Who is Zelensky, comedian who became president: “Putin has ordered to kill him”

Of Francesco Battistini

Zelensky, president of Ukraine, was a comedian who played a fake president. Now he has decided to reject the US offer to evacuate from Kiev: the battle against Russia, he said, here

FROM OUR SEND
KIEV – Disappears and reappears. He goes down into the bunker and back into the street. It sinks by day and re-emerges at night. Volodymyr Zelensky’s personal resistance (here the latest news on the war) not the tragedy of a ridiculous man, as a bit ‘everyone considered him. The Ukrainian president in these hours of drama relies on videos. Some crafts shot from the courtyard of Palazzo Marinskij, he holding his mobile phone as a selfie and behind him the faithful premier Denys Chmygal; others, where he greets a soldier and makes the sign of strength; all, always, to explain that no, Zelensky does not give up.

The Americans had already put him on a helicopter for Lviv, two days before the invasion began, but nothing to do. Didn’t run away: We are all here, in Kiev, our military, our fellow citizens, society. We are all here to defend our independence, our state. Thursday evening impressed us, says an EU Sherpa who heard a phone call from him from the secret hiding place prepared in time, proof of interceptions and spies: We were in videoconference and at one point Zelensky said: “This could be the last time you see me alive …”. And it was evident that he was not acting, in all the anguish of the moment.

He wants him: that they deliver it to him, betray him, kill him, whatever it is, but let it be him, immediately. Volodymyr’s scalp is enough for Vladimir: make a coup and chase him, Moscow promises the Ukrainian generals, if you hope that Kiev will be spared. And for those who can believe it: an aspiring Tsar does not mobilize a Russian half-army to have the head of a former warrior. A ferocious cat playing with a mouse: Yes, of course, of course Zelensky is the president of Ukraine! …, a Kremlin spokesman even publicly laughs at him, when the Tsar asks for his head.

Where is it? Hidden somewhere in Kiev, reveals Mario Draghi, also for this irritating him. And the family? With him, one of his collaborators swears, even if in the past few days there was talk of a quick transfer abroad. Hunted, lead actor in a part that is decidedly disproportionate to his strength, Zelensky has changed his habits in this crisis. From comedian who played in the role of a fake president to a little by chance president who now impersonates a real president. Those who hate him, now that there is to fight and hold on, no longer have time to malign his declining consensus and these trenches and barbed wire times that had led him back up in the polls.

Zelensky really resists, they say
. He took off his diplomatic hour tie and put on his darkest hour camouflage T-shirt. They left us alone, NATO accuses, and the tone only echoes of distant times, when he made people laugh on TV by reciting the script of a funny president. Today an Allende before dying, locked up in the Moneda and with a helmet on his head, which evokes the Nazi siege of 1941. We have never felt like a war president: he was angry with corruption, with caste, he had invented in his sketches the President Vasiliy Goloborodko and founded a party, Servant of the people, which was also the title of his cabaret.

He soon learned the new part. And understood that it was not enough to go to the Kremlin or smile at Putin, to leave him at the door. Zelensky now sees that his heroes are not so young and not strong at alland he only has the rhetoric: the thirteen sailors of the island of Zmiinyi sacrifice themselves in front of the enemy fleet that orders surrender, to the scream fttiti, Russian warship !, and he solemnly grants the thirteen the title of Heroes of Ukraine. Honestly, everyone is afraid of Putin, his bitterness for the promises not kept by his Western friends, which pushed him so much to act as an anti-Russian. Not much is made of the Ukrainian Colosseum with yellow and blue headlights or of Boris Johnson who, in solidarity with the attacked, waves the Ukrainian flag on the Downing Street flagpole.

He also has a thread with Erdogan: only a month ago, Turkey perhaps had assured him that it would block Russian ships in the Black Sea, but no, nothing is done about it, but disappointment. Better those who protest in the streets in Russia, and with courage, against Putin’s aggression. Or those two NBA basketball players, he confides, who lined up for the homeland. And Sean Penn, received just before the storm and praised. Zelensky doesn’t trust the other rulers much anymoreand then he appeals to their governed, dusting off the populist’s greasepaint: If you have some fighting experience and no longer want to witness the indecision of your politicians – he proclaims -, you can come to our country to defend Europe! To defend him too, if not late: We are sure – says his adviser Mykhailo Podolyak -, Vladimir has given the order to kill Volodymyr.


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