by Chris Black
Are there any ethnic Ukrainians in the government’s leadership?
Jewish president picks Muslim defense minister: Ukraine’s diverse leadership debunks Russia’s “Nazi” slurs – Atlantic Council t.co/2OHceAX7CO
— Luba Howard 🇺🇦 (@marynlm) September 6, 2023
“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced the removal of Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov on September 3 in what was the biggest change among the country’s political leaders since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion more than eighteen months ago. Reznikov’s departure comes following weeks of speculation over allegations of financial improprieties at the Ministry of Defense, and reflects Ukraine’s desire to demonstrate a zero tolerance approach toward allegations of corruption.
Reznikov is set to be replaced by Rustem Umerov (pictured), who currently chairs Ukraine’s State Property Fund and has previously played key roles as a negotiator in prisoner exchanges with Russia and the UN-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative. While Umerov is a strong candidate in his own right, his status as a member of Ukraine’s Muslim Crimean Tatar minority makes his anticipated appointment particularly significant on a symbolic level. Once Umerov is confirmed, Ukraine will have a Jewish President and a Muslim Minister of Defense, underlining the diversity of the country’s leadership while exposing the absurdity of Russia’s “Nazi Ukraine” propaganda.”