see, they are now proud that they are sitting till late at work. This is their "Well, we sat there until 10 yesterday, and the day before yesterday we were at work until 11." But there is no strategy, they ... nobody understands where they are going. What's the action plan? Nobody ... I'm telling you for sure: there is no action plan. They don't do anything for tomorrow – they solve current problems.
Poroshenko said "I want to meet with you, to communicate," and I told him: "Petro Oleksiiovych, you have not communicated with me for the last five years. And I want to keep this good tradition in future
– As the head of the Office, with whom of the former presidents did you meet?
– Well, I haven't seen Yanukovych (laughs).
– Kravchuk, right?
– Have you met the last one?
– Well, once, when the deputies took the oath in the Rada on August 29 of last year, then even ... here ... we said couple words to each other.
– Abusive words?
– For the first time, No, he told me that "I want to meet with you, to communicate," and I told him: "Petro Alekseevich, I have not communicated with you ... you have not communicated with me for the last five years. And I want to keep this good tradition for another five years."
– Have you met regularly with oligarchs?
– I am a lawyer. I am Kolomoisky's lawyer, I know all the oligarchs, even before my appointment I met with all politicians and I was a lawyer for many politicians. Very many. And the former presidents as well. So, Yes, with everyone for a long time ...
– In our interview with Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which you organized, he said that when he wins the presidential elections, he will gather all the oligarchs and agree with them on uniform rules of the game. Did he do it?
– All together – no. You see, honestly, we tried very hard. I talked to each of them: "Look, we do not earn. You know that we do not earn. Well, you feel. Everyone knows that. If you earn, then everyone knows this, everyone talks about it. We want doing honestly, according to the rules. We will help where we can help, so that you can earn honestly. But please, in response to our honesty, be honest too. Honestly pay taxes, do not engage in any political blackmail, do not approach deputies of "Servant of the People" ...
– You said like that: "Do not approach the deputies of the" Servant of the People"?
– We have rumors that someone gave something to someone somewhere. I called everyone and said: "Don't! You know me as a lawyer, you know that I can be a little bit ..."
– Yes, I can be tough. "Don’t!"
– Did the oligarchs try to put pressure on you?
– They did.
– Who exactly?
– This is ...
– Just one?
– Let's leave it unanswered.
– Did they try to bribe you?
– They tried to bribe me.
– Did they offer a lot?
– I have such a good phrase ... Well, it's a joke. This is not because there was such a proposition. I told the guys: "If you want to make money, you tell me. I, in general, can concentrate 100 million dollars from my offices." Well, in a day, in two, in a week ...
– Even so?
– Well, here I sit, take it, I know where, no one will notice. Well, everyone will know but tell me the rules have changed. "No, we are not." Well, that's it, then – no.
– Which of the oligarchs made an offer you, I do not ask. I ask: did they offer much? For loyalty.
– But I'm telling you: I had no conversation with the amounts.
– For money.
– In order not to provoke people on a crime attempt, I came and said: "Hey, we do not take money, this is our rule. We do not get into any shares or any business schemes. We work for the state, honestly. So, don't start this conversation ... "
– Did they believe you, tell me? Well, here's a man who called you and the president crazy. He said, "Two madmen."
– They didn’t believe it, but ... Listen, they didn’t believe it for a while, and then they were convinced that we didn’t lie.
– Did you often have to negotiate with the oligarchs?
– Except finance, I mean.
– No, not often. And what could we agree on? We had a mono majority. We voted into law whatever we wanted. Whether they like it or not... They were swearing. Well, yes, they tried to explain, they tried to prove their position. We agreed in some positions, somewhere I heard and understood them. But it was not me who made the decisions. Look: the decisions were made by the relevant minister and by the profile head of the committee. They said: "This is right for the country." I am not an expert in energy, I am not an expert in any kind of finance. I don't know these subtleties. My task...
What is a head of the Presidential Administration or a head of the Office? This is a bureaucrat who synchronizes the work of different government agencies. Here's the sync. I have to ensure that the Rada votes. I have to ensure that it is posted on time. I must calculate what the consequences will be, I must protect everyone against these consequences. I have to force the same Cabinet of Ministers to make sure that they made implementation of the adopted law. This law should be reflected in hundreds of normative legal acts: in the decrees of the Cabinet of Ministers, and in the instructions of various ministries, central executive bodies. This is a very difficult job. You can accept an infinitely good law, but if no one obeys it, then no one obeys it.
Kolomoisky was very angry and offended at me. I didn't let him influence Zelensky
– Which of the oligarchs influences Volodymyr Zelensky more than others?
– Well, Dima ... Nobody influences.
– Nobody at all?
– I don’t know. Then nobody influenced. Look, in my presence I was making the president strong. They were afraid to think that they would somehow influence him.
– Igor Valerievich Kolomoisky – please describe him with a few phrases.
– Damn charming.
– You know, he is in some sense – in a good way of understanding this word – a wonderful person. He does not hide his desire to earn something, he is sincere in this. He is very energetic and very charismatic. If you understand him as he is, perceive him, then , in principle, you can learn a lot from him and take a lot of information. I was his lawyer for a long time. I don't know how he treats me today, we have not communicated for a long time, but I considered him as my friend. But I did not allow ... He was very angry and offended at me because of this. I didn't let him influence Zelensky.
– Is Zelensky afraid of Kolomoisky?
– I do not know.
– I have heard ... Well, we know that Igor Valerievich loves to record conversations. And, in general, everyone loves to record Igor's Valerievich conversations.
– I have heard that there are a number of conversations between Igor Valerievich and the president – from the time of 2015, when there was still an unsecured connection – that could cause some kind of reputational damage to the president.
– I've never heard of that. Never. I have never heard this from either Kolomoisky or Zelensky. There have never been any hints about the real existence of these records.
– Kolomoisky's influence on you as the head of the President's Office and on President Zelensky was strong that time?
– But he tried to influence?
– Well, he always expressed his thoughts. Something resented him, something he didn't like. He did not like some ministers, something else. But look ...
– But he did so much for Zelensky to become president ... Well, let's tell the truth. Right? He even showed the film "Servant of the People" on his channel.
– No no no. Unlike many, Kolomoisky believed in Zelensky already at the end of January. Before that, it was hilarious, fun, "come on." And as far as I perceive, Zelensky was not a bet for him ... This is not a gamble. For him it was necessary that Poroshenko did not remain president.
– Well, he was betting on Yulia Tymoshenko. Right?
– He was betting on Yulia Tymoshenko. Yes. He did it both publicly and not publicly. His participation in the election campaign is greatly exaggerated. But yes, like other big business, he also helped as much as he could.
– Does Volodymyr Olexandrovych often meet Kolomoisky now?
– I can't tell you, I don't know what is happening with Volodymyr Olexandrovych now.
– You were Kolomoisky's personal lawyer. How do you, as a lawyer, assess the FBI investigation against Kolomoisky and what are the chances of Kolomoisky not to fall under the heavy hand of the American Themis?
– Here I have a direct prohibition by law to talk about these topics at all.
– But is there a danger?
– I ... Firstly, you have to understand that I don't understand what the FBI is investigating. Secondly, as his personal lawyer ... I am immersed in a very large body of knowledge. And directly to me the law – an attorney privilege – I am generally even forbidden to say who my client is, without the consent of this client.
– The last question about Igor Valerievich ...
– It is very good that there is such a legal obligation. This is not a right, this is my duty.
– The last question about Igor Valerievich. He asked you to defend him as a lawyer against the American Themis?
– I can't, I have to be an American lawyer. No, he didn't ask.
Rinat Akhmetov? Is a man of his word, a patriot of Ukraine. Victor Pinchuk? A businessman
– Rinat Akhmetov. I also ask you to describe him in a few words.
– You know, I like him very much. I'm not an expert in his business, I'm not an expert at all, but for me, a guy from Lviv ... Look, this is a man of his word.
– And of the business.
– And of the business, yes. Now, if he said something, then you don't have to check: it will be done.
– Rareness, right?
– This is in our world ... this is generally ... I understand: this is Donetsk training. I'm a guy from Lviv. There, too, the same ... when I was young there, we had ... Well, I'll tell you more: this a very rare quality in a businessman and a politician. That is noticed in Putin dossier – that was a long time ago, when I flew to St. Petersburg with Azarov – that the word, in spite of everything, must be fulfilled.
–That's why he rarely gives a word, does he?
– Therefore, it is almost impossible to get the words out of him. He always throws any question to someone: "Go there, talk to those, and find out this." Therefore, yes, Rinat is a man of his word. Here is a characteristic.
– At the same time, a patriot of Ukraine?
– He is a patriot of Ukraine.
– Victor Pinchuk.
– A businessman.
– One word. Which of the oligarchs is the brightest one?
– So, everyone ... No, look: undoubtedly the brightest one is Igor Valerievich. This is undeniable. But they are all very different. Generally, very different. I can't even imagine how they get along with each other or don't get along, but they are all very different.
– You mentioned Putin. The first call from Volodymyr Zelensky: the newly elected president of Ukraine – to the Russian president Putin. Did you attend this?
– I was present, but I have no right to tell you anything about it.
– But was that interesting?
– Has Putin treated Zelensky with respect?
– Yes, very respectfully. And one could feel his desire to find common ground. During the conversation – it seemed to me – he drew an analogy between himself, the young, elected president, and Volodymyr Zelensky.
– A very similar situation. He had Chechnya, well, collapse, the economy ...
– That was you who prepared the questions that President Zelensky asked President Putin?
– Dima, this cannot be told. This cannot be discussed. This cannot be discussed publicly.
– Is it true that Putin said in this conversation that not a single Ukrainian president has kept his word so far?
– We cannot tell the conversation of the first two leaders. We cannot discuss this.
Relations between Zelensky and Putin? It seems to me that we somehow harshly tricked Putin. Promised one thing - then did nothing
– Paris, Normandy format meeting of presidents. The first communication between Putin and Zelensky eye to eye. How do you remember this meeting?
– How do I remember the meeting? I then realized that it would be a very difficult negotiation process. And I don't think there will be any success there any time soon. Zelensky, Merkel, Macron spoke in turn. They...
– You were present all the time, right?
– Yes, I was present all the time. Both on open and closed meetings. Well, that's what I can tell you: this is the open part. And everyone spoke in favor of improving the Minsk agreements.
– How did Putin behave with Zelensky?
– They called first name each other?
– Emphatically respectful?
– Very respectful. I tell you: there ... I don't know how it is now, but at that time he felt that he wanted to find some solution to this problem. But I do not know from what motives: from economic, from political ... So it seems to me that this is from political motives as well. Zelensky has emormous support, including in Russia.
– He had. And to fight with the favorite of your people is to present yourself inadequately.
– The problem is that what I know and what I read has changed dramatically today.
– What are the relations between Zelensky and Putin today, in your opinion?
– I can only judge some public moments in which I understand well. Now, if a message is published that a telephone conversation between Putin and Zelensky took place, but the press releases about the conversation are different ... This is called a "diplomatic failure." This means that the negotiations went badly. What I see, it seems to me that we somehow harshly tricked him.
– They promised one thing – they did another.
– Well yes. They promised one thing – they did nothing.
– I was then in Paris: at this meeting. Not at the meeting itself, of course. And one of the members of the Ukrainian delegation told me that while saying goodbye to the Ukrainian delegation, Putin shook hands with two people – President Zelensky and you. It's true?
– Well, when he was leaving, he came up ...
– ..with two people.
– shook hands, yes.
– Did you have personal communication with him?
– What impressions did he leave?
– A very tough person. Very. Very. But very confident in himself.
– Did he suppress Merkel and Macron?
– He is a very difficult negotiator. Very heavy.
– Did he suppress Merkel and Macron?
– It seems to me that he is stronger than them. Well, I could be wrong here: I am not as qualified as a diplomat, but here ... He has some kind of algorithm, and he does not detour from it for a second. There you can motivate, tell, explain, and he says: "I think like this. That's it, don't waste time."
Our leaders wait for some kind of huge sums of money from Russia for solving the question of Crimea and Donbas
– Is it true that you are prohibited from entering Russia and Belarus?
– No, not true, but I am ... What do we have a "Peacemaker", right? They have some kind of "Recidivist" there too ... Site.
– So you are a recidivist?
– Well... yes, I'm on some wanted list there.
– Will there be peace with Russia?
– With Russia? .. Probably yes. But not now.
– We can stop dreaming about Donbass and Crimea, right?
– Well yes. Well, I don’t see the points ... I don’t understand what we can agree on. That is, they are not ready for a second to depart from the Minsk agreements. For them, the first point of principle: changes in the Constitution. They are not ready to continue the conversation further ...
– Until changes are made.
– Until changes are made.
– About the special status of Donbass.
– About the special status ... This is the law "about the special status", amendments to the Constitution, which this law provides. They have everything clearly and logically built. But our society is not ready to discuss this. Look: there are substitutes, there are logical ones ... It is right for the country to conduct decentralization.
Basically, all European countries, all developed countries – they have gone from a unitary state to decentralization. Separate states of the United States are, in fact, different countries, which are somehow kept only by federal legislation, there ... the army ... And there they have their own police, their own taxes... Germany, France, Italy – let's consider them. Everything is there ... where there are provinces – they have their own there in each ... Switzerland, there are generally cantons.
– Is it true: that Russia is ready to pay many billions of dollars to resolve the issue of Crimea and Donbass?
– This is a communication problem, they communicate with the wrong channels. Ours use not the channels that world history came up with, and the rules are diplomatic, but they communicate with some kind of medieval, otherworldly negotiations. And I don’t know at what stage someone is deceiving whom, but yes, our rulers are waiting for some big money, concessions ...
– Yes. From Russia. The return of Donbass, some large contributions, the money will be given ...
– Are the amounts big?
– 100 billion? 200?
– Well, this ... you know, it's like children in kindergarten: they discuss the future of the country, emerging from some fairy tales or last year's dreams.
– But I’ll ask a question, if you don’t want to answer, don’t answer. Is it true that the top leadership of Ukraine is considering a plan that the Russians will give many, many billions of dollars for Crimea, which will help raise the Ukrainian economy?
– No, there is no any word for Crimea. There is some childish confidence today – well, from what I understand and hear – that some huge sums will be paid for this, for it all: for Donbass, for something ... I don't even understand, for what.
