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Ukrainian president defies history

TUES. | 04-05-22 | OPINION

     Under Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rule, Russia has recently invaded their neighboring country Ukraine. Since 2014, Russia’s goal has been to bring Ukraine back under their control. They figured they could do this easily because Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, was new to politics. Prior to his political career, he played the role of a president in a Ukrainian television show: “Servant of the People''. Despite Zelensky’s political inexperience, he has proven himself as a brave and dependable leader throughout this conflict.

     Zelensky started his political career in 2019 as a candidate for the Ukrainian presidential election. His main campaign goal was to unite the Ukrainian-speaking and Russian-speaking citizens of the country. Zelensky instantly became a favorite candidate among the Ukrainian population, leading to a landslide victory against the previous office-bearer, President Petro Poroshenko.

      I believe that Zelensky rose in popularity because of how he communicated through social media with his 


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voters. Even throughout this current conflict, his use of social media has helped the country of Ukraine get their message out and showed other countries their resilience during the invasion. 

     Going into this invasion, Russia was expected to take control of Ukraine easily due to their military strength, but Ukraine has been able to stay strong, thanks to president Zelensky’s leadership and bravery. Most world leaders would flee during intense conflict or be hidden away by their bodyguard or protectors. However, when Zelensky was asked if he wanted to be evacuated for protection by U.S. President Joe Biden, he requested ammunition rather than “a ride”.

     Most of us have seen some form of that conversation on social media; I personally believe that this dialogue between Zelensky and Biden propelled his popularity, not just in his own country, but throughout the world. Personally, this act of bravery made me more confident in Ukraine’s ability to withstand the force of Russia's military. The actions of a leader in times of despair and conflict can uplift the people who are relying on them for direction. 

     Not only that; footage of him on the front lines with Ukrainian soldiers has circulated. Having a leader with this much patriotism has to have boosted the morale of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. Despite the disadvantage Ukraine has in the war, Zelensky has shown no signs of surrendering to Russia.

     “What do you want from us? If you don’t want to leave, sit with me for negotiations. I am free. I am your neighbor.” Zelensky said. ”I don’t bite. What are you afraid of? We are not threatening anyone and don’t take territories that are not ours.”

     This speech from Zelensky shows his confidence and poise in a difficult situation, and proves that he isn’t afraid of Russia. I can comfortably say that if I was a Ukrainian citizen, hearing my leader say this would be very reassuring through this conflict.

     As this invasion continues, I hope Ukraine will be able to receive the help they need from other countries, and that their brave leader will continue to stay strong throughout this war.

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