According to The Times, the Ukrainian president Zelensky was the Person of the Year 2022 and “earned a place in history for his extraordinary display of leadership and fortitude.”
The world has grown accustomed to his figure. We have seen him heartening his people by wearing the ever-present military green T-shirt, intervening in hologram form complete with a Star Wars quote, lavishing himself in somewhat ambiguous statements, and flailing to call for NATO intervention and Ukrainian membership in the Atlantic alliance.
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Zelensky elected Person of the Year 2022
It is Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky the ”person of the year” according to The Times. ”He embodies the resilience and courage of his people against Russian aggression” and has become ”a standard bearer of liberal democracy in the biggest global confrontation against authoritarianism in the 21st century,” the Times writes. Saying he has won ”a place in history for his extraordinary display of leadership and fortitude.”
The newspaper compares him to Winston Churchill. Just as the great statesman used radio to rally his country, it reads, Zelensky has used social media to wage a relentless campaign aimed at gaining military and financial support from the West.
As a result, he turned the plight of his people being attacked by the Russian military into ”moral leverage over leaders in Europe and the United States.” He convinced Europeans to bear the enormous costs of opposing Putin and offering Kiev a path to EU membership.”
The Times also points out that Zelensky describes himself as ”an ordinary man” who looks forward to fishing with his son at the Dnipro River. He is ”a leader who portrays himself as an ordinary man with humble tastes” to all Ukrainians, ”and a deep sense of humanity, qualities that have earned him the admiration of Ukrainians and their supporters abroad”.
Furthermore, Zelensky is described as the antithesis of his biggest foe, Vladimir Putin: ”he is the antithesis of Russian President Vladimir Putin, hiding in the Kremlin, whose obsession with rebuilding an empire has cost tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of lives.”
Zelensky Person of the Year, not all Ukrainians appreciate
Yet these tributes do not meet with unanimous approval among Ukrainians. Renowned journalist Illia Ponomarenko, for example, had something to say. The Kyiv Independent reporter, who has covered the conflict in Ukraine from day one, commented in a tweet on the Times’ front page saying that he would have preferred to see a Ukrainian soldier depicted in it.
Of course, remain some somewhat controversial points in the Ukrainian leader’s actions. For example, how he threw gasoline on the fire regarding the case of the remains of Russian-branded missiles that fell in Poland. Shortly after the news broke, exaggerated by multiple sources but promptly downplayed by several actors, including U.S. President Biden, Zelensky spoke of “very significant escalation” and called on the Atlantic alliance to intervene to ensure “collective security”.
Striking, in any case, were first and foremost his communication skills. The former national-popular comedian today seems almost to have abjured his own nature. He has chosen to shed the jester’s robes to step into the archetype of the resilient leader with the utmost seriousness, now calling his people to arms, now urging the European Union to take responsibility, now raising the bar of tension.