– And with this money ...
– And with this money we will start building here ...
– Start living.
– ... swimming pools, schools, internet ... Now they promise something every day.
What the13 points that Andrei Yermak promised to fulfill to the Russians?This list implied the dismissal of all pro-Western politicians
– What are these 13 points that Andrei YYermak promised to fulfill to the Russians?
– I have not seen this document, but among diplomats and special services I have meet it mentioned many times. And it is not clear there: there are 12–13 points. Whether 12 or 13 – I don't know. But all foreign special services believe in this ... This is some kind of algorithm of actions. "We give you ships, you give us water to the Crimea, you give us ...", "We give you prisoners, you give us direct air communication. We give you three billion dollars, by court order, and you give us something." ...
– Is this a utopia?
– Of course, this is a utopia. But look, I know for sure: in this list was implied the dismissal of all pro–Western politicians.
– So, it is already going on.
– It's already ending. Only Avakov remained. The last Bourba was fired, and before that it was easy to track it down ... It's funny to me. Well, this is, again, a joke. But how do the appointments come about? They fired some kind of pro–Western, right? And how is a new one appointed? We come there: "Can we take him?" – "Yes, appoint whoever you want, the main thing is to be an idiot."
– "Come there" is to where?
– Well, where they go to agree on candidates, appointments.
– Do they go to the Russians or to the Westerners?
– I dont know. They definitely don't go to Westerners.
– They don't. So they go to the Russians.
– Or maybe they don't. I ... well, that's hard to say. I don’t know, I don’t track it. Some negotiators approve these candidates.
– Many in the current ...
– I think even no. They do it so naturally. And even no, it's a joke, I'm telling you. But the same MID (Main Intelligence Directorate) ... People do not understand what it is. And I don’t understand, and you don’t understand. It is something.
–This is an empire, of course.
– This is something that officially does not exist anywhere. They fired the person who has all the information, all the connections ...
– Vasyl Bourba – let's put it this way.
– Yes. He was dismissed simply because ... And there is not even an explanation. And they appointed a guy ... He is pro–Ukrainian, yes, he is good, but he is an operative, he does not understand anything about this at all. Nothing at all. Well, they could appoint someone from "Kvartal" already. Who cares?
– Do many in the president's inner circle love Russia?
– Yeah, yes, yes.
– And they are pro–Russian oriented?
– Not. You understand how some ... When there were good moments in your life, then you associate yourself in these moments with some people who were around. It doesn't matter what kind of people they are. Maybe it's an accident. Here is their business, their formation was associated with Russia. Therefore, yes, they have a very good attitude towards Russia.
– Does the President also love Russia?
– The President loves Ukraine. This is indisputable, it is an axiom. They are all pro–Ukrainian. But in their lives, good events were largely associated with Russia.
– Are there agents either of influence or of the special services of Russia in the president's entourage?
– Well, there is such a persistent rumor even from some diplomats, from some, there, special services, that is, yes.
– Can you name the names?
– No, I can't.
Ukrainian secret services, the Main Directorate of Military Intelligence worked on an operation to lure Wagner people. It was destroyed by one phone call from the man from President’s inner circle
– The scandal with the members of Wagner Group, because of which, as they say, Vasyl Bourba was fired. Do you believe that it was exactly as Yuri Butusov wrote?
– I do not believe – I know that it was exactly like that.
– So, Yuri Butusov is right?
– Yes, 100%.
– That is, the special services of Ukraine ...
– Everything is even worse there.
– That is, the special services of Ukraine, the Main Directorate of Military Intelligence ...
– ... under the leadership of Burba ...
– ... was preparing a special operation to lure out the members of Wagner Group
– Together with the Americans.
– They were supposed to be put on a plane in Minsk ...
– Allegedly they will be taken to Istanbul ...
– And on the way, the plane was supposed to land in Ukraine.
– Among these WG members were two people who participated in the downing of the Boeing in the skies over the Donbas.
– There were all rare characters, as far as I heard ... Well, again, I can be wrong. A firm was actually established there in Venezuela, personnel were recruited. Some people have already gone there to work for some specific towers. They paid them real money there, they really guarded these towers there. That is, this is not just some kind of fairy tale, but someone, if from there, checked: "So, are you there, right? That is, you work there, right?" – "Yes, we get a salary, that's all..."
– That's how?
– And then, at the second stage, we already got out ... And look: this operation is more than a year old. It was super secret and super serious. One phone call destroyed it. AND the person who made that phone call – he actually admitted that he made it.
– Who is it?
– The prosecutor in this case will tell it very soon.
– That is, the person recruited someone and said ... told about this special operation?
– Well, I don't know the words, but we will restore it. I know there was a call.
– It will pop up ...
– I know who called, and I know to where and to whom.
– A person from the President's inner circle.
– The closest one.
– He was calling the Russians.
– I didn't say that, no.
– Will it all pop up?
– Once – certainly.
– Look: the president said that nothing happened. Burba said there was nothing.
– No, Burba didn't say that. Burba said he believes the president was not involved. I also want to believe it.
– But you are not sure?
– It is very difficult: what he knew, what he did not know, what they told him, what they didn't tell. I would definitely say. The president had fears of what would happen if we land this plane, and we have a truce ... For him, a truce is important. For the president, 97% of his work today is creating a positive PR image. And for him, a truce is the most important request. The elections are coming soon. Therefore, the value of this operation... it can be assessed by specialists. And he understands the value of the PR image very well. And this truce was important to him. So he ... Well, by the way, he did not cancel the operation, he asked for it to be – well, as far as I know, again ...
– To be postponed.
– This is me who was fired a long time ago and have nothing to do with it. But from what I hear, what they tell me, and what I read, and what I understand, what I analyze: he asked, yes, to postpone. He agreed that it should be postponed for a couple of days. But on the territory of Belarus there were 20 or 30 people ... 32, right? With such a clearly disturbing past ... Well, one little bell and that's it.
After the story with members of Wagner Group, who will talk to us and what about?
– Is it true: that the Americans are unhappy with Volodymyr Zelensky?
– I cannot tell about all Americans. But then again, what I hear ... This is analysis. Let's analyze together. In general, there are three tracks, three points of negotiations with the United States of America. The first is the secret service. We are really like blind kittens. And all our military capabilities, the capabilities of our special services – this is information that the international community shares with us. And besides the war, these are drugs, these are crimes, this is security. These are plans in general, these are analytics – we do not have these analytics.
After the members WG, who will talk to us and what about? The second negotiating track is the diplomatic service. Just analyze the events. It is public – there nothing needs to know anything, it is public. This means that the Secretary of State of the United States of America is calling – Mister Pompeo – is calling Zelensky, who is in Kryvyi Rih. And an hour later he has a meeting with Deputy Pompeo and another prominent diplomat who is an expert on Ukraine: George Kent. These are two people ...
– To Where ... Where we find ourselves and very quickly. And they flew to Krivyi Rih.
– They flew to Krivyi Rih. And there was a call from Pompeo, and then there was a meeting an hour later. And look at the photos from the meeting. Look: I am translating into human language. If Pompeo called – and an hour later a meeting with his deputy ...
– So it’s very urgent.
–So this is something urgent and something personal that Pompeo couldn't say on the phone. He could not speak on the phone for obvious reasons, so he sent his deputy.
– To Kryvyi Rih?
– And to raise the importance of this conversation, he called in person. Please pay attention. Such actions indicate one thing: that there was some kind of personal message. He had to convey something that cannot be said on the phone. Do you understand?
– I understand well.
– And there was no personal communication. They sat for an hour or an hour and a half in the presence of those characters who are in the photo ...
– In Kryvyi Rih?
– In Kryvyi Rih. And flew away with nothing. And then ... They flew away on Thursday. Look: everything I've worked ... You can ask any of our officials. All US delegations, the embassy and all US officials in conversation with Ukrainian bureaucrats begin with "NABU and Sytnik" – and end with "NABU and Sytnik". They begin: "Look, don't! This is independence!" And they end: "Do you remember where we started? All right, bye–bye!" On Thursday they are leaving, and on Friday they will be followed by the decision of the Constitutional Court to appoint Sytnik. This is called diplomatic language – the diplomats told me – a spit in the back.
And our third negotiating track is financial organizations. "Give us the money."
– And after that – a fig?
– Yes. Nobody tells to Volodymyr Olexandrovych ... Volodymyr Olexandrovych, your cooperation with the IMF has already been stopped. And to launch it further – it is December at best.
– And there is a hole in the economy.
– There it is generally a separate issue. If we have one second ...
– Yes of course.
– This is because I want to warn Volodymyr Olexandrovych. This is we have numbers. Here is the 2019 budget. Income, expenses, deficit.
– That is minus 78. Here is the 2020 budget. Revenues – 95 billion trillion, expenses, deficit.
– And the deficit.
– But after the sequestration.
– Ah ah ah!
– And the deficit.
– 300 billion.
– Where's the money from?
– And the IMF won't give it.
– This is the money that the IMF gave. The IMF is a marker. It's not money – it's a marker.
– A political instrument.
– Quality mark. OK? OK! The IMF gave money – immediately the European Union, Bank for Reconstruction and Development, The World Bank gave it too. They immediately gave a lot of money.
– So this is a catastrophe.
– This is a catastrophe. This is a great disaster. We have...
They want to remove David Arakhamia and appoint Kolia Tyshchenko. This is a great idea
– He doesn't know this?
– We have a shortfall by year: from what the financiers say ... They say differently: from 70 to 130. But take the average: they will not fulfill the $ 100 billion income. Now let's simulate, what about next year. There will be a disaster! That is, we will not make less payouts. Judging by the speeches of Volodymyr Olexandrovych, we should multiply this by three. Because we are pools ... I laughed. It seemed to me that this could not be. They told me – I went to the site. I went to the site.
– Well, yes, he promised a lot.
– He promised to start the massive construction of school pools. Have you guys read what the construction of swimming pools is? To build it – then you need to maintain it. In our regional centers ... Not everyone has even one pool per region. If the maintenance of a secondary school – a small rural school – costs about 50 million hryvnias, then the maintenance of the same school with a swimming pool will cost about 150 million hryvnias. Have you counted how many schools you have, how many swimming pools? What does "build" mean?
And we promised doctors to double their salaries. The military. We promised everything to everyone. Look, this is a terrible thing. This, Dima, is the list that Volodymyr Olexandrovych has promised since March. I just want to create a Telegram channel. It will be called "Bogdan's "Tesla" in memory of my dear" Tesla. I will post there my analytics, my views, my visions of what is happening in the country. In order to do it all one must… And it’s obligatory. “Zelensky promised” is the same undertaking.
– And where to get the money is not clear.
– Nowhere to take. There is not anything. It's just crazy. Moreover, if we do not fulfill 100 billion of the revenues of this budget, what can we do? We are postponing this budget for next year. We do not refund VAT. This is the standard scheme – everyone knows it.
– But everything accumulates there.
– Yes Yes Yes. It doesn't disappear. Debts don't disappear. They waste them.
– These 100 billion ... Where is the VAT? It appeared yesterday. Indignation began. Quantity automatically ... What is automatic VAT? It is not a person who decides to return VAT to a business, it's a computer. You filed your return, they checked. Is it all alive? That's all, you got your money back. And now they started to stop it. This means that the business does not receive money. And if you want to be among the lucky ones who will receive their VAT, hello!
– Get a ticket.
– Get a ticket. And the business immediately feels it. They are already yelling. That's it, they are already starting to call. They are already starting to run after the "Servant of the People" deputies and say: "Listen, we were fighting not for this."
– So this is the road to a dead end.
This is a dead end. Now let's see, let's simulate. You understand: they are now expelling the Minister of Economy and the Minister of Finance. David Arakhamia, whom they want to remove and put Kolya Tyshchenko. This is a great idea. Officially announced: there is a video on YouTube that "we are removing, preparing to remove the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Economy." During the budgeting process. Let's count. We must now, by the 15th, submit a new budget to parliament by law. It seems to me that Finance Minister Marchenko is doing everything on purpose to get himself fired. This is the most difficult time for the Minister of Finance. This is a great job. Do you know like the firemen? When there is a fire, though quit!
– From August to the moment when the Verkhovna Rada voted, they really should sleep at work. Because these are all wishes, the deputies are ...
– They should take everything into account?
– This is something terrible. And combine it into one document. And so: before the 15th – to parliament. Before that, it must be coordinated with the IMF. Because if they are not ok with it, then there will be no money.
– And they are not ok, apparently?
–They’re not okay at all. Do you understand that we deceived them? This is the third American track – they gave us money for a "COVID" fund. That is, this implies that the money had to be associated with the fight against the consequences of the epidemic.
– And it's already empty, they say, right?
– No. We took part of this "COVID" fund and sent it to the construction of roads. Volodymyr Olexandrovych does not see what the problem is. We build roads, okay?
– Very well! Roads are being built in the country.
– And they build well, by the way.
– And it is fresh in the IMF memory when they were deceived and the director of the mission in Ukraine was kicked out with a "wolf" ticket. They have such a policy: if you are a bureaucrat and you were deceived, then it is not the one who deceived you that is to blame, but you. Therefore, they will measure seven times before giving money. Eight just in case. Inappropriate use of budget money from the "COVID" fund for them is this deception.
The president does not understand what is happening around him and in the state. That a warm bath turned into some kind of concrete crypt
– Returning to the Americans.
– Returning to the Americans. Tell me: if the donations ... Let's say "not become more" – let's "remain this as it is"?
– About the same, given the exchange rate.
– Yes. Generally, today Shmygal ... I came out with a message that they are increasing the payroll fund by 159 billion.
– Where can we get them?
– There are 159 more here. Let's pretend that he lied or he does not understand what he is saying.
– And it remained so?
– And it remained the same. Tell me: there will not be more income?
– It will become less, given the coronavirus.
– It will become less. That is, of these 100 billion, they are not fulfilling now. It will be rescheduled for next year. And at least the same 100 billion will not be available next year.
– So it's a crash!
– There is no 500 billion in the budget.
– So this is the collapse of the economy.
– This is the collapse of the economy. Do you see the difference here?
– Yes of course.
– And what's the difference.
– The IMF approved it. And here? They approved such a difference of a financial institution because of COVID. But next year, no one will approve of it.
– They have their own problems.
