President Volodymyr Zelensky has optimally utilised the digital medium to influence global opinion against the Russian invasion. Ingeniously, he became the leader who did not leave his state and people. The actor/comedian turned president aspired the Ukrainians to show resistance, to collectively fight against draconian measures of Russia.
Moreover, he is someone who the citizens can relate to, the person who shook his legs in the Ukrainian version of Dancing with the Stars and today is fighting the war with them. His short and crisp videos range from 5-to 8 minutes and are universally reciprocated by the Ukrainians and beyond. Here are some instances:
A Life Of Normalcy After War
Ukraine is provided with a satellite broadband service, Starlink, by Elon Musk’s company SpaceX. Zelensky shared a 13-second video on Instagram, where he thanked Musk for showing support amidst the humanitarian crisis. He said, “If you have time after the war, you are very welcome”.
The possibility of normal life after a military conflict gives hope to the Ukrainians; Zelensky pioneers the sentiment. The comment section is filled with comments of “peace” and Ukrainian flags.
The president later tweeted, “Talked to @elonmusk. I’m grateful to him for supporting Ukraine with words and deeds. Next week we will receive another batch of Starlink systems for destroyed cities. Discussed possible space projects. But I’ll talk about this after the war.”
A Leader Who Stayed
Unlike Ashraf Ghani, the president of Afghanistan who abandoned his citizens during the Taliban takeover, Zelensky did not leave Ukraine. The citizens are affirmed by the strong leadership of Zelensky, a leader with dust baked armour suit standing in the middle of the city, Kyiv.
Looking straight into the camera without any extra security on February 25, he said, “We are here, our soldiers are here, the citizens of our country are here”. Prime minister Denys Shmyhal even showed the time stamp on his phone.
The videos are authentic, and not fabricated. These videos provide a sense of security to the Ukrainians who are stuck in real-time amidst falling missiles, gunshots, and uncertainty.
Denial Of Fake News
There have been numerous claims that Zelensky and other officials have fled from the country with US aid. Vyacheslav Volodin, the Russian politician claimed that he had escaped to Poland as he was unreachable by the parliamentary members.
Zelensky put a pause to the numerous claims and rumours by posting a video on his Instagram account. He said, “I am in Kyiv. I am working here. Nobody has escaped.”
Immediacy Of Need And Appeal
As the Russian troops attacked Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, Zelensky uploaded a video on Instagram with the caption, “NOW !!! RUSSIA FIRES ON NUCLEAR POWER PLANT IN UKRAINE!!!”
He added another selfie cam video saying, “Europe must wake up now. Europe’s largest nuclear power plant is on fire. Right now Russian tanks are firing upon nuclear units.”
A strong emotional appeal was created, the Ukrainian homeland was burning and there was an immediate need of assistance. The urgency of the situation was palpably felt by everyone.
Ukraine Will Never Give Up
A shared identity of Ukrainians was built through Zelensky’s video message. He said, “Good health to you, dear Ukrainians! Strong and kind! But- kind NOT to enemies. We are a nation that broke the enemy’s plans in a week.”
He added that Ukrainians will never give up, the enemy shall face the ferocity of them. The Ukrainians stranded in devastation, destitution and misery are inspired by their leader, their identity is re-established; they will never give up. Resilience can never be shaken by bullets.
Integrity And Life Of Citizens
Zelensky shared a montage video in his Instagram ID which shows the daily life of Ukrainians from driving in the streets to innocent young kids playing. The video gives one goosebump, the reality is far from the video.
The video shows a girl dancing ballet, a young boy kissing his partner and people drinking heart-shaped whisked cream coffee. The video transitions to Ukrainians looking straight into the camera from the army to doctor to a mother.
Daily life is navigating amidst the conundrums of battalion forces. The video unites the people into a shared sentiment, the war needs to stop.
The videos are very personalised and have a broader consumer influence. People are connected to these appeals and are constantly sharing these videos on social media. The Ukrainian’s plight is identified and shared by their leader.
Disclaimer: This article is fact-checked
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Feature Image designed by Saudamini Seth
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