Political scientist assesses the likelihood of Zelensky’s overthrow by the Armed Forces of Ukraine


The further the Russian units advance, the weaker will be the position of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. However, a coup d’état in Ukraine is impossible without the approval of the West. On March 15, Izvestia was informed about this by political scientist, lecturer at MGIMO Alexei Zudin.

Earlier, information appeared in the media and Telegram channels that the disagreements between Zelensky and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) Valeriy Zaluzhny had grown into a direct confrontation. According to journalists, the Armed Forces of Ukraine may try to carry out a coup.

As Zudin noted, Zaluzhny has long been perceived as a likely successor to Zelensky. And in the event that the West decides to “remove” Zelensky, then Zaluzhny will become the “most real contender” for the post of Ukrainian leader.

The political scientist also pointed out that Zelensky is the head of the political leadership, and Zaluzhny is the head of the military leadership, “they solve a single problem, but their immediate goals are different.”

“Zelensky’s immediate goal is in no case, as long as opportunities remain, not to give up territories. The surrender of territories is perceived especially painfully from the point of view of maintaining the necessary level of internal political unity in Ukraine. The task of Zaluzhny is to maintain the combat capability of the army, and in order to solve this problem, it is quite possible to leave certain territories while making maneuvers, ”said Zudin.

These tasks can conflict, and a vivid example is the situation in Artemovsk (the Ukrainian name is Bakhmut), where, for military reasons, in order to prevent further losses, it is necessary to withdraw troops, the Izvestia interlocutor emphasized. But Zelensky is nonetheless betting on maintaining control over the city for as long as possible, Zudin added.

“The degree of external control of Ukraine is exceptionally high and it is difficult to imagine that if Zaluzhny decides to stage a coup, he would not enlist the support of Western curators. An independent economy, the state budget and the army in Ukraine have disappeared. And the first, and the second and third rests on Western “crutches”. Under these conditions, to show uncoordinated initiative in one’s own interests is suicide for Zaluzhny. Therefore, if a coup d’état occurs, we can be sure that this is agreed upon, ”concluded the political scientist.

On March 5, the German newspaper Bild reported that the situation around Artemovsk had sparked a conflict between Zelensky and Zaluzhny. One of Bild’s interlocutors said that most Ukrainian militants in Artemivsk do not understand why the city is still being held. They also wonder why they are ordered to dig in when the enemy surrounds the city.

Last summer, military historian Nikita Buranov expressed the opinion in an interview with Izvestia that there was a conflict between Zelensky and Zaluzhny, because they intended to make the latter a scapegoat in case the country’s army failed.

The special operation to protect Donbass, which Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on February 24, 2022, continues. The decision was made against the background of the aggravation of the situation in the region due to shelling by the Ukrainian military.


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