– They have their own problems, guys. Why should some American taxpayers support, build roads and swimming pools in Ukraine?
– Returning to the Americans.
– Come on.
– It is true: that on the American side Pompeo personally oversaw the special operation with the members of WG?
– I don't know, I can't say.
– But they say.
– They say different things. They say, for example, that the president does not understand what is happening around him and in the state. That a warm bath turned into some kind of concrete crypt (because of the illusions that everything is fine, created around him, he was trapped in the face of a sad reality). There is a nuance that I know for sure: he reads Facebook himself.
– They say until three in the morning.
– At two o'clock it could be... SMS came: "Who is this?" And there was, in general, some kind of bot – 20 likes – wrote something bad about it. He is very sensitive to this. Which surprises me too. He criticized other politicians all his life. Satire is also a form of criticism.
– This is one of the forms of criticism. You criticized others – you must understand that you will also be criticized. You can't react like that: you show your weakness. There is an opinion (and I absolutely agree with it): Volodymyr Olexandrovych does not understand at all where we are heading. At all.
– No one to tell?
– There is no one to tell. Moreover, if you can get to the president, then only with good news, with a happy smile and a satisfied look.
What did I whisper in President’s ear? I suggested the correct moves, as it seemed to me. History has shown that yes, these moves were correct
– Continuing the conversation about the Americans. US President Donald Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said that the US State Department advised him to avoid Bogdan and recommended meeting with YYermak. Further quote. “When the State Department asked me if they could give my number to YYermak, they said he was a real lawyer, unlike Bogdan, who is engaged in the lobbyism,” Giuliani said. How did you annoy the US State Department? No comments?
–Listen, they probably didn't like me very much at that time.
– Because of Kolomoisky?
– Because of Kolomoisky. There are no complaints to me.
– You said about Kolomoisky. I want to remember our first meeting with you and my impressions of you. It was very bright. My wife and I came to visit Igor Valerievich in Geneva. And we talked for a long time, then went to a restaurant – and a young man appeared. I didn't know you, to be honest. And a young man appeared with a backpack behind his shoulders. And so we sat down in a restaurant four of us: a young man, Igor Valerievich and we. And you behaved so actively ... You were alive. Igor Valerievich told you: "Be quiet, this is Geneva. I drive myself here, I don't break the rules. This is an expensive restaurant – be quiet, calm. Don't shame me!" This was about the conversation. I was amazed that you ... You know, you don't pretend – you are a sincere person. This is how you behave.
– I'm not trying to please.
– You're not trying to please. This is an interesting feature, by the way. You were always so unrestrained and ill–mannered, tell me?
– Yes. All the time I was kicked out of kindergarten, then from the pioneer camp, then from school, then from the university.
– The second impression is generally amazing. We are already sitting in the meeting room with President Zelensky. I ask a question. Volodymyr Olexandrovych begins to answer – and suddenly I see the unimaginable: you hit him with your elbow under the rib and say: "No, it is too early to answer this question." He says: "Yes, Dima, it's too early to talk about it." I thought, "God, what a nightmare! What's going on?" Did this happen often?
– No, not often. But especially in the first moments. When you are an actor, when you are a presidential candidate, you can say a lot. And when you are the president, it is very difficult to say anything.
– But with an elbow under the rib – admit it, it was tough. The current president.
– Maybe somewhere I ... But I do not remember that I did it, to be honest ... There were no such pictures.
– Exaggerated, yes.
– But I ... I sometimes had to ... Look, this: I whisper something in his ear.
– I want to tell you, in many photographs you are constantly next to the president: both in the office and on trips. And constantly whispering something in his ear. What did you whisper to him, tell me?
– I suggested the correct moves, as it seemed to me. History has shown that yes, these moves were correct. In Dnepropetrovsk, on the bridge, when Filatov, the mayor ... We are inspecting this bridge. The conversation reached a dead end. He was at an impasse. Build – did not build, opened – did not open, but why – that's it! Further only the fall. Of course, I could get in the way. But that's the president who had to say the right words. At this time, I whisper in his ear: "Take the date from him and bet with him that he will complete the construction by that date. And the promise that if he does not do this, he will write a letter of resignation."
– Nice, by the way.
– And that's all! And this had nowhere to go. He himself named the date and he himself made a public promise. He went out of his way to complete this bridge. And completed it. Qualitatively or not, we forgot to check it. Not us, but management. Many people did not like it, many criticized me. But it is better to have me criticized than the president for the wrong words.
– Do you agree, nevertheless, that it was not necessary to publicly whisper in the president's ear and defiantly come to the fore? And do you understand that when you publicly stood in front of, as it were, the president and answered in his place, by this you were bringing your dismissal closer?
– Maybe I was bringing my dismissal closer. But it seems to me that then I put a lot of all sorts of problems on myself.
– It's just that if you were more compromising and calmer, your political career would not be interrupted.
Bogdan:Right now ... Do you see the president now? He, excuse me, speaks nonsense often. Look: you need to talk less in the office of the president. Because every word is caught and ...
– And enhenced.
– It's like this ... This is the desire to speak: to speak something to the people, to broadcast is wrong. This is a shot in the blue.
Zelensky has a very bad quality of president: he does not solve problems – he puts them off
– Have you often had conflicts? Have you ever quarreled? Maybe you were fighting, swearing at each other? It was so?
– With Volodymyr Olexandrovych?
– No. Yes, with Shefir we were swearing terribly! But after swearing, we hugged.
– He is a kind person.
– And I'm a kind person. I really love him. I am so expressive ... I can swear, I can do it ... My energy splashes.
– Wasn't the case with the president?
– And it is impossible to argue with him. You even want to quarrel with him – you cannot.
– "Love me"?
– He sometimes looks with these eyes – that's all. Oh well. This is a problem – you understand? In a dispute, truth is born. And there was no dispute.
– Well, why ...
– There is such a friendly licking to a bronze color.Andrii Bogdan with Serhii Shefir. Photo by Andrii Bogdan / Facebook
– Because of what some kind of internal, maybe, the conflict between you reached such a degree that it was necessary to dismiss you from the post of head of the Office?
– Yes, I had no conflict with him.
– Why were you fired?
– I still don't know, Dima. I honestly tell you: I don't know. Look, for me this is throwing off the chains.
– Break the heavy chains!? (excerpt from "Zapovit" (Testament) Shevchenko)
– Yes. With the tyrants’ blood... (continuing the excerpt)
– Yes. Okay, look: February 11th ... I'll tell you now ...
– For what it was to him, I do not understand. Look: he was going away from the problem. He didn't solve problems. In general, he has a very bad quality of president: he does not solve problems – he puts them off.
– So you were his problem?
– I wasn't his problem. His entourage could not get what they wanted. Therefore, they tried in every possible way to weave some kind of intrigue. And instead of trying to figure out and understand who is right and who is wrong, he made it so that his environment was satisfied.
– All the entourage united in the fight against you, right?
– All the time they wanted to appoint someone, to do something, to sit somewhere, to lie down somehow.
– Did you interfere?
– I was an obstacle for them. Not only did I interfere – I also dragged them out by the ear and told who, when, where ...
– And you say you're kind. You're evil!
– I'm angry. There is such a position. You must be angry. There is no point in going there. Look: there is no point in going there if you have no character. You have to swear. You gotta people ... They should be afraid to do something wrong. Because if someone is able to deceive, then there you will not deceive. I had cases when at a meeting ... I didn't have enough time for everything, but to be at meetings ... You see, even my deputies are – just read who came from where. They haven't even one day of service! Do you understand? Therefore, I had to sit at all meetings.
– And work instead of them?
Bogdan:Not to work instead of them, but to control. And also stacks of documents. Look: since the fall ... In the summer I went with the president – in the fall I did not go with the president. He flew away somewhere on the international travel ...
– Are you finally working?
– And I have time to deal with it. And we had meetings when I was sitting with pieces of paper, reading my pieces of paper: I read, read, read – and out of the corner of my ear I hear some crap, heresy. I once! Did not work out. Everyone moved on to another topic.
President has announced my resignation many times everywhere. This has already been written on the fences. But he didn't say a word to me
– On February 11, 2020, President Zelensky dismissed you as head of the Office. Why – I understand approximately. It was no longer possible further. There was dripping, dripping on his brains.
– They just walked together and said: "This is the main problem."
– Everyone wanted ... Someone wanted to appoint someone somewhere. And yet they blow into their ears that I appointed that one ... I did not appoint anyone at all. I didn’t have a single minister in the Cabinet whom I knew before starting some political path. Nobody. Look: I took Honcharuk as my deputy. I was introduced to him. But Zelensky met him before me. Good lad. He is smart.
– He has the right thoughts. But you see, he doesn't have ... I don't even know. Not that a character – have no bureaucratic experience. Look: any fool can say, "No, you can't do that." And he does not know whether it's right or not. That is, he wanted to reconcile everyone: he held long meetings and tried to convince everyone that it was necessary like this. If someone did not agree, he is ... But you just need to understand where it's allowed tp break, and where it's not. This is very ... Look: this is not taught in institutes.
– How did the president announce your resignation? What words did he find?
– Listen, this is announcing from everywhere. I worked. I worked sincerely, honestly – until December 2019. January 1 – the events took place there. Yes, I can actually do ...
– Oman is a separate story altogether. This is another story altogether.
– Well, we'll talk about it.
– Now yes. Look: I met with the deputies, I met with the deputies of the heads of the faction. I understood who our schizo was and how to cure him. There are ... There are such ... Look: for some, just entering my office was already some kind of doping for two or three weeks to go, vote, listen to party discipline. That's all!
– I understand absolutely.
– And I had to mess it all around, because, in principle, this is, to be honest, my functional. I have to synchronize the work of all organs. First of all, the Verkhovna Rada. Since I don’t have the money to buy the hall somehow ... This is a system like this: somewhere – a stick, and somewhere – a carrot.
On February 17, 2019, six day after he quitted his job, Andrii Bogdan posted on Facebook his picture in a beach outfit. “Friends, I miss you very much, I don’t sleep, I don’t eat. I believe soon enough you all will be doing what you like. I realize it is difficult for you. There is no money but you hang on.” – Bogdan wrote. Photo showed him next to the nameplate “Seychelles”against the background of an ocean. Photo by Anrii Bogdan / Facebook
– I had to work psychologically, of course.
– This is psychological work, yes. And a complex psychological one. Because everyone went crazy in one’s own way.
– And mostly like that.
– Lots of. And so I was communicating with a small fraction: this is the head David Arahamia and his deputy. And at this time the president calls David and starts asking: "What are you doing?" He says: "We have a small faction. We are sitting here, talking." – "Who is there?" Well, he begins to list: this one, that one and that one. "Is there Bogdan?" He says: "Bogdan is here, yes." – "What is he doing there?" And I can hear what he is talking about. Why don't you call me? What can I do here? I work here! Late at night I sit and work.
"Why did he come to you?" I laugh out loud of him. And who will do this? Then I came and said: "What's the problem?" After. "Well, I was told that you are creating some kind of your own group." – "Who told you?" – "What's the difference?" It's not true. How can I create a group? They complain to me about their problems, who doesn't want to vote, why and what people say. And I have to react. Everyone has their own problems. Someone needs help, but someone needs to insert.
– Yes. We have some kind of law – someone does not agree. Someone does not agree ideologically – you will not break him. And you can't! But someone disagrees, because there are some nuances.
– Some nuances. So it is necessary to explain. And if just someone has ... You know, a bad mood – and he decided to show his "Eww". He needs to be returned to his good mood. Cheer up, so to speak. An who? Nobody else does this. I do it, yes. And who? "No, well, they tell me that you are planning different things there." – "Well, damn it! Okay, do it yourself now. I won't."
– Did he say so?
– Yes. On January 1, I decided that since I was being humiliated publicly for doing my job well, I would not do it. And I didn't.
– How did the president announce your resignation?
– He has already announced it many times everywhere. This has already been written on the fences. But he didn't say a word to me. Therefore, on Monday morning I went to him and asked to speak face to face. I showed him the latest issue of a magazine. I say: "Already in kindergarten, everyone knows that you fired me. Maybe you tell me or what. Or how?" He began telling terrible tales that everyone was complaining, everyone was unhappy.
– I'll ask a very direct question. Is it true? Did he tell you that you are like an unloved woman?
– Yes, he had such a comparison.
– Do you confirm?
– Yes. He says: "I don't know what you are doing right and what wrong. But you make me aggressive in everything."
President is constantly in or some kind of depression, or it is not clear. He's nervous all the time. He calls the deputies, threatens
– In an interview with "Ukrainian truth", Volodymyr Zelenskyy called his decision to appoint you the head of the Office wrong. The President said that you gradually became a conflict person. He said about you, I quote: "The power eats his up, definitely eats. And everything will end very badly."
– Dima, look. I want to repeat the same, word for word. Power eats Volodymyr Olexandrovych up. He has changed physiologically. You just compare. The man was cheerful.
– Light, humorous, beautiful, sharp, energetic. And see? It just hurts to look at him.
– He even got older. I say this with regret.
– I do not understand what he is saying. He doesn't understand what he is saying. Gray face. He's tired.
– He is constantly in or some kind of depression, or it is not clear. He's nervous all the time. He calls the deputies, threatens. He is doing something that I ... Look: I could not let him do this. It's my job to be bad. This is a thankless post. Ask anyone.
– This is the most thankless position in the country. You should come to the fore when the negative is rushing. The negative should be for you first of all, but not for the president.
– In response to this passage in the newspapper "Ukrainian Truth", you said that Zelensky 'traded the dream of a country of happy people for a warm bath (artificially limited feedback between the authorities and the people) and cheap whims of manipulators'. And Andrei YYermak's communications advisor Mikhail Podolyak called your behavior gopnik–like and said to you: “They delicately asked you to get out – you were offended as usual and began to be rude, threaten, and show off”. Have you really quarreled with everyone in the President's Office or what?
– No, in my Office no one fought with anyone at all. Volodymyr Olexandrovych ... I don't know who this one is ... As far as I understand, this is some kind of ...
– Mikhail Podolyak said.
– It was he who worked for Dumchev – remember?
– I remember Dumchev.
– Yes, the most expensive and most meaningless advertisement.
– Yes Yes.
– They are doing ... They are doing the election campaign now. This person is doing the most expensive and most meaningless campaign.
– Of who?
