This individual has become globally recognised for giving the world something increasingly rare in politics: hope.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy did not have a good 2021. He was accused of using the anti-corruption platform that got him elected two years earlier to crack down on dissent, attack his opponents and consolidate power. His business affairs were exposed in the Pandora Papers, and his approval rating, having won the presidency in a 73% landslide, dipped to 30% and below.
In other words, he was well on his way to becoming another failed anti-establishment populist — at worst a cynical phoney, at best a naive lightweight, whose promises could not survive the system into which they had delivered him.
And then in February of this year, Russia brutally and illegally invaded Ukraine. It flicked a switch in Zelenskyy, almost instantly. On February 25 he posted a short video from the streets of besieged Kyiv, surrounded by unsmiling members of his leadership team, his suit substituted for olive-green khaki. His message was simple: “We are here.”
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About the Author
Tips and Murmurs Editor @theshufflediary
Charlie Lewis pens Crikey’s Tips and Murmurs column and also writes on industrial relations, politics and culture. He previously worked across government and unions and was a researcher on RN’s Daily Planet. He currently co-hosts Spin Cycle on Triple R radio.