Ukraine’s Cabinet may merge some ministries as President’s Office initiates layoffs

10 November 2022, 03:56 PM
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Denys Shmyhal and Andriy Yermak (

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Denys Shmyhal and Andriy Yermak (

The Ukrainian government may see a reduction from 20 ministries to 14, but there has not been a final decision on this yet, a close ally of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told NV on Nov. 10.

“It will probably happen eventually,” with these words he described the main political news of Nov. 9 that the government is likely to decide on the merger of the ministries.

Ukraine’s media outlet ZN.UA reported on Nov. 8 the relevant decision had been backed at a meeting between the president and the Cabinet’s leadership.

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It was noted the key changes would concern the Ministries of Regional Development and Reintegration of the Occupied Territories – both will become part of the Ministry of Infrastructure. Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov will remain in charge of the agency, which may turn into a “monster.”

In addition, Oleksandr Tkachenko’s Ministry of Culture and Information Policy is preparing to “absorb” the Ministry of European Integration. A new structure will also appear in the Cabinet of Ministers, namely the Government Center, which will be subordinate to the prime minister.

ZN.UA specified the central authorities' staff would be halved as part of such reshuffle.

However, NV's sources among the top representatives of the ruling party's majority assured that there was no final decision on such reform yet.

A member of the Servant of the People faction clarified that the plan released by ZN.UA had been developed on Bankova Street (the seat of the President’s Office in Kyiv). But it appeared back in June and has not been implemented yet.

Oleh Nemchinov, the Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers, who is responsible for the reform of public administration, said in an interview in early autumn that he had no data on a possible reduction of the ministries.

“This is exclusively the prerogative of the Verkhovna Rada and the coalition of factions (now it is the so called mono-majority of the Servant of the People Party),” he said.

A 20-30% reduction in expenses for maintaining the bureaucratic apparatus could be the only novelty, he said.

NV turned to Nemchinov for a comment on this issue, but the minister did not respond to the request.

Still, the layoffs will take place. The Verkhovna Rada voted on Nov. 2 for the previously announced dismissal of Minister of Regional Development Oleksiy Chernyshov. He was later tapped as head the state-owned fossil fuel company Naftogaz of Ukraine. At the same time, the mono-majority did not nominate a new minister for Chernyshov’s position. According to the sources of NV, all this indicates that the Ministry of Regional Development will really become part of the Ministry of Infrastructure.

MP from the Holos (Voice) faction Yaroslav Zheleznyak, who at one time was an advisor to former Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, also believes that Zelenskyy’s team will merge these two ministries. However, the Verkhovna Rada should vote on such decision.

According to several sources of NV in parliament, Kubrakov has shown himself as an effective state manager, therefore Bankova will entrust him with the development of the regions.

The consolidation of the ministries does not mean the government’s better performance, Zheleznyak believes. He said the number of officials could be reduced without this, while the merger of the ministries would bring much bureaucracy, i.e. the registration of a new legal entity (each ministry is a separate entity) and rewriting many documents.

According to the MP, the registration of the entire Cabinet of Ministries as one legal entity could be the best reform. This would help the prime minister to solve any internal issues, including the merger of structures, without unnecessary waste of paper and efforts. However, according to Zheleznyak, Bankova will not take such a step as it would make the head of government a powerful and independent figure.

There is also the other side of the coin in this story: the formal strengthening of Kubrakov in the government means the weakening of hisinfluence on Bankova, where he worked closely with Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the President’s Office deputy chief-of-staff. According to NV, this “tandem”broke up a bit earlier, and Andriy Yermak remained the only “decision-making center” in the President’s Office.

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