– Of Zelensky. Here he is, look ... When this person appears, the politician drowns. It's like a black mark, you know. Just take who he worked for – and where are these people? And Volodymyr Olexandrovych – what he said and what I answered him ... You know, I really feel hurt. I am offended, as, probably, millions of people. Look: you can ... You are not a saint. You're wrong. Anyone can be wrong.
– But you will be forgiven if you do something. If people see that you are going forward. But if you stupidly PR yourself, do nothing, tell fairy tales – and the situation gets worse, worse, worse, then yes, the power eats you up.
– Let's list everyone who, thanks to you, appeared in the team of Volodymyr Zelensky and in power. So, Prime Minister Alexey Honcharuk.
– Look, I didn’t make Honcharuk prime minister. This is a long and painful decision of Volodymyr Olexandrovych.
– The President?
– He communicated and consulted with a lot of people. And he chose him.
– There were four more candidates. Of course, I had a heart for my deputy. But I tell you for sure: at that moment I realized that he is lacked of bureaucratic experience. But he is a very correct, honest person. I'm sure: not for a second ...
– There was no corruption?
– There was not a single gram of corruption. And he knows exactly where and how to move. But you know, knowledge is not enough – experience is needed. And Volodymyr Olexandrovych has neither knowledge nor experience. And today there is no one around him who has either knowledge or experience. Rather, the opposite: characters appeared who had only negative experience. They know how to ruin – they do not know how to create.
And returning to your question: I had no conflicts in the Office. We even went to team buildings, I managed it deliberately. Truskavets, New Year's corporate party, birthdays in the group. I came when someone in the group ... I had time, I stopped by for 15–20 minutes to congratulate the person. The group gathered in some restaurant and I came there. I congratulated, drank 50 grams with them and left. But this is a collective feeling.
– And this must be done. And nobody is doing this. And this all leads to the fact that everything is falling apart, just in front of our eyes everything is falling apart. Returning to Honcharuk: in this Cabinet there was not a single henchman of any oligarch.
– Unique story.
– Even Dima Dubilet, son of Dubilet, was Honcharuk's choice. Dima Dubilet introduced Honcharuk to Zelensky.
– He brought Honcharuk to the president, yes.
– And this is not Kolomoisky's henchman, this is an individual. And each of them had no obligations to any businessmen, or to any political parties – to anyone. It hurts that this is all falling apart. And it hurts that they don't understand the point.
Volodymyr Olexandrovych oes not understand what he is doing. He simply dismisses peoplewith the motivation: "This is Bogdan's man." Am I your enemy, or what?
Recently I saw the candidate for mayor Ira Vereshchuk.
– Vereshchuk, yes.
– I don’t want to ... there is nothing good to say. But she is about Geo Leros ... That we all came thanks to the president. "I have to say honestly: it’s so, it’s true." Even with the Galician dialect, f..ck. Mayoral candidate in Kyiv. In general, this is a separate issue. Ask – I will answer. But they came ... As Volodymyr Olexandrovych said, "I owe nothing to anyone except my parents." So they owe nothing to anyone, except society, except the people. According to the Constitution, the people are the only sourse of the power. All of them do not owe Volodymyr Aleksandrovich, not the team that led and made the elections, but they must live correctly and lead the country in the interests of the people of Ukraine. And not in the interests of some very dubious characters who manipulate the president.
– Returning to the people who appeared in the president's team thanks to you. We figured out Honcharuk. Ruslan Ryaboshapka, ex–Prosecutor General.
– Aivaras Abromavichyus, general director of the Ukroboronprom concern.
– Look, no. This is Ruslan. I know Ruslan ... We worked with him for many, many years. I walked through the civil service – he was always nearby. Abromavichius was brought by Honcharuk. I didn't know him until the moment ... Not Honcharuk, but Ryaboshapka. I did not know him until the moment ...
August 29, 2019. Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. Head of the Office of the President Andrii Bogdan, his Deputy Kyrylo Tymoshenko, and freshly appointed General Prosecutor Ruslan Ryaboshapka, behind them — Head of SBU Ivan Bakanov. Photo by ЕРА
– On August 14, the newspaper "Zerkalo Nedeli" reported that the head of the President's Office Andriy Yermak requires five members of the Central Election Commission of Ukraine – including the chairman of the CEC Oleg Didenko – to write a letter of resignation, arguing that they are people of the former head of the Office of the President, Bogdan. Exactly the same was said about the currently former Prosecutor General Ruslan Ryaboshapka: they say, he is Bogdan's man. Bogdan "left", they asked Ryaboshapka to leave too. Why are they now purging your people from all state structures?
– This is very, very insulting. You know, they come to me later. These are a lot of people I never knew, who were even advised me by someone. Volodymyr Olexandrovych doesn't even remember them: he brought them to me. If I saw that a person was ideological and honest, then I helped to appoint him somewhere. At least there is experience, professionalism. Or they are some friends from some ... Oleg Didenko. When I ran for elections to the Verkhovna Rada in 2006, I worked in the legal department of "Our Ukraine – People's Self–Defense" under the quota of Yuriy Lutsenko: he was my colleague. He also worked there. It was 15 years ago
– It's natural, after all, to take everyone you know.
– I know him as a professional. I saw his life path. I know that this is an honest person. And I know he is professional. He has both knowledge and experience.
– But after you left, many people were removed from office?
– Lots of. Look: Volodymyr Olexandrovych does not understand what he is doing. He simply dismisses him with the motivation: "This is Bogdan's man." Am I your enemy, or what? Honestly, I helped him. They fired Honcharuk, removed the Cabinet of Ministers – and appointed the Cabinet of Ministers of Denis Shmygal.
I have very critical views on the Cabinet, I can tell you a lot. But I gathered my friends, who are the People's Deputies of the "Servant of the People". I collected them in a restaurant. We sat down at the table. I say: "Listen: a very difficult situation. there will be a problem with COVID. I understand that for many of you this is a blow, and you are offended. But we must vote and appoint. Because at a critical moment in the country, being without a government is a danger. You will destroy the country. Something you don't like – and something I don't like. But this "don't like" is much less evil than uncontrollability, chaos. "
They asked me: "And Avakov?" I say: "Vote for Avakov." I didn't need to talk to Avakov: we understood each other by the eyes. No words were needed. This is a professional person.
– He's smart and prepared.
– Yes, he's smart and prepared. Probably, the society has some claims to Avakov. But it's just ... If you take Avakov away, that's it.
– There is no structure at all?
– No. They will play airplanes. "We flew, we bombed" – this is it. So they will talk.
The oligarch came, we took a picture - and put a photo. We did it with Rinat and with Pinchuk. Wenever hid it, really. We are sincere. So why slander us?
– How did Igor Valerievich Kolomoisky react to your resignation? Did he call you to support?
– Did he find words of support?
– We must give him his due: he provoked it, but ...
– He provoked it?
– I think yes. But yes, he ...
– And he also supported?
– Kind person.
– Sincerely kind.
– From the news feed for December 2019: "Head of the President's Office Andriy Bogdan secretly met with Ukrainian businessman Igor Kolomoisky. This is stated in the investigation of the Schemes. Corruption in detail. "At first, journalists recorded a meeting of Bogdan with the head of Naftogaz–Ukraine" Andriy Kobolev in one of the restaurants in the Pechersky district of Kyiv at about 18:00. And at about 20:00 on the same day, Bogdan met with Kolomoisky and his business partners in the restaurant of the five–star hotel "Premier Palace" in the center of the capital. It's true?
– That you met then with Kobolev after the meeting?
– Then, after meeting with Kobolev? Yes, I think so, we met with him. I never hide: I met with Igor Valerievich Kolomoisky. I can't say that regularly, but I met with him, met with Pinchuk, with Rinat Akhmetov. Moreover, this is my position – and probably, maybe, my mistake. I have a position: you have to live honestly in life. When you are honest, you have nothing to fear from wiretapping or sniffing, f...ck. We had big political problems when we put on a photo with Kolomoisky.
– There were problems?
– Yes! Us: "Oh–oh–oh! A–tu–tu!" I probably shouldn't have done that. But we had such a position: we do not hide it. We had a problem in the energy sector.
On September 10, 2019 press office of the President of Ukraine reported that Volodymyr Zelensky met with Ukrainian businessman Igor Kolomoisky. “In the Office of President they discussed running business in Ukraine. Also, energy sphere was discussed,” – read the message. The meeting was attended by Andrii Bogdan, then Prime Minister Oleksii Honcharuk, President’s senior aide Serhii Shefir. Photo by Office of the President Head / Telegram
– I remember this photo.
– Yes. He is a consumer of large electricity. Ferroalloy plants, where 70% of the cost of ferroalloys is the price of electrics. I am not an expert in this. The energy minister and the prime minister were there. The topic was purely business. Probably it was not necessary to post it. I should have kept silent.
– If you live honestly, why not, in the end?
– So why lie then? But this caused such indignation! You know, I ... You always wanted to, you yourself said ... We are honest: the oligarch came, we took a picture – and put a photo. we did it with Rinat and with Pinchuk. We never hid it, really. We are sincere. So why slander us? For what we told the truth?
– When was the last time you met Igor Valerievich?
– Some time ago. About two months ...
– That is, there is no such communication as before?
– Now is such, you know, the moment of truth. Now many people try not to communicate with me.
– Yes. They are threatened with problems. There are meaningful stares at the ceiling. This would have been impossible without the knowledge of Volodymyr Olexandrovych.
– Do you think Volodymyr Olexandrovych should have offered you another position instead of the position of the head of the President's Office?
– Look, this is the proposal of the attorney general, which was in December – it was that proposal. I AM...
– That is, after all ...
– I don 't need it. I am in any ... You see, when you go to such a position, you must understand why you are going there. There should be one goal. It is impossible to have a goal to earn and at the same time to make reforms.
– Well, yes, since you were not going for money ...
– You have to decide what you want, then you can be successful. But if you try to sit with your ass on two chairs at ones, then as a result you will crack…
– Your ass?
– Yes. So I went to make the country beautiful. Sincerely. And we did something. Something didn't work out, something worked out, but we were on the move.
– But you tried.
– We tried to be honest. And what did they offer me? If we cannot do it honestly, then what, I should go there to earn money? I would make more money my way. For what? To decorate myself with a medal that I was the attorney general?
– There is no end in itself?
– I've already been everything in this life. It is not an end in itself to put a crown on my head. There is a goal – a result. But these small positions on the way – they do not matter.
– Not your story?
– They don't matter at all.
I didn't fly to Russia. I would have been arrested there
– Why did you pull the goat's ears in the zoo with the words "you are a stupid goat"?
I was with my daughter. They sell such ... Carrots – all kinds of vegetables. These goats love to eat them. And so my little daughter gave her this – the goat snatched out the cup. It grabbed it, the cup fell, crumbled into the swamp. This carrot is lying around in the swamp. And I ... Honestly, I explained to her that if she had waited, she would have eaten all the carrots. And now it is smeared in a swamp – and she didn't get it. Patience.
– So you didn't mean anything?
– There were no political ...
– Good. What kind of dog do you have in your video from the zoo? Because I saw a similar dog with the editor–in–chief of the newspaper "Ukrainian thruth", Sevgil Musaeva.
– They are two different dogs. But we meet – and our dogs are friends. Meet – I mean ...
– We communicate, yes. We communicate mainly, of course, on the topic of a dog. We talk about dogs all the time.
– I remember jokes on social networks about your resignation. They said that "to bogdan" means to quit a job in a manner that makes everyone happy. I think now a number of people in all seriousness could say: "Andryukha, come back!" Nevertheless, as the head of the Office, you showed an openly disregarding attitude towards society and, in particular, towards the media. You said that your election campaign showed you that you don't need journalists at all.
– No, it wasn't like that.
– It was a mistake, tell me?
– No. Let's take a look at the inside story. It was a journalist of either Bihus or Svoboda, who monotonously every week or two ...
– got on your nerves?
– Not that they got on my nerves – they lied. I have lawsuits now. They will end, I will publicly tell who these people are. Look: they lied about wrong things ... I didn't steal – I did everything right. I fought for the country. They were looking for some facts in my 15–year past – and they lied about this fact exactly the opposite.
So [they said] I flew 11 times to Russia – that's not true. I didn't fly. I would have been arrested there. Honored Lawyer of Ukraine. So the country is dear to me.
– In what year?
– In 2007 or 2008 it gave me a task that I completed for excellent for free. Then – yes, of course. But when I was studying, I can honestly, looking in the eyes, say: yes, I have done my task. I wasn't paid a dime. This is how the state thanked me. So what?
– That is, it was addressed not to all journalists?
– No, it was addressed to those journalists who, in search of hot news, are engaged in deception, who lie. And I still believe that we really showed with our election campaign that it is possible to inform the society without them. That you can communicate your thoughts directly. That you can shoot a video, put on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram ...
– And millions of people will watch it.
– They'll see it. And people will know what you think.
– Firsthand. And not what people–intermediaries, dirty journalists think. In our interview with you, you ask questions, and I tell you my thoughts.
– Direct speech.
– And when my thoughts are transformed by some characters with a dubious past, then it's different. And these characters for me are just that image of journalism. And I said differently there. I said that we have proved that it is possible for a politician to communicate with society without traditional means of communication. And by the way, professional journalists long ago admitted that some well–known blogger ... How many views does Dima Gordon have on YouTube?
– Oh, a lot!
– And how much money does he spend on his broadcasts?
– Nothing at all.
– And do you want to know, how much does the channel cost?
– Hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
– And the one thought of one president ... You can start a big campaign with one interview, which costs – how much?
– Did we prove what I said?
– So, I was right?
Yermak is comfortable. He does not bring bad news, he does not ask difficult questions, he is always gentle, kind and speaks good words. This is the effect of a warm bath
– How did Andriy Yermak appear in the team of Volodymyr Zelensky?
– As far as I know, Yermak is his old friend. So, Volodymyr Olexandrovych introduced him to me. But he did not appear – he did not exist in the team during the elections – he had appeared later ...
– He was absent?
I saw him several times. We even had dinner together once. But during the election campaign, his ... He has only appeared in the Office of the President.
– That is, you first saw him, met him when you were having dinner?
– Well yes.
– What impression did Andriy make on you?
– We somehow immediately disliked each other.
– I don't like people, men, with feline habits.
