In early November, Ukraine, being in a state of regular political crisis of varying augmentation ratio, featured another Cabinet rotation. Oleksii Reznikov, who was previously Minister of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories, became Minister of Defense. Verkhovna Rada deputy from the Servant of the People faction Iryna Vereshchuk took over from him. Deputy Head of the Ukrainian President's Office Yulia Svyrydenko became Minister of Economy, and Pavlo Ryabikin was appointed Minister for Strategic Industries.
Each of these appointments is arguably milestone and high-profile in its own way, but Mr. Reznikov's career change is second to none. By the way, presenting his candidacy at the Verkhovna Rada, President Zelensky said he could become "the second outstanding Ukrainian" after ex-Defense Minister Andriy Taran, who was made part of the US National Defense University's Hall of Fame.
Well, Mr. Reznikov has something to look forward to in this regard. In August, during Zelensky's meeting with Biden, which featured a confidential discussion of American troops deployment in Ukraine, the current Defense Minister was explicit about this at his meeting with Jamestown Foundation president Glen Howard. Actually, Ukraine's Telegram insiders said Reznikov's castling move was preliminarily approved just during the Ukrainian leader's trip to his overseas counterpart. Revealingly, less than two weeks had elapsed since the decision, when the Defense Minister was summoned to Washington for a meeting with Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin. Quoting the US military department's press service, the two were meant to discuss regional security.
The vector of Reznikov's activity in his new post is generally clear. The question remains whether he, being a friend to head of the presidential office Andriy Ermak, is going to directly follow instructions by the American curators or Zelensky's occasional "we-will-make-you-force-us-fight" tactics. By appointing Reznikov (a civilian, though famous for his aggressive rhetoric), the civil authorities are understandably willing to shout over the military themselves with their hawkish squawk. The latter go berserk, as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valery Zaluzhny one day trumpets his wish to drive a tank through Red Square in Moscow, and another day appoints the notorious Yarosh his adviser.
While ex-Defense Minister Taran was reputed a man of few words (of course, by modern Ukrainian standards), Reznikov will have top billing in becoming part of military agenda virtualization process, as well as the creation of artificial news hooks, demagoguery and speculation. Censor.NET website editor-in-chief Yuri Butusov openly writes: "Zelensky sees Reznikov primarily as a diplomat and communicator, not a military reformer or defense facilitator."
Unfortunately, a bloody escalation is still possible, as virtual wars serve either to temporarily substitute or complement it. It is often easier for a civilian to pull the slaughter lever than for a military man who knows the value of death. By the way, speaking of speculation, one can predict Reznikov's activity in the context of implementing the military budget and the military procurement market.
As a matter of fact, one could say that a significant part of Reznikov's functionality in terms of rhetoric and information policy won't change at all when permuting the summands (for which read jobs). In his previous, seemingly peacemaking and diplomatic post, he was a fiercer militarist of what is due, devoting his entire term to a furious and cynic abuse of the Minsk agreements, which in theory (purely in theory) he was supposed to implement. Again, it is fitting that one of his first statements as Defense Minister was devoted to proving that "the use of combat drone Bayraktar does not violate the Minsk agreements." As a "reintegrator," Reznikov referred to the Donbass region and its residents as nothing but a "cancerous tumor."
The situation being what it is, new Ms. "reintegrator" Irina Vereshchuk began with somewhat more restrained statements, talking vaguely about "human-centricity", which allegedly became the country's policy foundation towards the occupied territories under Zelensky; about the need of speaking a "language of support and unification" to Donbass; and also that as a woman she does understand civilian sufferings. Interestingly, Vereshchuk herself was considered for the post of Defense Minister. To some extent, it was an application to follow progressive Western trends, where female defense ministers have become an almost conservative phenomenon, with transgender people or at least lesbians being much more sought-after. The issue was actively discussed in the media space, and Vereshchuk's colleague in the Rada, co-chair of the European Solidarity faction Iryna Gerashchenko, attacked Servant of the People head Davyd Arakhamia for saying it doesn't befit a "warring country" to have a female minister of defense.
Obviously, with new Cabinet personalities (or old ones, though holding new positions), the unalterable course will go on and invigorate. To the noise of virtual "overcomings" in the "Russian-Ukrainian war" over the "armored hordes of the Altai Buryats", the Donbass region's peaceful population will be terrorized, with verbal flows about a "peaceful settlement" to torpedo any hints of peace.