The situation with "Suspilne", the "DOM" channel and the "Rada" channel is indicative and speaks of the choice that Zelenskyy's entourage is currently making. The President enters a state of "war against everyone", prepares for an ersatz electoral campaign and expects to end 2023 in the status of a monopoly leader of the political field. Why so? Let's figure it out together.
State of 2021. Most of the year was marked by the struggle to stabilize the ratings and search for their own "core of the electorate." Some of those who deliberately bet on Zelenskyy in 2019 and secured for him the 2nd round will hardly be a support now - initiatives in the tax sphere will finally turn away the urban middle class from the president. But there is another group - those on whom nothing previously depended, who were in no hurry to show an active position, became disillusioned with the old political elites and expected a miracle and the care of the state. It was on them that the bet was made with the National Security and Defense Council turbo mode. The task is not to create a system, not to follow the adopted decision-making procedures. The task was simpler - to show that the authorities can “command” and this will be done. Moreover, we were not talking about solving the problem, in fact, it was important to create a picture of the implementation. And then the voter will forget. It worked. The voter liked it, the opponents quieted down a bit, not wanting to be hit by the next blow.
But by providing a base of support, Zelenskyy did not expand the resource base too much. He strengthened in the power unit, stabilized the situation in Servant of the People, at the same time replacing the speaker (making decisions based on assessing the personal loyalty, not his effectiveness). But otherwise it was a failure. Internal financial resources are in the hands of financial-industrial groups and local elites, media resources are in the same place. The crusade against local self-government ended in a trench war with the Association of Ukrainian Cities (more precisely, with Vitali Klitschko) without even remote signs of victory. Difficult heating season, on the contrary, will worsen the position of the OP.
There remains the financial resource of FIGs (oligarchs) and their media. The latter is especially important, since almost the entire 2021 Zelenskyy relied on Akhmetov's holding (TRK Ukraine and Ukraine 24) and the media group of Igor Kolomoisky (first of all, the 1+1 TV channel. Victor Pinchuk with his Star Light Media did not particularly interfere. But such support is possible only in the format of a coalition, and the coalition, in its turn, assumes that you cannot “milk the finances” of your partner at will.
An offensive against the oligarchs began. At the same time, also for small, medium-sized businesses, but this is more likely the result of Mr. Getmantsev's violent fantasy about "billions in the stash of citizens, which are easy to get." There is money, but the citizens are unlikely to give it back. Including very rich citizens who are called oligarchs. Therefore, since October 2021, the media field has become sharply opposed to Zelenskyy. The attack began, which, by and large, ended in nothing. Zelenskyy outplayed his opponents with a press conference. He outplayed them not with logic, but with a acting, with emotions addressed to his renewed core of voters. The target group of the media is where the opponents of the president were mistaken. Then Zelenskyy strengthened the effect with the “Volodya's thousand” (1000 UAH for vaccination - ed) and the promise of “rent money”, but a little later and not to everyone. It was perceived well by his core.
But the problem has not been resolved. A tactical victory at the end of 2021 does not guarantee success in 2022. The New Year starts in the same situation:
on the one hand, the president and his entourage, making many mistakes and making very controversial decisions.
on the other, a set of opponents, including the same oligarchs, local elites and old political players. In total, they all control over 90% of the media field.
And if each of the group, for his part, speaks beautifully and a lot about the stupidity of the authorities, the desired ratings will fall. The task of the opponents is quite simple - to critically weaken Zelenskyy and force him to renew tactical alliances with one or more financial and industrial groups. But, with one peculiarity - as a junior, dependent partner in the coalition. They have almost everything to be successful - resources, media. What is lacking is public support.
Zelenskyy still has a core of support, but few resources and no media. The task of the president's entourage is simple - by stabilizing the core, renew the legitimacy of his power. Putting it simply, show “popular support”, return to “73%”. This is possible through an electoral campaign. But it is inexpedient to hold presidential and parliamentary elections. But you can get "confirmation of course support" through ersatz voting. For example, by announcing a referendum with a predictable result. Then, relying on the “fact of support”, you get from six months to a year to “twist your opponents' hands” and proposals of your own format of coexistence.
But a company needs media. Which opponents have today. It is impossible to buy channels. But there are those that you can enter - the aforementioned state channels. The question is about money. There is a budget for this. Regarding the team and the possibility of promotion, one can also expect activity - Zelenskyy and his entourage from "this sphere", create a show, a picture, it is their know how. In addition, those who promoted 112, Pryamaya and others are ready to work with different employers (which has already been demonstrated by their success stories).
Therefore, the restart of three state channels is logical. Zelenskyy follows the road paved by Medvedchuk, a little later Poroshenko - creates his own media group of political killers. This, by the way, explains the current emotional reaction of Pyotr Alekseevich - he, like no one else, understands what kind of media system Vladimir Aleksandrovich is trying to rebuild.
Does he do it for the state budget? Well, budget money is the only one available to him in this situation. The OP is in a hurry, because by May 2022 the structure of the “decisions of the National Security and Defense Council” will collapse completely and the voter will need a new topic to be offered. Which can be a referendum. For example, on Donbas, or on a possible reformatting (later) of the Verkhovna Rada. The question can be anything - the answers and protocols with % support are important.
Such a move demonstrates that Zelenskyy accepts the challenge of "war against all" and will not make compromises in the coming months. Rather, on the contrary, developing his media group, putting pressure on the channels of opponents, he will try to create conditions for an ersatz electoral campaign by the summer of 2022. In case of defeat, he loses everything and still goes into a tactical alliance with the oligarchs as a junior partner. If successful, he gets the opportunity to greatly strengthen his power. And then there is a choice - either restarting the state system (if there is personnel and vision) or transforming the system of power in the direction of autocracy. That is to say, the way of A. Lukashenko of the late 90s.
The processes of mid-December are fully consistent with the logic that my colleagues at the Ukrainian Institute for the Future and I set out in the forecast for 2022. The only difference was that the events began about a month ahead of schedule. In any case, the first half of next year will be full of exciting stories.
And you can understand the boundaries of the possible and the logic of actions of the opposing sides by reading the UIF forecast for the next year.