– In what were expressed the cat habits?
– Well, something like this ... There is an association with animals in people – so I had such an association.
– What kind of black cat slipped between you both?
– You know, I did not understand for a long time. For me, "Yermak's tapes" were a revelation. The part that was published, I discovered for myself ... Everyone thinks that I made them.
– Yes, it also seems to me that you did it.
– But I didn't make them. I swear to you. I've heard a lot about them. I heard there are much more tapes out there. And important people are directly present there.
– How much important?
– I do not know. I did not see. I swear I haven't. I do not care. Look, maybe people come up with which they tell me. I do not know. But look, sooner or later it will come out.
–But aren't you behind the tapes?
– No, I'm not behind the tapes.
– I thought you were.
– Look, I diligently keep silent, smiling slyly into the distance.
– Into the distance? So.
– So, on these tapes, Yermak's brother in September 2019 says – not directly, but allegorically – that Andriy Yermak hates Andriy Bogdan. Even after an amazing election campaign, because he wants to take his place. In September.
– Tell me, but do you understand that Andriy Yermak is a talented person, an organizer?
– No, no, that's different. I was also interested. Now I have asked a psychologist. There is generally different. This is like the relationship between an actor and a producer.
– Yermak and Zelensky?
– Who is the actor, who is the producer?
– Let the society be determined.
– Tell me please...
– He's comfortable one. As one friend of mine said, he is as comfortable as Italian shoes. He does not bring bad news, he does not ask difficult questions, he is always gentle, kind and speaks good words. This is the effect of a warm bath, when everything is good around, because they tell you that everything is good around.
– Why did Andrei Yermak manage to outplay you? I still think that he outplayed you.
– Listen, I feel sorry for this man. Because he does not understand at all where he is and what is happening to him.
– Andriy Yermak doesn't understand?
– Andriy Yermak.
– Are you serious?
– Absolutely. A person has zero civil service experience.
– But this may not be the most important thing?
– You do not understand. The president has zero civil service experience – that's normal. He is the guarantor, he is the measure of justice. He determines, based on his moral principles, what is good and what is bad. And the head of the Office, Administration or Secretariat is a manager whose task is for everything to work synchronously and hourly, so that the president's decisions are carried out in reality.
– Maybe he does it?
– Well, if he does it, then everything is fine with them. But he doesn't.
Power can only be based on ideology. The authorities cannot hold on to empty PR
– Good. And why does Volodymyr Zelensky listen to Andrei Yermak like that?
– I don’t know.
– But he’s listening. Right?
– Look, you said in one of your interviews: "Zelensky loves Yermak."
– Well, I think so, yes.
– You said so.
– Good. Is it true that Andriy Yermak communicates with the president not just often, but almost all the time? To the extent that he even goes with him to and from work by car.
– Yes. I have been told it several times. I do not know, to work ... But often – I saw – they came together, left together. Somehow one accompanies the other. There are even worse problems. Volodymyr Olexandrovych makes a decision: "Let's go right." In the morning he arrives: as if nothing had happened, we drove to the left. "But yesterday you said " Go right. "–" I was just tired. "
– Well, you must agree: you could not provide that ...
– So It's a functional there ... I tell you: he is an unhappy person who does not understand what his task is. His task is not to ensure the welfare of the president. This is the task of the first assistant and assistant. Here is the first task is comfort and the solution to personal problems.
– Sergey Shefir.
– Yes. This is a solution to personal life, this is a solution to personal issues. And the head of the Office and the structure of the Office is the state bureaucracy.
– But he copes with it.
– Cannot manage?
– He doesn't understand a damn thing about this.
– Are you sure about it?
– Very bright ... Look. I know how it was for me. On Monday at nine in the morning I always have a meeting. Always. If there is a meeting at nine in the morning, you won't get drunk on Sunday.
– Well, of course.
– You will go home. And if you were late, didn’t come, came with a smell and cannot explain what you’ll be doing next week, you get a rebuke in front of everyone. And not only the deputies of mine are sitting there. By the way, I had six of them, and now there are nine. Most of all I saw under Yushchenko, when there was the coalition government, then there were 11 deputies in one ministry, I think. There were nine departments, and there were 11 deputies. A deputy without a department – he doesn't know what to do. They just appointed him.
And now there is no such thing. There are no any meetings on Monday. He tried to conduct them and never appeared there. Postponed, postponed – then canceled. And he realized that he himself could not appear on Monday at 9. And if the boss does not appear on Monday at 9, then the subordinates do not appear on Monday at 9. And if they do not appear on Monday, then they do not appear on other days either. Then: you need to understand how other apparatus work. Where did we start? The general apparatus' reward with an involvement of the president, the head of the Verkhovna Rada, the prime minister, all the ministers, all the heads of the committees of the Verkhovna Rada, the security forces, the President's Office. And the question: "The head of the committee, who is to blame? Why didn't you sign? Tomorrow at 15:00. That's it." Any question ... And in the presence of these people you cannot lie, you cannot turn this around on someone else: "I am not me, the house is not mine." You must answer. And if you are lying, then surely someone will say that you are lying. Therefore, problems were solved at one time instantly in one place where everyone was present.
You started ... This is symbolism: the power has appeared. The president came and issued a decree on where we were going, what tasks he sets for the Cabinet of Ministers, for ministers, for the Verkhovna Rada. We started with this. It was very symbolic. In September 2019, Volodymyr Olexandrovych had a 75% rating in the first round ... not in the second round. Power ... But power can only be based on ideology. The authorities cannot hold on to empty PR.
And he doesn't understand. They tried it. Once they held this meeting at 17:00. Why at 17:00? Because until 17:00 we were holding all the meetings in the Cabinet of Ministers, in the Verkhovna Rada, the concilliation board, the day’s order for the next day, coordination ... And from 17:00, there, until the next morning, you can fix or do what you need now ... But you can’t appoint at 14:00, because they have a job, you will destroy their job. They prepare their questions. This is very subtle bullshit. So they all gathered ... Not now – at the beginning of the summer they gathered. Like, "the quarantine is over, we kind of won. Let's go back to what is good. Bogdan came up with something, but you still need to use something." They got together and did not know what to talk about. They had no questions for each other. "Good good". And if a question was raised, no one could assess whether it was true or not, lying – not lying, honest – not honest ...
Do I have a suspicion that Andriy Yermak is an agent of the GRU of the Russian Federation? I have no proof. I cannot talk about this
– Who is in fact in charge of the President's Office now? Andriy Yermak or someone else? Are there influence groups there?
– I tell you again: Mykola Tyshchenko.
– Haha. You're just trolling me.
– I don’t troll. This is really the smartest person among them.
– Good. I'll put the question to you differently.
– I swear to you that they wanted to make this person the head of the faction. This is a public manager. Not a gray cardinal. This is the public manager who determines the point of view of the entire faction.
– I cannot understand why they refused it then.
– September 1, 2020. Speaking from the rostrum of the Verkhovna Rada, People's Deputy Geo Leros ... By the way, is Geo Leros your man? Be honest.
– Look. This person was brought to the Verkhovna Rada by my deputy Kirill Timoshenko. I had a problem. When I went into my office, there were these portraits. I have a separate good phrase: "Guys, it's time to hang Zelensky's portrait. He will never ask for this, but he will be pleased."
– You said so?
– This is what I say now. Then he would be against it. But now he will say: "Oh, you should not?" – and he will smile satisfied. Look at him. And I needed to change the paintings. And there were, you know: the Soviet Union is in full swing: a collective farmer, a worker and a blast furnace. "Can I have something modern?" He says: "So we have art critic Geo Leros, our people's deputy." I told him: "Listen, can I have some paintings by young, modern Ukrainian artists?" He said: "Listen, they are for free, so that they hang here. Just a photo with you – and the price of their names grows immediately. Not even paintings. And if you are leaving, you will take it." That's all, we hung these pictures. That's how I met Geo Leros. And at that moment I took a photo in gratitude to him that he helped me in solving this problem.
– So Geo Leros is not your man?
– He is independent. No, this is not my man.
– September 1, 2020 ...
– Look. He's too addicted ...
– to? ...
– So he loves PR?
– September 1, 2020. Speaking from the rostrum of the Verkhovna Rada, People's Deputy Geo Leros called Yermak "the main corrupt official in the state, who heads the institute of the watching from Yanukovych times." Moreover, Leros directly said that Yermak was allegedly an agent of the GRU of the Russian Federation. What is true?
– Are you asking me?
– I will say as an experienced, professional lawyer: we cannot accuse anyone of committing crimes before the verdict is passed. But there are suspicions.
– Do you have a suspicion that Andriy Yermak is an agent of the GRU of the Russian Federation?
– I have no proof. I cannot talk about this.
– So you have no suspicions?
– These are different things: evidence and suspicion.
– Do you have any suspicions?
– I have suspicions, and thoughts, and many other things. But I cannot say it on the air, accuse the person of being a criminal.
– I have a steady feeling that a planned campaign is being waged against Andriy Yermak aimed at discrediting him. Please tell me: are you in charge of this campaign?
– Am I?
– Yes. Well that's the question.
– This is probably what Andriy Yermak told you.
– Look. Any of their fuckups, everything that happens to them ... They can't be guilty of anything. It's impossible. Therefore, everything that goes wrong for them: and they have something wrong every day ...
– Bogdan is to blame.
– Bogdan is to blame. This is already a meme. Look. You can go into Volodymyr Aleksandrovich's office, there, put a bunch of sh..t on the table, and if they ask you why you did it, you say: "Bogdan is to blame." And you will be told: "Yes! We knew."
– Once again: are you heading the campaign to discredit Andrei YYermak or not?
– I'm not in charge. I am not a PR man. I have no journalists. This is the last thing I would spend money on in my life. This is just nonsense. I don't see a campaign to discredit Yermak. A very important nuance. What I see – "Direct Channel" speaks very badly about the president, but there is not a word bad about Yermak. And let's take "112", "Zik", "NewsOne". The Cabinet of Ministers is generally a terrible evil, Zelensky is bad, but there is no word about Yermak.
– "Direct channel" does not say a bad word about Yermak ... So it is not Yermak who meets Poroshenko in "Sanahunt"?
– Have I heard such rumors that they met.
– Yermak with Poroshenko?
– Yermak with Poroshenko. You got me.
Two of my cars were burned. There is a motive for this: to scare me. And to scare not materially - to scare morally. And yes, I associate this with the officials of the President's Office
– On August 11, your Tesla was burned. On the fact of arson, criminal proceedings were opened. Let me remind you that Tesla is not just an electric car, but a real work of art: the most advanced and coolest car in the world. Who is, forgive me, the bastard who coveted at your beautiful Tesla? Who had a hand to ruin such a car?
– This is my favorite topic. First, you compare the two dates. You named them today: when I was fired on February 11th and when Tesla was burned.
– 11th August. Six months.
– Exactly, the same date.
– But it was not Volodymyr Zelensky who burned your Tesla, right?
– Let's we ourselves will decide who it was, we will conduct an investigative experiment, we will try to understand the motives and personality of the villain. This is definitely an organized criminal group – an organized criminal group that is characterized by a common intent and a clear distribution of roles.
– On this day ... It's a secret, I never told anyone. That night, at the same time in two different districts – in Dniprovsky and Sviatoshinsky – two of my cars were burned.
– Two. One is my personal car, which I gave to my brother. The white Tesla [model] S, because his personal car broke down. And the second car is the personal car Skoda Fabia – 19 years old, a blue coffin that only rides if kicked properly. "The hedgehog is a proud bird. Until you kick it, it won't fly." So is this like the 19–year–old Fabia. My driver reached the work on it and returned to his place at night.
– That is, two cars?
– Two cars. One night at the same time.
– This is a clear coincidence.
– Sure. It can't be like that.
– Now tell me. What's the point of burning a 19–year–old Skoda Fabia?
– To send you some sign.
– Yes. That is, these two cases are being investigated. These are two cases, two cars. This is a synchronized SMS that "we tracked not only you, but all your surroundings." And Tesla S was in a guarded parking lot two meters from the guard's booth. They approached in the direction so that they would not be seen from behind the car, squatted down, put a bag with combustible material right under the wheel, set it on fire. The wheel caught fire from the combustible material. And, it is aluminum there – it melts. There is no trunk, it just melted and spread. Cool. And they burned down the old car. Look, this level of collection of information can only be engaged in special services, exclusively.
– What do you mean?
– It couldn't be the bums who wanted to scare me.
– That is, the special services have collected information, transferred it somewhere. Who passed it on to some bums, again, professionally trained enough? They didn’t try to douse it with a can of gasoline. How would a common man do? He would have doused a can of gasoline and arson. Right?
– That is, In a guarded parking lot a bag with a professionally prepared flashing element is placed under the wheel in a pit where the guard cannot see. That is, he came up, hiding behind a car, set it on fire – and ran away. As long as the fuse is on, this is enough time for him to get in the car and drive away. That is, people were also preparing a crime: they professionally assigned roles. There is a motive for this: to scare me. And to scare not materially – to scare morally. And yes, I associate this with the officials of the President's Office.
– On your Facebook ...
– I only have questions. One question interests me: did Volodymyr Olexandrovych know that they were doing this, or did he not? And there are two answers. I think he didn't know. But then the responsibility is doubled: you take on a manager who uses the state resource, hiding behind you, to commit a crime. There are analogies in jurisprudence. When you commit a crime while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, when you say, “Sorry, I robbed because I was drunk,” that doesn't excuse you. This is plus a year for you. This is an aggravating circumstance. Do you understand? So if you didn't know, it's even worse. This is really bad.
– Will you ever know who the customer is and who are accomplices in this crime?
– Well, all the secret once becomes apparent.
How did Volodymyr Aleksandrovich learn the Ukrainian language so quickly and with such high quality? This is my pride
– Volodymyr Zelensky – what is he like? Please rate Volodymyr Olexandrovych as a person and as head of state.
– Volodymyr Olexandrovych is a very good person. He is sincere and good. As president, he also tries to do good. I don’t believe that there is any serious ... If he does something wrong, it’s probably due to a lack of knowledge. This is the problem: a good aspiration can be screwed up to the point of impossibility if you do not understand how to do it, and do not understand the algorithm, consequences, structure. That's how it works for them now.
