Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky was named Man of the Year 2022 by the Financial Times on Monday. “I’m more responsible than brave… I just don’t like letting people down,” said the winner.
Volodymyr Zelensky he also admitted that instead of repelling the assault Russiawould now prefer to go fishing in the Dnieper with his son. This homely message is characteristic of a leader who still presents himself as a normal man with modest tastes and a deep sense of humanity, qualities that have earned him the admiration of Ukrainians and their supporters abroad.
As he adds, Zelensky is a mirror image of an ordinary man who became president that he had previously played in the satirical series. He is also the antithesis of the Russian president hiding in the Kremlin Vladimir Putinwhose obsession with rebuilding an empire has cost tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of lives. Before the February invasion, many Ukrainians considered him a joke, an amateur who could not cope with the challenge of a high position. The 44-year-old Zelensky has earned his place in history thanks to his extraordinary displays of leadership and fortitude.
Zelensky “became the personification of the courage and resilience of the Ukrainian people”
He points out that just like Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who mobilized the British by radio during the German bombings, Zelensky uses social media to constantly campaign for Western military and financial support, transforming his nation’s plight into moral pressure on leaders in Europe and USA. He persuaded Europeans to bear the huge cost of opposing Putin and offer Kiev a path to European Union membership.
Along the way, he became the spokesperson for liberal democracy in a broader global clash with authoritarianism that could define the course of the 21st century. Zelensky also became the epitome of the courage and resilience of the Ukrainian people in their fight against Russian aggression.
“We’re fighting against crazy people,” Zelensky says of Russia’s leadership, alluding to the fact that in the run-up to the invasion he repeatedly tried to call Putin and tell him it would be a “big mistake, a great tragedy,” but the Russian leader would not answer his calls.
He emphasizes that Ukraine it must liberate all its territories from Russian occupation, otherwise the war will simply resume at a later date. It therefore rejects the recent calls for negotiations with Russia. “The world is not a doctor with extensive experience, it is not Putin’s doctor, and Putin is not a patient of this world,” says Zelensky.
Main photo source: president.gov.ua