Saturday, April 1, 2023

Volodymyr Zelensky – The Man, Mystic and Messiah of the Ukranians 



For various reasons Volodymyr Zelensky is a superhero for the people across the globe. It cannot be different for some people in Russia too. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Zelensky was in the headlines through his tweets appealing to the international community for defense aid.  A simple walkover and a capture, as it was assumed by the Russian side before, they pounced on a yet smaller Ukraine, was not that simple, as the war the Ukrainians fought with vigor and spirit. In Zelensky the world witnessed a more mature politician than a comedian as he inspired his countrymen to not to kowtow to what the Russian thought would be an easy task to achieve. With all their sophisticated weaponries and sky warfare, the Russian side could cause catastrophic disaster to Ukraine. The war that Ukrainians are fighting is not just a prestige war but one that they preserved their energy for protecting their motherland which always refused to concede to the hegemony of their gigantic belligerent neighbor.  As the war ends Russia might be able to contain its neighbor in a pot of their choice for some time, but the sense of revenge that the common Ukrainians would reciprocate with, in future is unpredictable. From a stage actor to staging himself as a leader with greater resilience and courage, Zelensky depicted himself as a role model to the future generations of his country. Zelensky has become a legendary figure of his nation’s resistance against Russian aggression. What he will be remembered for, will be his courage to stay in his falling capital Kyiv and leading the resistance from all possible fronts despite death knocking on his door every moment.

The devastation his tiny country has gone through is terrible. With thousands of people killed and millions of his countrymen moving out to find safer places for survival, it is sure for him to think and find ways to bring the war to a quick end. But self-possessed to the level of rejecting the Russian demand to lay down weapons, multiple times, Zelensky upkept the respect that he thought his country deserved even as its areas were shattered under the massive Russian invasion. Russian forces, marked with the first letter of his name ‘Z’ on their vehicles, when they stormed Ukraine, inferences were drawn to the effect of interpreting it to be an indicator that the big brother was all out to hunt the man who led the tiny Ukraine, making him the primary target. Zelensky, from a different world of entertainment, accidently landed to hold the helm of affairs of the country. With no political experience whatsoever, the man of the day, Zelensky’s run up for the presidential race gained him unparalleled popularity in his country. A similar line can be drawn in comparison to narrate the rise of a leader in Narendra Modi, who with no experience of administration rose on to become the Chief Minister of Gujarat and later, rode his horse of victory to the corridors of power in Delhi becoming the country’s Prime Minister. Putin rose to power through the ranks of KGB building his mannerisms to establish his hold as a ruler.

With his more motivated defenders, Zelensky is fighting a war which probably he is not aware of what the outcome will be. As a reward for his tilting towards NATO for a membership, the European conglomeration could not bring much assistance to help Ukraine withstand the Russian hostility. Even if the war comes to an end with no goals achieved except for both the sides damaging heavily, killing thousands of innocent people by destroying their dreams, Zelensky will have to probably convince the Ukrainians before he makes any compromise with Russia in the direction of pulling the chain. The courage with which he rallied his people to fight the aggressor was tremendous. It was not only to keep the country politically united, but for him, it was the only choice that he was left with, in which the world would be compelled to review the history of his valor with respect. The world looked at the footages of ordinary Ukrainians, inspired by Zelensky, holding petrol bombs to toss at the Russian army, defending their country. Matchless pride and depiction of patriotism and love for one’s country was seen with great admiration and awe across the world. I couldn’t personally believe the level of courage these innocent people showed despite their belongings being terribly pulverized by the heavy artillery of the Russians. Yet another moment of his bravery that made me admire him was the statement that he made to the international community. “The enemy has marked me as target No.1,” his statement in the short video was a convincingly upsetting message to the world foreseeing the predator’s intent. His decision to stay back in his country would definitely define the essence of nationalism that he cherished in the most admirable manner in its course of history.  More than 12000 Russian soldiers are estimated to have been killed as per Ukraine’s claim. The invasion that began on February 24 last month has caused terrible human casualties on both sides.

As the world looks on to what we call a terrible fall of a tiny nation causing a severe humanitarian crisis, Zelensky is a symbol of resistance that he believes is a right step in the direction of protecting his country. As an actor and comedian, his most notable role was in his television sitcom ‘Servant of the People’, which indeed made him find a place in the hearts of his countrymen. From the character of a high school teacher who accidentally rose on to become the president in the sitcom, Zelensky became the real man to hold the real position of the Presidency. This miraculous metamorphosis from an ordinary man to the man who would later sail his country through the most troubling times makes him a rare leader. He is the man, mystic and messiah for his countrymen.  Despite countries taking sides with the warring neighbors, Zelensky is all set to change narratives on the idea of leadership compelling the world to respect his willingness to die for his country. 

(Author is freelance journalist and social worker based in Kerala. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at [email protected])

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