Espreso. Global

Article in Time scares me, it shows Zelenskyy as stubborn petty tyrant - Ukrainian MP

31 October, 2023 Tuesday

It demotivates Ukrainians because it is reprinted in Ukrainian media. It shows Zelenskyy as a stubborn petty tyrant in the West, which is bad for Ukraine


The article is the result of two mistakes made by Zelenskyy and his office: communication and management.

First. Not everyone is allowed into the office. There are thousands of journalists who would like to talk to Zelenskyy, Yermak, and Shurma. Only a few are allowed. Those who, in the office's opinion, will create a portrait of "the most prominent leader of our time." But you can't always create what you don't see. Zelenskyy is no longer David defeating Goliath or the leader of a suffering people after Bucha in the minds of foreigners. He and his office think cinematically, in hour-long episodes that must gain ratings today and go off the air with the highest numbers, bringing the hero popularity that will last until the next episode or show.

But real politics is an endless reality show, where today you are the hero, the lover, and everyone's attention is on you, and a month later you are kicked off the show because you turned out to be a traitor and the heroine has chosen someone else.

At this stage, without feeling that it had arrived, Simon Shuster was invited to the office. He is a journalist with a name, and for him, his text, its sensationalism, provocativeness, and literary beauty are more important than the consequences for Ukraine, and even more so for Zelenskyy. Shuster writes what he sees and does not know whether he is describing reality or the reality he is shown. The office is creating a single hero out of Zelenskyy, who commands the offensive and dismisses generals. This is not the case. But someone in the office wants this to be written about the great Zelenskyy. Shuster writes this for both Ukrainians and the West. But Shuster is not an analyst, he is a sensational reporter. This is not taken into account in the office. Zelenskyy looks like a caricatured Napoleon the loser. And this is terrible for Ukraine.

To the issue of governance, which has the same roots. Instead of creating a complex but effective system of relations with allies, everything is focused on Zelenskyy, who can turn into a colossus on clay feet every day. There is no system of inter-parliamentary relations, no network of cooperation between civil society organizations, no cultural diplomacy, no foreign broadcasting. Well, it's true: parliamentarians are banned from working in political circles of other countries (except for rare trips with "high" permission), pro-Russian stars are abroad, and it is impossible to export a performance of a brilliant theater, high-quality films that can be shown in the West have stopped being made, foreign broadcasting is a feeder for good Russians and a tool for stealing money through stupid TV shows.

It is high time to end the personalization of Ukraine through Zelenskyy. 

No one is saying that the world is protecting Netanyahu, Netanyahu is the greatest leader, and Netanyahu is not banning visits by the Israeli opposition to Congress with the help of his country, but is creating a government of national trust. Even supporters of anti-Israeli policies do not put all their faith in the "greatest" Hamas leader. 

The lesson from this communication failure should be a major change in both policy and the way information is presented.


About the author. Mykola Kniazhytskyi, journalist, Member of Parliament of Ukraine.

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the authors of blogs and columns.

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