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 illiberal 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 calibration, I regard Donald Trump's bad-faith denial of the 2020 election outcome and maintenance 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.

2024/03/08 edit: typos

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Opposition parties have already been banned and elections have already been cancelled under martial law. There are widespread restrictions on the press.

What sort of actions could occur to make you resolve as a “yes”? Or is this more a question of whether the west will present him as illiberal?

banning men from leaving the country and enslaving them in the military is pretty illiberal

bought Ṁ10 YES

@JonathanRay the draft is kind of this weird throwback where a country institutes slavery to get everyone to provide services directly instead of just using their tax money to recruit/hire volunteers/mercenaries

@JonathanRay Pretty sure these “slaves” get paid. Not saying drafts are good thing, but slavery they are not. Like even in Russia for mobilization the new inexperienced recruits are getting paid more than the officers they report to in many cases. Ukraine doesn’t pay as well as Russia apparently.

@BTE Getting paid is not mutually exclusive with being a slave. Actual slaves in the actual confederacy got paid sometimes (usually for skilled trades in the cities) because pay is a better motivator than a whip for anything more complicated than carrying a heavy object from A to B.

@JonathanRay the distinguishing feature of being a slave is whether you can quit without physical violence being used against you (e.g., thrown in jail)

@JonathanRay Enlisted soldiers DO NOT get to quit. It’s called being AWOL. You definitely get thrown in prison.

@BTE entering into it voluntarily mitigates the badness of that.

@JonathanRay North Korea, Ukraine and Eritrea restrict citizens from leaving the country. This is considered illiberal because it violates the basic human right to freedom of movement, a key element of liberal principles that emphasize individual liberties and rights.

@MichaelVoss I’d resolve the bet as yes as of today.

@MichaelVoss I think most countries with conscription or mobilization ban those subject to the draft from leaving the country. More significantly, this doesn't seem to me to fall under the categories described in the description, which seem to be about democracy and power rather than freedoms as such. But it's @MattReardon's call, obviously.

I expected the word "claibration" to be a typo of "clarification", but then I realized it's a typo of "calibration".

Very good question!

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