I'm sure he wants good. He wants to increase pensions, increase salaries, build swimming pools in all rural schools, build asphalt, clubs, architectural monuments, tourist magnets ... But all this costs 100–200 billion dollars. Where will he get them? Nobody will give it to him. Just nobody will give. For this it is necessary to build an economy.
– Firstly, to spend a lot, you have to earn a lot. And they live on a different principle. How can a farmer start earning a lot? It is necessary to feed the cow less and to take more milk. That's how they live. You don't need two cows, three cows – you need less feed, so that it turns out cheaper, and make more milk yield.
– What are the strongest and weakest sides of Volodymyr Zelensky – the president? Is that where he is strong?
He is wonderful. This is the strongest producer, screenwriter, actor, I think, in the entire CIS, the former USSR.
– What about the weakest points?
He has absolutely no knowledge and no experience, he does not understand at all what is happening around him. Moreover, his weakness is that he closes in on a certain number of people and listens only to them. He has no second opinion, no third opinion. He wants to hear only good things. When he hears some problematic ...
– He gets nervous, huh?
– He gets nervous, he closes like a shell: "I'm in the house. We have no problems."
President’s weakness is that he closes in on a certain number of people and listens only to them. He has no second opinion, no third opinion. He wants to hear only good things. Photo by president.gov.ua
– How did Volodymyr Aleksandrovich learn the Ukrainian language so quickly and with such high quality?
– Yes, this is my pride.
– I'm a guy from Lviv. [switches to Ukrainian] I usually communicate with me family, with children in Ukrainian language.
–[in Ukrainian] And still in family also?
– Yes, I always speak Ukrainian, plus experience in government. What is your native language? This is the language you think in. Or another answer: "This is the language in which you dream." And also, in December ... Realizing that he will win ...
– December of the 18th year?
– In December of the 18th year, yes, realizing that he needed to conduct public communication in Ukrainian ... It was very difficult for him to speak. He knew the words, but that's it. Well, the man never talked. You can't even tell him anything. And I agreed with him. I explained that it was very necessary. He wanted to hire a teacher. But it's necessarily to have a time for the teacher and then more time to teach homework. And this is not interesting. I know for myself: learning English is easier when you speak it. There are different stages. When you make mistakes, you are corrected. Then, when you hear mistakes, you start correcting yourself. And then you start thinking in the language you have to speak. And here in December by me ... That is, I quarreled with all his friends. With all. I've been hated since then. But I forced everyone to speak Ukrainian in his presence
– That's the point. He hears me talking and he hears them. And he sees the difference. He begins to correct them.
– And you spoke Ukrainian?
– Constantly. For four months in my presence, no one had the right to speak in Russian. Poroshenko, knowing this issue, thought to catch him on this. And when there was this public communication at the stadium and he just ...
– He fought back.
– He fought back, he attacked in the Ukrainian language. Not only that, the third stage of penetration is when you start speaking Ukrainian on some professional issue, but you can't speak Russian on it. By the time we were talking, he had already started the third stage. This is a special terminology, the state terminology. These are terms that you know in Ukrainian, but you have never used in Russian. You just don't know them. And you can speak Ukrainian, and when you are asked to switch to Russian, you can't. Although you are Russian–speaking by nature, you have dreams in Russian, but you can only speak Ukrainian on a state topic. You have no choice. And he already had this stage: penetration. It was easier for him to speak Ukrainian than Russian.
Who is Zelensky's biggest personnel mistake? A very difficult question. There is a tragedy in general. It's a question of which piece of shit is prettie
– You headed a key body in the country, formed processes from within. Can you explain why President Zelensky has such a failed personnel policy? What prevents the appointment of real professionals with a reputation and name?
– Honestly, it will be difficult now.
– Well, as it is.
– I really hope that he will watch this interview – and he will learn something. [switches to Russian] I don't even hope ... I have to try.
– And that's noble of you, I'll note."
– He chose actors for 20 years. He was a producer, a screenwriter, an actor himself, he made films, he staged shows, he was mega–popular. Here he believes in his talent to choose the right people. But since he has been choosing the right actors for 20 years, he sees not a picture, but a keyhole – he chooses the types. He did not like Defense Minister Zagorodniuk because he did not look like the Minister of Defense. He really doesn't look like it. He looks like a businessman. But he must be a businessman. His task is the right contracts, a fair economy, a budget and buying what is needed, not what is profitable. And he needed a general, you know, so mustachioed, he has to walk, an eye looking into the distance, dull ... That's right. That's how he changed all the ministers.
He fired those he didn't like and recruited another for the role. And what's in their heads? .. Look. When the first ministers were elected, the task was different ... I know this very well. Each minister did not come alone – he came with a team. Five, six, seven people came and became his deputies. And each gave three papers: "What will I do by the end of the 2019th, what will I do in the 2020th, what will I do in three years." And everyone performed. The minister spoke, introduced his deputy, said what he wanted. And each deputy talked for three minutes about what he will do and how he sees the development of the industry. Minister of Transport: "I'm on the railway", "I'm on aviation", "I'm on donkeys" ...
– This is the right selection. How are they selected now? From what I hear: "Good ... This is good. I like it." What do you like about him? What's on his mind? And as a result, what do you have? A set of random people who are united only by the desire to steal something.
– Who is Zelensky's biggest personnel mistake?
– A very difficult question. It should be asked to Zelensky after all.
– Well, what is your opinion?
– I can't say. There is a tragedy in general. It's a question of which piece of sh..t is prettier.
– I know of one story. I will ask you how much it corresponds to reality. When the president was about to replace Oleksiy Honcharuk, he made an offer to Sergei Tigipko. Moreover, Tigipko did not want to go to the prime minister, and the president insisted. Tigipko has already agreed ... He has a normal business, a rich man. Why does he need be the premiere minister again? Nevertheless, he had already reached an agreement with his people, who also said: "Why do we need it?" Everything, has already formed a kind of government. He came to the president, and the president said to him: "Well, you are kind of lustrated. No, you can't." And Tigipko, as I was told, came out simply ashamed.
– Yes, I heard this story.
– It's true?
– I do not know. I was not present at these events. But yes, it seems to be true.
– Is it true that now they are going to change ...
– Look. The story is much worse. When he chose Tigipko, he knew that Tigipko was lustrated. I am a lustrated person. I was lustrated for protecting the interests of the state. I destroyed the corruption scheme of one person, who later turned out to be the author of the law on lustration. And now Volodymyr Olexandrovych Zelensky knows everything about lustration. Trust me.
– Why did he offer?
– Look. You can, there, change the wallpaper, you can change the direction, change the script ... They thought that they would decide: "This is bullshit. We will solve this issue." How are you going solve it?
– That is, he sincerely wanted to appoint Tigipko?
– Yes. There is a problem. You see ... He is for this all the time ... Again, this is a personnel problem. You have an algorithm of actions like this, but it does not work in the civil service. He believes that parting with people can be the same as before. That is, he took the actor – he did not like the actor, he called him: "That's it, you don't work." This is the way it is in that profession. He didn't even call. I crossed it out – that's all. And managers will sort it out among themselves.
And that's how he lives here. And this is the number of problems ... That is, the governor goes to Kyiv to Kolomoisky ... The governor goes to Kyiv to Zelensky for a meeting. And now he is four and a half hours on the road, and the radio tells him that the president has fired him. The governor turns around and drives back four and a half hours. Look. I shouted: "Volodymyr Olexandrovych, you have made a decision. There is an algorithm of actions. You have to call him, say thank you, ask where he sees himself, promise some kind of algorithm of work." For this, the NSDC was invented – a cemetery for downed pilots.
– For a professional bureaucrat, honest, having a salary is a lot. They didn't live in business, they don't know how to make money. "I am glad that you fired me. Thank you. I went to earn money and sleep well."
– And for these people it is important. They are not carriers of information. They appear ... "Look. They will answer you somehow later. It's not allowed."
I know for sure that last three months they actively worked on the question how to remove Avakov
– Is it true that the resignation of the Cabinet of Ministers – of the entire Cabinet of Ministers – is currently being considered with one goal: to finally remove Avakov?
– I don't know if it's true or not. Ask Avakov. But I know for sure that they have been actively involved in this issue for the last three months. That is, there was already an attempt to remove Avakov directly in the Verkhovna Rada, they collected votes there. They didn't succeed. They realized that they would not collect. And now the topic of the Cabinet of Ministers is being discussed.
– They don't want Avakov anymore?
– There is another problem.
– Which one?
– As I say: there is an algorithm for dismissing people who have a pro–Western position. Avakov is the control of the street. Just look who's getting fired. These are people with pro–Western views on the development of the country. The last one who independently and clearly fixes his position is Avakov. And Avakov is key. What do smart people say, what do they say? They report that Russia's plan for Ukraine is not a direct military aggression.
– Hybrid warfare.
– This is the creation within the situation of chaos, uncontrollability. Just track the events: hostage–taking, shooting, fights, “Opposed platform – For life" is fighting. What is the fight about? What didn't you share? Yes, they did not share anything. Why did you fight? It is also not clear. Chaos is created here. And during such chaos, the one who controls the street is the one who determines whose riot police, in what form and who will make them leave.
– In this case, can we talk about a possible Russian revenge on the territory of Ukraine?
– I think that Russia's task is not revenge. The task of Russia ... This has already happened in our history. There was Maidan, there was Yushchenko, and then there was Yanukovych, because they came and said: "Well, this is a mess, they are not adequate." That is Russia's task now – to lift sanctions from itself. The level of sanctions that exists and is likely to be escalated gives them three more years of time. Further it is going to be an economic self–destruction. In these three years, they need to resolve the issue of sanctions. How to resolve the issue of sanctions? Show: "Guys, look. They are not adequate."
– "They are under–state."
– "Guys, ask us to put things in order there. We are not at war with them. They cut each other themselves. So for what the sanctions on us?" This is the plan. And I see its implementation.
– Is it true that in the nearest future Andriy Yermak will take the post of Prime Minister, Irina Venediktova – Minister of Justice, and Ivan Bakanov – Head of the President's Office?
– They write and tell a lot of things. I do not have any confirmation and information. But you must understand that in chaos an idea is born in the morning, discussed at lunchtime, and dies in the evening. Perhaps these conversations were three weeks ago. Whether they are still alive today, nobody knows.
– The flight of the president to Oman –was it real?
Was it real? A man all his life ... he spent half of his life abroad. It was physiologically painful for him to be here. Plus, you know, it's a profession with freedom when you go where you want, do what you want, say what you want ...
– And you don't report to anyone.
– And then the rules, rules, rules ... He's just tired. He wanted to go to the sea. This is how I see it.
– But knowing the history of Poroshenko with the Maldives, is it possible to tell the society: "I'm going to Oman to have a rest"? And everyone would say: "It's okay, has the right."
– Volodymyr Olexandrovych should have understood that it would become known anyway?
– Look, there is no good solution. He shouldn't have gone to Oman. Under no circumstances.
– Why didn't you fly with him?
– It was already New Year. There already was ...
– It's true: that you wanted to give him the plane for quick return?
– Yes, I insisted: "Let's send our state plane. And at least your return will not be tragic. There is every reason for the president to return to the country on a state Ukrainian plane. This cannot be negotiated." But it seems to me that we do not miss any chance to repeat a mistake. Now, if we left some mistake unrepeated and we notice it with a peripheral vision than we will definitely come back and repeat it.
Is it true: that I renovated Yushchenko's residence for President Zelensky at my own expense? Don't ask me such questions
– One more thing: the cornerstone of this – the stone – is the president's move to a new residence, which was previously occupied by President Yushchenko. That is, Volodymyr Olexandrovych said that "I will live like everyone else." Which, in general, I think is wrong. Because the president needs appropriate guarding, means of communication, security, and so on. That is, he could not live either in his previous house or in the apartment he occupied. And I understand that he had to move to the residence. It is just that it probably should have been explained to the society. Right? By him, personally.
– Yes. Look. The author of the idea of the move was me. And I did not ask, but insisted, because, firstly, he cannot live in that private cottage town where he lived.
– How to guard?
– This is the guard, this is the president, this is ... To arrange a provocation for the special services of other countries, to discredit the president ... Yes, to kill a cat and plant it. Thousands of options. And there are no special conditions for access, security, safety, telephone communication. Something will explode – how will he talk? There is no special communication. These guards, who are on the street in cars, and demonstrations that walk ... This is a danger to the state, not to the individual. Therefore, he must live at the state residence, he likes it or not. This is his responsibility. It's just when we talk, and then we start thinking: "You shouldn't have promised that. You can't promise that ...".
– Well, maybe he didn't like just moving to the same Yushchenko residence. Because there was a decoration that Viktor Andriiovych wanted. He lived in it. It was...
– It was horror there, nightmare.
– Have the dacha been repaired?
– They told me ... I don't know, but they say that a goat lived inside the house right there. She walked around the house there and did all her chores where she liked.
– Well, that's right.
– There fishes lived with him, geese ... There was a house in general ...
– Was the house renovated after Viktor Andreevich?
– Very difficult question.
– I'm not just asking. I will now ask a very difficult question ...
– Don't ask me a difficult question.
– Is it true: that you renovated Yushchenko's residence for President Zelensky at your own expense?
– Don't ask me such questions.
– Well, say "I won't answer this question."
– I don't answer such stupid questions.
– Good. I'll ask you an even stupider question. Is it true: that you were promised a refund for the repair?
– I don't answer stupid questions.
– Then an even more stupid question. Is it true that you still haven't received the money you spent on renovating Viktor Yushchenko's residence for Volodymyr Zelensky?
– I’m telling you: I don’t answer stupid questions.
– Tell me please, does Volodymyr Olexandrovych realize that there is a concept of ratings and a concept of a result? And what is more important for him: ratings or result?
– What is more important to him? He lived for 20 years in universal adoration: applause, love ...
– Sincere adoration.
– Yes. And this is addictive. This is the problem of the first Cabinet of Ministers – working in turbo mode. And my problem is that we have been creating these problems all the time. We voted for something, then someone came, demanded something, a manifestation ... Someone spoke on TV, and on Facebook he read that someone didn't like it. But the whole problem is that all the popular reforms in this country have already been done. It remains to make unpopular reforms. When you have such a credit of trust, you have to do everything quickly, in a year and a half. It will be bad at first, but in two or four years, by the end of your cadence, they will adore you and erect monuments to you. Only such an algorithm. There is no other. If the railway employs 150 thousand workers, but only 30 thousand are needed...
