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War and popularity keep Zelensky in power even if term ends

by Reporter - May 20 108 Views 0 Comment

"He is destined to be unloved!"

Five years ago, on a sunny day in Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's inauguration took place, providing a prime example of the "commentator's curse."

According to the TV narrator, it seemed that things were about to take a turn for the worse for him, following his landslide election victory with 73% of the vote.

Despite a decline in his approval ratings, Volodymyr Zelensky has managed to secure an extension of his term in office by leveraging his enduring popularity and the public's yearning for stability.

Under normal circumstances, the expiration of the term would have triggered the calling of an election. However, due to the implementation of martial law following Russia's full-scale invasion, such a scenario is no longer possible. It is worth noting that there is widespread public support for this measure as well.

According to Anton Hrushetskyi, the head of Kyiv's International Institute of Sociology, the Ukrainians are focused on winning the war first and then holding an election.

As a result, there are no doubts raised about the credibility of Zelensky.

Moscow has indeed done just that. However, it would also seize the opportunity of a mid-war election, during which Ukraine's wartime leader would face intense scrutiny.

According to Anton, narratives are coming from Russia that attempt to shape the perception of Ukraine as a non-democratic country among Western audiences, he explains.

Despite a significant drop from its peak of 90% following the full-scale invasion, President Zelensky still enjoys the trust of around 65% of Ukrainians as they navigate through these challenging times.

There are significant practical challenges that need to be addressed before a potential election can take place. One major obstacle is the presence of Russia, which currently occupies a fifth of the country.

Additionally, there is the issue of at least seven million Ukrainians who have been forced to live abroad. In addition, there are hundreds of thousands of soldiers engaged in active combat on the front line.


According to the esteemed Ukrainian author Andriy Kurkov, there is no other president who can be considered as an alternative.

Just a few months ago, Valeriy Zaluzhny, the former head of Ukraine's armed forces, was being discussed as a possible competitor to Mr. Zelensky. Since his dismissal and subsequent appointment as the country's ambassador to the UK, he has chosen to maintain a low profile in the political arena, at least for the time being.

"Becoming president in a show business manner and then finding oneself amid a war is no easy or amusing feat," remarks Andriy.

In 2022, amidst the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the author drew a comparison between Ukraine's leader and James Bond. The leader's refusal to evacuate and unwavering support for his country's cause were highlighted. Is his current sentiment aligned with his previous stance?

According to Andriy, he appears to resemble a fatigued James Bond. "Significantly more mature and slightly irritable."

Zelensky would likely emerge victorious if elections were held tomorrow. It is only when the war finally comes to an end that attitudes begin to shift, prompting people to finally voice the questions they have been holding onto during times of peace.

According to Andriy, the president's unwavering support can be attributed to a strong desire for stability, despite occasional frustrations.

When observing the archived footage of Mr. Zelenksy's inauguration, one cannot help but notice the stark contrast to the current state of Ukraine.

The president, who was previously a comedian, appears to have a more youthful appearance. The individual warmly engages with the crowd, going so far as to affectionately kiss a man on the forehead.

With no trace of stubble and a beaming smile, there was no hint of seriousness on their face, only pure excitement. People no longer display signs of enthusiasm.

Oleksandr Danyluk, a member of the new president's team, described the day as incredibly thrilling. After serving as secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, he decided to leave his position a year later and transitioned into becoming a vocal opponent of his former boss.

We were all completely unaware of what lay ahead. We were completely unaware.


Political tensions between Mr. Danyluk and the president began to escalate. An important topic of discussion revolved around finding effective strategies to address Russia's aggression towards Ukraine.


The president was confident in his ability to engage in negotiations with Vladimir Putin. According to Mr. Danyluk, he believes that the country should have been making preparations for an inevitable war.


"We should have been better prepared, but unfortunately, those early years were lost after the full-scale invasion," admits Mr. Danyluk, who acknowledges his expertise in garnering international support for Ukraine is unmatched.

President Zelensky is determined to take charge of this war, regardless of anyone's opinion or his preferences. It seems that leading this war is his inevitable fate.

In a statement last year, President Zelensky emphasised the importance of unity and deemed discussions about elections as "irresponsible." It appears that a majority of people in the country share a similar viewpoint.

There will come a time when the political landscape will face a reckoning. It appears that the situation is not currently favourable.

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