Will Zelenskyy Be Illiberal by 2030?

Resolves YES if by January 1, 2030, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has clearly flouted some important democratic/rule of law principles by either running afoul of the Ukrainian Constitution or changing the law/constitution in a fundamental way to give himself or his political allies a large amount of unjustified power. This includes clear attempts to make such changes that are hard to explain in non-power-seeking terms. They also include large-scale attempts to change the application of law in a case where his or his allies' power is at stake.

This resolves on my judgment, but I will to defer to strong changes in Ukraine's rating in things like the Democracy and Press Freedom Indicies from where they are now. I'll also defer to diverse sources and good arguments and will liberally (heh) give takes on potentially analogous cases. For calibration, I don't think Zelenskyy is an illberal figure today and if the numbers on the Indicies I mentioned stay largely flat and there is no other affirmative, compelling evidence of some anti-democratic action he undertook, I expect to resolve NO. I expect the (~scheduled) 2029 Ukrainian elections to be especially informative if Zelenskyy assumes a third term (currently prohibited) or is otherwise the de facto leader of Ukraine. In such a case, I would probably resolve YES in the absence of strong evidence that any legal changes allowing such a circumstance were clearly above board.

For further claibration, I regard Donald Trump's bad-faith denial of the 2020 election outcome and maintence of a political movement predicated on that denial as the marginal case here (where Trump is marginally an illiberal figure).

If Zelenskyy dies before the resolution date, I'll apply the standard gestured at above to the time of his death.

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BTE avatar

Very good question!