– Then we need to cut 120 thousand.
– Then we need to cut 120 thousand. Of course, there will be a union, this is ... But you can't feed 150 thousand. Feed, but then it's not a business.
– You can explain to society.
– Then this is not a business. Don't lie that this is a business. Then it's a subsidy company. Take it out and put it down. Take it out from where? From the budget. "How much is there? That, let’s say 100 billion." You can fantasize endlessly. I can tell you about state mines ... This is the problem of this country. We do not solve the problem, we have been putting it aside for 30 years. The cost of a ton of coal – I do not know how much it is now – conditional 1400 hryvnia. There are only two mines in the profitability zone. 28 – the cost of coal is much lower. And there, at the end, the cost of a ton of coal is 30 thousand hryvnia.
– And this means that the mines must be closed.
– 30 thousand invested and sold for 1400. This means that the mines must be closed. This is the problem of England, this is the problem of Russia, this is the problem of Germany. It is very expensive. It is more expensive to pay the salaries, and let them not do a damn thing, than to build some factories so that they start working there. But this must be done. And we don't do it. And in February I was already fired, I calmly watched my TV, enjoyed my life, and he went to a meeting of some trade unions of miners. Got to the tribune and went on: "We will build mines, energy independence, we will invest in mines, raise wages ..." They are there, of course, happy: they clap. Nobody ever promised them that. It is a dream, this is a fairy tale.
Have you invested a lot in six months? This is not possible. Mine is a very difficult structure. Billions have to be invested there in order to open lava for years. But they are all exhausted. There is equipment ... There are billions of dollars. These billions are missing. And it's pointless to invest there. By the way, this is a whole science. This is the task of the NSDC. Where are we going? What will be the energy?
– Yes. What should we build: nuclear power plants, "green" plants, or what? The energy problem in today's world is batteries. There, the cost of production approaches zero if you have batteries. And if they are not, then you must maintain the level of consumption every minute.
When some schema–makers in his environment emerges with him, he turns everything into a joke. He does not punish, he says: "Well, they are our guys."
– Andriy, are there people that President Zelensky is afraid of?
– In a good sense of the word – Lena. In a good way, honestly. He is not a coward.
– But is he afraid of Lena?
– In a family way – yes. I mean, not personnel, not bureaucratic, not politically, but in a family way. That's good, that's right.
– In my understanding, for all his mistakes and such, global, personnel including, Volodymyr Aleksandrovich remains an honest, pure person, not involved in corruption. Is this really so?
– I really, really, really want to believe it. And I try very, very hard to convince myself of this.
– And are there some questions?
– But what I know for sure: when some schema–makers in his environment emerges with him, he turns everything into a joke. He does not punish, he says: "Well, they are our guys." It’s not from a past life, it’s not going to work. With me this ... I did not even understand it, I immediately chopped off my shoulder, without even speaking. But what I see now from different points of view, from different sources ... He translates bad stories into a joke. Where it is necessary to punish, he is silent. He does not even keep silent – he pretends that he does not understand what is happening. He understands, but pretends that ...
– What can this indicate?
– It indicates that it will all end badly. Economic, political, financial condition ... The number of critical problems is multiplying, they do not solve them – they multiply them. The problem of corruption began to sound very, very loud. Probably, you can cover up some schematics of your environment. Probably, it will work out for some time, but the problem is different: the one who gave the bribe, he walks and tells it to everyone. And the one from whom they demanded a bribe – extortion – complains to everyone. And there were no corruption scandals in Viktor Fedorovich's society. Zero.
– There were no scandals, yes.
– But the society was so electrified that an accidental Maidan happened, right? The problem is not in the political vector, but in corruption. This began to penetrate everywhere. The penetration rate is very fast. A person who has encountered corruption will infect 50 more people with this information in a week: his employees, his relatives, his friends. They tell further. And this poison penetrates: it is simply physiologically felt now.
– In the President's Office ... I wouldn't even put it that way. Is there corruption in Volodymyr Zelensky's inner circle?
– Ask this question to Volodymyr Zelensky.
– What do you think so?
– I am a lawyer. I will not be able to answer. Because I am a professional lawyer. Corruption is when there is a court verdict.
– But do you think that it exist, or do you not?
– It seems to me yes. When something seems, you need to be baptized. But there is a persistent narrative. Look. There are markers that are very important. What is corruption in the state? These are state–owned enterprises.
– The minister – he himself has nothing to steal. He has no money there. Money is stolen at state–owned enterprises and at the central executive authorities, which distribute money and issue licenses. This is where we need to look at how to fight corruption in state enterprises. State enterprises must be sold.
– Yes. The owner will control his business. Or the owner will change. And the owner will be changed until an effective one is found.
– The state is not an effective owner. For 30 years in this state, they have been fighting for power only in order to place their managers in state enterprises. Values and everything else are just problems. Here. The Minister of Economy in the Cabinet of Ministers of Honcharuk handed over several thousand enterprises for privatization. Cabinet of Ministers of Shmygal recalled it and returned back. I don’t want to lie: there is a number ... In my opinion, 130 ... So that I would not be unfounded.
– This is interesting.
– Yes, there is corruption. I didn't catch anyone's hand. Heard a lot. Why do you need state enterprises? You publicly said 100 times that those should be privatized. Let's take the directors of these state enterprises. And there are all the connections: you can't hide your life.
Volodymyr Zelensky likes being president. The talks about a second term have already begun.
– Andriy, please tell me: does Volodymyr Zelensky like being president?
– Volodymyr Zelensky likes being president. I'm just not so sure right now what he likes. In my opinion, he likes it now. What I saw before the end of February is that the talks about a second term have already begun. I don't understand why talk about it at all. This is PR nonsense, which is more stupid than anything can be thought of. Four more years, you still don't know what will happen. You can still be ... How did the first president of Ukraine transfer power?
– Early election.
– Democratic elections. Second?
– Maidan happened.
– Democratic elections.
– The fourth?
– Democratic elections.
– A bad trend, however.
– The math is bad. How can you in the first year of your cadence? .. Still without understanding anything, not understanding at all what is happening around you, you are talking about the second term.
– But now he likes it?
– At that time, he really liked it. Now I also think he likes it, but it's a warm bath effect. When problems start, he ...
– Now you spoke about the problems that will inevitably begin, in your opinion. We already see that Volodymyr Olexandrovych is gray–faced, in general. I see that it is hard for him. Bags under the eyes, less joy and so on. Maybe at one fine moment, under the influence of circumstances, Zelensky gets up, say "I'm sorry, I didn't make it" – and leave?
– I will answer this way, more difficult. When you go your way of a samurai, you must understand where you are going. If there is no goal, then, in principle, the best way out is to stand still. Right? Where are Volodymyr Zelensky and his team going? Where are they going? No one knows. Even Volodymyr Zelensky. There is a set of common phrases: "We are for all good, against all bad." But that's good for song and for performances, but not for public policy. Algorithm of actions: what do you want?
I have an algorithm of actions. First, you need to drive out swindlers from your environment. Kick them out to the extent that let them leave somewhere in other countries. It's unavoidable. And the sooner you do this, the more chances you have to remain a person in the history of Ukraine. Second: you need to appoint a professional Cabinet of Ministers, which is independent of you, of your views, which bears personal responsibility, politically, publicly and personally. You do not have knowledge and I do not have knowledge.
There is no person who knows everything. This means that in this case the parliamentary committee – not the Servant of the People faction, but the parliamentary committee – must determine who will be the profile minister. "This is the profile, and we are responsible for it politically. Give me three signatures of the people's deputies that guarantee him. And if he fails, then they resign." Then the committee and ministers will work in conjunction and be responsible for each other. And this political Cabinet should be independent from the Office of the President. And the third thing I wanted to build in this country. It almost worked out, but practically it doesn't work. We have a problem: all our presidents appoint a prime minister, and then they start fighting with them.
– Tug of power, bickering, trash talks, clarifications of relationships, and as a result, running on the spot. Right? It was necessary to create a unified decision–making algorithm, a rigid presidential vertical, as in Russia, as in other countries. There is a person who is a guarantor who determines what is good and what is bad. And there are people who clearly fulfill the assigned tasks. Did not work out. I'll finish. Then we must try another one. There should not be a mixed form, but a parliamentary republic. This means that the prime minister, as in Germany, is an elected Chancellor: she has all the fullness of power, the president has ceremonial functions. Make changes to the Constitution, create such a working model.
– And stay the president without powers.
– Remain the president without power, but you will forever be in the history of Ukraine. You will be the person who was not grabbing and destroyed, but who created. Who found the strength to create it and it remained forever a working model.
Who can come instead of Volodymyr Zelensky? Only I
– Volodymyr Zelensky can one day – tomorrow, for example – stand up and say: "Ukrainians, sorry, I overestimated my capabilities. I'm leaving"? As Yeltsin said, "I'm tired – I'm leaving."
– I think ... Look. For him to do this, he needs some kind of victory. Here he must do something, after which he can leave.
– So theoretically he can?
– Yes. But as a winner. I know his character, believe me. With a high degree of probability, it can end very badly in general. With the financial chaos that is today, some political fairy tales cannot defeat the refrigerator.
– Okay, Let’s...
– Look. He believes he is going to bring peace.
– It's impossible.
– It's already impossible. He wants to bring some kind of financial and economic growth.
– He thinks it will be his door. This is no longer possible. It's lost. You just don't need to waste strength and energy on what you have already lost. The last door remains: this is a change in the constitutional structure of the country, which will bring peace and order to the country. This is a parliamentary republic and decentralization: when the regions themselves decide how to live. In a good way. One army, one state language, one foreign policy. Well, the States somehow live.
– Yes, and nothing.
– And France lives, and Italy lives, and Germany lives, and Switzerland lives. They live well. So, let's not invent a bicycle by welding a piece of a tractor, a piece of an airplane, a piece of sh.t and a piece of a box.
– Let's copy the Mercedes right away.
– Yes, let's take the Mercedes and copy it. And if he does it, it may be the last door through which he emerges victorious. Everyone will applaud him, and we will have the streets of Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
– Suppose that under the influence of financial circumstances, when everything is bad in the country, God forbid, he gets up and leaves. Who can come instead of him? Do you see such figures today?
– Name, please.
– Political advertising. Can I name myself?
– Yes, of course.
– Then just me. No, seriously, society has been shared. Our position has always been ideological centrists. Centrism ... You see, Pyotr Alekseevich is in extreme right–wing Nazism, nationalism.
– Yes, he's already there.
– He rolled down there.
– And Poroshenko's revenge is impossible?
– I'm afraid of him. All people are afraid. “Opposite platform For life” is on the far left.
– There are 10–15%. But centrism is not in demand. As soon as a strong leader appears here, in centrism ...
– But there are already some figures?
– I see four.
– Let's name them.
– If there is an enchanting election campaign, if he stops talking about Kyiv, but talks about life, if he speaks beautifully and creates a team, he has a potential.
– Klitschko – one.
– Groisman – two.
– Probably I can't say that.
– You can.
– Dima Razumkov.
– Andriy Portnov.
– Andriy Portnov?
– It's left.
– You call him a man who can apply for the presidency?
– It's such a dark horse. You will be surprised when he starts. I definitely feel it.
– Interesting. Four figures. I accepted. Local elections. You wanted...
– Not an exclusive list. I understand that many are not there today. But here you know what's important? It’s important to do in time here. Not too early and not too late.
– And so their eyes sparkle. Right?
And so that the eyes sparkle. Look. I have named four figures here. Two center–right and two center–left.
– And only Klitschko's eyes sparkle out of four of them, it seems to me.
I have not seen him, I have not communicated with him. I do not know. I don't see it yet. With Klitschko – there is generally a different story.
Will we win the elections? Totally. 75%. Put a stool, put on "Ze-team" - and the mayor is wonderfu"
– We'll talk now. I want to talk about Klitschko. I know you wanted to do local elections together with parliamentary ones. It's true?
– No, not together with parliamentary ones. I wanted to make them in the fall of 2019. Many people will not like this story now. I probably shouldn’t tell it.
– You should.
– But this is a story about performance. About what I understand, what should have been done, how should have been done. And I am definitely sure of the result. In the fall, it was necessary to pass a law and hold local elections. Of course, I convinced of this in every possible way. And smart, beautiful professors came to me with medals like this, with a flag, a hat like this... They work with us, there, they are with different deputies, ministers. They say, "Unconstitutional." Who are you, the Constitutional Court, what are you going to say, what is constitutional and what is not constitutional? Adopt the law – will the CEC accept it? Will be. Will the elections be held? They will. Will we win the elections? Totally. 75%.
– Of course, then yes.
That's all, damn it. I laughed: "Put a stool, put on "Ze–team "– and the mayor is wonderful."
– Well, it was like that.
– So it was, so it was done.
– "Stools" and passed.
– This is again non–sexual ecstasy. When the boys, the photographers... We laughed over them.
– Of course, housekeepers.
– They generally came – and so, in one gate. And they were afraid to utter a word. Look. All the sociologists had a hard night there. Because they were called. It's different there. Then they came and complained to me: "Ivan Ivanovich, you are so good, here is such a man. He built a road, built a garden, there are benches, there is a playground, they dug potato and brought me ..."
– "But we vote for" Ze "".
– "Will you be to vote for me?" – "Of course. We'll vote for Zelensky." – "So, who is from Zelensky?" – “I don’t know. We will vote for Zelensky. Are you from Zelensky?” – "No, I’m not from Zelensky". – "Ah, no, then we won't." Algorithm. There was a set of ideology. Do you understand?
– Zelensky was already in power. They also tried to multiply us by zero. We were registered as "the political party" Servant to the people "". And there PP, Limited Liability Company, private owner "Servant to the people" ... In short, there were a lot of all sorts of doubles.
– Did not work.
– Nothing succeeded. Just a set of messages that simply, in a simple way, clearly explained everything.
– You said about local elections, that they should have been held in October.
– Yes. They said: "So the law is recognized as unconstitutional." Look, you're not the Constitutional Court. They admit, they do not admit, when it will be, will it be ... We also conducted the elections of people's deputies through the Constitutional Court.
– Yes, and nothing.
– Nice, and done without any there ... We did everything right. So, we held the elections, started the parliament, took the oath – and we are working. It's good that I didn't succeed.
