Ukrainian President Vlodomyr Zelensky: Time Magazine’s 2022 Person of the Year


Image by jorono via Pixabay

By Jenna Elsamman, Staff Writer

Every year, Time Magazine chooses one person who they feel has had the greatest effect or impact on global events in the past twelve months. And everyone can definitely agree that it should go to the person tirelessly and courageously leading his country against the brutal Russian invasions. 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock all year, (or maybe just privileged enough to live in a place where war or violence does not directly affect you) you have definitely heard about why countless Ukrainian civilians have been killed, injured, or displaced at the hands of Russian military invasions. In February of this year, Russia invaded Ukraine in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War, which has been going on since 2014. At the helm of the Ukrainian defense stands 44-year-old Vlodomyr Oleksandrovych Zelensky. 

Vlodomyr Zelensky grew up in Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine amidst the collapse of the Soviet Union. The post-Soviet era led him to rise to great fame as a comedian mocking politicians and he later created his own comedy troupe called the “95th Quarter”. Although he had no government experience, when he announced his presidential candidacy, the general public envisioned him as a good leader because of his untraditional and anti-establishment image. He would post video selfies on social media uniting the nation; giving voice to Ukrainian anger and defiance of Russian aggression. So it was only natural that he gained a staggering 73% of the vote and was elected president of Ukraine in 2019.

Following the invasion of areas of eastern Ukraine in February, Zelensky showed his support through video clips of him standing in the streets of Kyiv expressing his firm desire to stay and fight. The author of the Time magazine article, Simon Shuster, states, “Zelensky’s success as a wartime leader has relied on the fact that courage is contagious. It spread through Ukraine’s political leadership in the first days of the invasion, as everyone realized the President had stuck around” which goes to show how much his actions and words strengthened his people in that difficult time. People truly saw that he wasn’t afraid to rise to this crisis and felt his sincerity. His speech to the European Parliament was full of raw and emotional sincerity that even his English translator struggled to speak through his tears. His message showed that it would be morally and politically impossible for one not to stand and support Ukraine. Zelensky became known as a President who sparked hope within the Ukrainian people, uniting the nation, and providing a voice of resistance. 

Time magazine also wished to recognize “the spirit of Ukraine,” in their cover illustrating the country’s resilience against Russian President, Vladimir V. Putin. This is in recognition of the thousands of regular Ukrainian citizens displaying countless acts of bravery in this crisis. Many share their voices and spread awareness of the tragedies taking place while many others take to the streets as unarmed citizens grouping together to stop the Russian military advances.

 Overall, Zelensky clearly deserves this recognition for leading Ukraine to many victories, reclaiming many lost territories, and pushing Russian forces farther and farther back. All while issuing reassurance, hope, and courage to his people. “No panic. We are strong. We are ready for everything. We will win over everybody because we are Ukraine,” – Vlodomyr Zelensky addressing his country after Russia began its invasion.