Who are President Zelensky’s right-hand men in his “war of words”? – rts.ch

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, not a day has gone by without mentioning Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky, omnipresent in his speeches to the nation and the world. Behind him, his team is hard at work on that extremely well-established communication, which has become essential to winning the war of opinion.

To deliver his speeches addressed to his people, leaders, parliaments or populations around the world, President Zelensky is obviously not the only manoeuvre: a great team is busy around him in his role, starting with his cabinet, composed of about twenty ministers.

Among them, some stand out in these times of war. We can mention in particular the Minister of Defense, Oleksiy Reznikov, who likes to put himself on stage.

On social media, he recounts his phone calls with other defense ministers around the world, his encounters with soldiers, and regularly posts selfies, with two thumbs up, the bulletproof vest and often… a big smile.

digital activism

Another minister who stands out is the young Mykhailo Fedorov, responsible for Digital Transformation. Also very active on social media, he created a few days ago an NFT museum (for “non-fungible token”, non-fungible token, a virtual certificate of authenticity to make a digital work unique and non-reproducible, editor’s note) to document the war and raise funds.

>> Also listen to La Matinale’s thread about NFTs sold to support the Ukrainian army:

Ukraine sells NFTs to support its army / La Matinale / 1 min. / March 30, 2022

He also calls on the web giants to take a stand and withdraw from Russia. He privately tweeted to poly-entrepreneur Elon Musk: “While you try to colonize Mars, Russia tries to occupy Ukraine!” The SpaceX founder subsequently made several deliveries of Starlink satellites to Ukraine.

Communication as a weapon

President Zelensky is therefore surrounded by a good team of communicators, as this aspect is his hallmark. Communication is indeed the strength of the presidential team, according to political scientist and Ukraine expert Alexandra Goujon, professor of political science at Sciences Po Aix. Dorota Dakowska. When the Ukrainian president addresses populations, parliaments, the speech is targeted, documented and the upstream work is evident.

Another person who means a lot to President Zelensky is his wife, Olena Zelenska. According to one diplomat interviewed, “he is an impressive person, whose heart is in the right place”, and who represents a strong support for her husband in his role.

Olena Zelenska and her husband, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, pictured here in 2019. [Toms Kalnins – EPA/Keystone]

Volodymyr Zelensky thus employs a “diplomatic activism” which he has in fact used since his rise to the presidency three years ago. According to Dorota Dakowska, the communication war has already been won by the Ukrainian camp, unlike in 2014, when Russia “imposed its history”.

almost irreplaceable

A comedian and humorist, he had created the production and entertainment company “Kvartal 95”, and several of his former colleagues joined his government when he became president.

>> See the 12:45 thread in the “Servant of the People” series where Volodymyr Zelensky played a history teacher who became… president:

Series

The “Servant of the People” series, which revealed Volodymyr Zelensky’s presidential stature in Ukraine, is now enjoying international success / 12:45 / 2 min. / March 23, 2022

If something happens to Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian constitution provides that if the country’s president can no longer perform his duties, the speaker of parliament will replace him.

The current president of the Rada – the Ukrainian parliament – ​​is Ruslan Stefantchouk. Next to Zelensky, he is a key figure in his party, Servant of the People. In particular, he stood by Zelensky’s side when he ran again for the European Union.

Volodymyr Zelensky flanked by Rada President Ruslan Stefantchouk (left) and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal (right). [EPA/Keystone]Volodymyr Zelensky flanked by Rada President Ruslan Stefantchouk (left) and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal (right). [EPA/Keystone]

The two men have known each other for a long time, participated in comedy shows at student clubs. But Stefantchouk doesn’t have the aura of Zelensky. The experts consulted are unanimous: if Zelensky dies, it will be an absolute tragedy for Ukraine.

Before the war, its popularity rating was low, with an anti-corruption campaign considered too slow. But things have changed: today he has united an entire country – or almost – behind him, and has managed to silence critical voices.

>> Read also: Enrico Letta: “Volodymyr Zelensky, a man who made history with his resistance”

Pauline Rappaz/kkub

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