They want to appoint Irina Vereshchuk as the head of the KMDA, leaving Klitschko as the de facto speaker of the Kyiv City Council without the ability to control directly
– In July 2019, you claimed that Klitschko "lost control of the capital and cannot cope with the onlookers in the Kyiv City Council." You also said that one of the Kyiv watchers suggested that you divide $ 40 million from the capital's budget and not touch Klitschko. The mayor is suing you. How did the trial end?
– There was no lawsuit. Probably, they are something somewhere in the wrong place. That's not what I said. And this is, in principle, a real story. I was approached by lawyers who said that there is a business project, and if nothing is twitching now, then, in principle, they are ready to draw up an extension – then everything will be fine. It was not a lunge towards Klitschko. Klitschko does not agree. I had a very tough ideological conversation with him in my office.
– You weren't afraid that he might? .. No?
– Yes, I have long ceased to be afraid. He's a sane dude.
– Well, of course.
– If you will talk to him – ask. I do not believe that he will lie. I think he will tell the truth. I invited him and said: "Vitaly Volodymyrovich, look. We are the new government. We came under the slogan" honesty. "And we really do not steal. I will not ask you to do something and I will not change anything for you, but if what happens to you now happens, then everyone will say that you have agreed it with us. And in some of yours ... I don’t know, you’re in the share, not in the share, you know, you don’t know ... It doesn’t matter. Negative information will fall on us. And I don’t want that. Please. I don’t care who the mayor of Kyiv. Whom the people of Kyiv want, let them elect. The less I hear about it, the I will live more calmly. I already have enough problems in my life. Make it so that they say to me: “That's it, there are no watchmen.” And he went.
We fought. He didn't even understand why we were fighting. This is a separate story. But today I know that he has significantly improved the situation. I really hope that he will become independent in this election. He will not be able to be blackmailed by some groups within the Kyiv City Council, who need to saw off something, give it away, forgive in exchange for their vote. Then he will become mayor, then he will work honestly. I hope so.
– Question. Is it true that Volodymyr Zelensky does not physiologically like Vitali Klitschko?
I can't say that. On the contrary. The problem of Klitschko and the relationship between me, Klitschko and Zelensky, who did not understand at all, as always, what was happening ...
– Who did not understand? Zelensky?
Zelensky did not understand what was happening. They thought all the time that I wanted to grab something in order to share something.
– In Kyiv?
– I need nothing. To be honest, my life is much easier now than when I was in office. At times easier. If you earn honestly, then, in principle, it only bothers you. According to the Constitution and according to the laws, the heads of the city's regional administrations and the city of Kyiv are more important in front of the newly elected president. I yelled, I asked: "Guys, fire him!" And right there, on the same day, decree number 39 and decree number 40: "Assign him back." "This is the norm of the Constitution. You bang your head against the wall, but it demands."
– Did not do.
– Did not do. Because they did not want to take on political responsibility for Klitschko, and they did not want to remove him either. It's public, Klitschko said it. This man asked him to appoint his man to the position of head of the department of development. This means stalls.
– Who is this man?
– These are direct words of Klitschko. Publicly he said.
– Did he give his name?
– Yes. I'm talking about something else. As far as I know, the plan of the President's Office is now: Irina Vereshchuk is entering the second round. It is clear that she is going to lose there. Sociology cannot be fooled and nothing can be corrected. Well, only if some aliens arrive. And so – zero chances. But if she enters the second round, then they want to appoint Irina Vereshchuk as the head of the KMDA, leaving Klitschko as the de facto speaker of the Kyiv City Council without the ability to control directly ...
– The British Queen.
Yes. No. It's like a speaker and prime minister. One does – where he spends, and the second – how he spends. But they don't understand the difference between 2019 and 2020. Now you can't do it anymore.
– Yes, in Kyiv it will cause ...
– The Constitution says: "Before the newly elected president." The presidential decree contains an article about the newly elected president. Well, since you have already made a political mistake, since you have already assumed political responsibility, then in 2020 you cannot do this. There is no link to local elections. Not to be reassigned after local elections , but after president electin. That’s all. Therefore, this action is unconstitutional and will create chaos. And creating chaos at this difficult time in the capital, where all the Maidans are, is very, very wrong.
"Servants of the people" will lose local elections. There will be a total loss. They are now considering the possibility of postponing, canceling local elections
– The Ukrainian publication Babel claims that, despite last year's conflict with Vitali Klitschko, you will support Vitaly Volodymyrovich in the elections in Kyiv. Is it true? And if so, what will be your help?
– How can I support him? If only with a kind word. No, I have no relationship with Vitali Klitschko. He takes offense at me.
– I think yes. Although this is different. You see, he's a boxer. He understands not a covert game, but a fair fight, a fight. So, I had a fight with him.
– I honestly said what I think to him. He said to my eyes what he thinks. But that was fair. And now this is an undercover activity with him. I don't think he likes what is happening now.
– Have you had any desire to nominate yourself for the post of mayor of Kyiv?
– There was such a desire. But, you know, this is a lot of money. Do you know how much one billboard costs? $ 500 a week. I can't spend money on this, I don't want to and I won't. I have a question ... The businessmen are no longer giving him money – I am telling you for sure, 100%.
– "Servants of the people", right? Well, they will lose all the elections, apparently local ones.
– Where do billboards all over the country come from?
– Where from?
– From a camel.
– Who is the camel?
– And the camel is a horse in a coat.
– Will the "Servant of the People" lose local elections in large cities?
– There will be a total loss. It's not that I'm saying something – that's what they know for sure. They are now considering the possibility of postponing, canceling local elections. As small children, they talk about it seriously.
– Due to the coronavirus.
– There are algorithms of actions. This is impossible ... What is impossible – no need to waste time talking. But they don't know what is impossible and what is possible. Petro Oleksiiovych tried to cancel the elections.
– Did not work out.
– Algorithm of actions. What is needed for that? The decision of the NSDC, the supervised situation, the vote by the Verkhovna Rada. Can you go through this algorithm of actions? Is there an oversight of the coronavirus situation? Why didn't you introduce a superficial situation in the spring, when there were 100 cases there? And now there are three thousand.
– And is it possible that more cases can appear?
– This is a separate topic: coronavirus. I think this is a totally failed policy. This is a populist total. Yes, this is popular: a strong president saves the country, shut everyone home, shut down business. Here, damn it, saved. Saved ... The economy was ruined, there is no money, people are unhappy.
– And there are infected.
– And the amount of sick people is growing. I don’t know how to do it right, but probably somewhere a balanced approach. Probably it was not necessary to forbid walking in the parks. There are some markers. It should be specialists. This is not PR. I do not understand what to do next. What now? Money was paid from the covid fund for the construction of roads. Do you know how much of the covid fund was paid to teachers? And all the carriers ... Look: I had had covid, but I did not know.
– Have you been ill?
– Yes, I went for an antibody test – I have antibodies. When I was ill, it is unknown. I didn't feel it. The younger you are, the less chance of symptoms. Children endure without problems practically. And who are our teachers? What age are they? How do you protect them? Does the teacher in the village have money for antiseptics, for a mask, for tests, for protection, gowns? I'm not kidding. She risks her life. There is? Did you give money? No, you didn't. Zero, zero.
Extra payments for doctors – right, but teachers do not need to pay extra? So, they have the riskiest thing now. So, you either give money and help, or do not drive the children to school. Remove the cross, or wear panties. Something must be decided. I understand, elections, roads must be built, airplanes are flying ... But social problems must also be solved along the way.
Any next revolution will be associated with territorial losses
– Andriy, a little bit of personal questions. You have four daughters. What are they doing?
– I won't tell.
– You met with Anastasia Slichnaya ...
– I won't tell.
– Good. You are divorced, single, an enviable groom. Do you have a girlfriend now?
I won't tell. You want to ruin it for me, damn it. Let it all be a mystery.
– Looking back, after all you have experienced, do you regret this or that action? Would you do the same thing now, or would you change something? I mean the period of leadership of the Office of the President.
– Very hype two years. These are emotions that no money will give you. For no amount of money, you can buy the emotions that I experienced.
– And change something ... You know, this is the highest form of pleasure when you do the impossible and when everyone understands it. What would I change? .. Some little things. On the whole, you know, I'm happy with my life. Very satisfied.
– Alexey Honcharuk told me that he saw you after your resignation, and you were in an emotionally difficult situation. Now, seven months later, are you offended by Zelensky Volodymyr Olexandrovych?
– I have no such feeling. I'm not offended. If I think that someone is wrong, I answer. I always answer. I always answer. If I think someone is unworthy of an answer, then I am not wasting my time. In this case, now, I want to convey ...
Why did I come to the interview with you? I want to convey a message to politicians, bureaucrats, society: everything is really going in the wrong direction with us. We will really have problems. And if we all do not answer the wishes now that “no, this is wrong, we need to go there,” then we can ... Any next revolution will be associated with territorial losses. I didn't say that.
– I agree with it. I agree absolutely. Please tell me are you a vindictive person?
– No, I will take revenge and forget.
– I mean now, many people will watch our interview – and say: "He probably criticizes Zelensky, because he has grudge. Both Zelensky and the president's closest associates." Is that so or not?
– And what is the insult? Not. I have no grudge against them. It is a critical appraisal of what is happening. This is the message. But since we are not communicating, this is a public message that it is time to think. There is still time left not to break your head. There is still time to try it a little.
– Do you regret that you supported Volodymyr Zelensky?
– You would vote now ...
– This country would not have survived Poroshenko's second term.
– Yes, definitely.
– Already for this ...
– It was worth it.
I am very afraid ... And this is already, you know, so ... I'm a guy from Lviv. They begin to say that he ... I want to convey to the deputies that if you blindly fulfill the will of idiots, not Volodymyr Olexandrovych ... He is a moral authority, but complete idiocy is hammered into his ears. If you blindly follow the will of the idiots, then very soon you will be beaten in your regional and district centers. Both your children and your family members will be morally terrorized. And if you do not believe in this, then go to the professional deputies who are not new in the parliament and ask. They will tell you how to live in this environment.
– Would you vote for Volodymyr Zelensky today?
– What do you mean "today"? There would be a different set of candidates today.
– If Poroshenko and Zelensky.
– Definitely for Zelensky. I am not criticizing his moral qualities. He's a good guy, really. I considered him my friend.
– Not now?
– Not now. But even now I would vote for him. He has time ... I don't want to have anything to do with it. I won't go there for a cannon shot. But he needs to wake up a little. The President is not a sleeping beauty. It is very difficult. It is necessary to delve into this, it must be understood and every issue must be understood. You cannot change "good or bad" to "like or dislike".
Volodymyr Olexandrovych, I understand: you will not hear these difficult words. Before it's too late please wake up
– I tried it carefully ...
– I have already, in my opinion, talked enough for two revolutions.
– No normal. I carefully analyze the film "Servant of the People". Doesn't he seem prophetic to you? Considering what happened next there.
– Why "prophetic"? It was created by Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelensky. That's what's in his head.
– After being elected president, do you remember what was in the film?
– The question before that was about the same. I'm telling you that before it's too late, you have to wake up.
– But you can still save something?
– At least you can somehow smooth it out. This can no longer be fixed – it can only be somehow smoothed out. Not like this, but like this.
– Will Volodymyr Zelenskyy be included in the history books?
– Exactly, 100%. The question is – who will he be there.
– Ex–President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili told me in an interview that you wanted to do something useful for the country, but did not use your chance. Here is his direct speech: "I like the pressure and persistence of Bogdan. He wanted to do something, probably good, but his methods are not always good. Whether he has any political future, I do not know, to be honest." Do you agree with his assessment?
– You know, I'm with Misha ... I also have very positive feelings for him. I went to see him in Georgia when he was president. Together with Sergei Leonidovich Tigipko, who was the head of the delegation. I went with him to the President of Georgia Saakashvili.
– So you understand everything.
– Wonderful person. And I trust him. And he’s probably right about something. I guess I was too emotional. Probably, I somehow chopped off the shoulder. There is no other way. I would like not to do anything, to be clever, but it would have gotten into it even earlier ... Just analyze when the turbo mode was and when it ended, when the ministers stopped being ministers, but became puppets, when the deputies stopped engaging in public policy and began to engage bullshit.
Ex-Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andrii Bogdan, People’s deputy form “Servant ofthe People” Elizaveta Yas’ko and Mikheil Saakashvili, former President of Georgia, chairman of the executive committee of the National Council for reforms under the President of Ukraine. Photo by Andrii Bogdan / Facebook
I want to answer him. Has he done a lot in the Office in two months now? How are customs reforms? Is it okay? Misha, maybe it's time to honestly tell yourself and people? He came out with an official speech: like "I'm leaving for Georgia." Misha, what have you been doing for two months? I know what you did. And I know what he did honestly.
– Yes, the Office is working.
– Why didn't you succeed, Misha? And why is there nowhere at customs: getting better and better? So tell people: either you are not capable, or maybe ...
– They don't give you.
– So, maybe you're not stubborn? Maybe you've become lethargic? Are you dishonest with society? Maybe you compromise, Misha?
– Can we expect a new political project from you?
– You can expect anything from me.
– It's not because I am. I am telling you: I've been gone for seven months. This is the first interview. This is the first time I talk to journalists. I already forgot how. I was scared the first time I saw you.
– But it turned out not so scary.
– No, not that. But for seven months the surname Bogdan has not disappeared from the information space.
– You left a bright trace. Is the brightest in your life behind or is it still ahead?
– The best, of course, is yet to come. Listen, what are you ... The only thing that I definitely don't know how to do is to get bored. And my friends, and even exes, I will not give them such joy. They will not be bored.
– Andriy, I am grateful to you for a very interesting, informative interview. I want to say that people about whom you spoke flatteringly or not flatteringly today during the interview, can absolutely count on the fact that I will provide them with my platform, my platform so that they can speak. This is normal, it is democratic. You know, I would like to finish outside the box. When was the last time you saw Volodymyr Olexandrovych?
– February 10.
– On the day of resignation.
– The day before resignation.
– I would like to suggest that you contact Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine, directly. And tell him what you think today in these September days.
– Volodymyr Olexandrovych, I understand: you will not hear these difficult words. Before it's too late for us to stop, please wake up. I beg you very much.