Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the spirit of his country have been named TIME’s 2022 Person of the Year. The annual announcement was revealed on Wednesday, December 7 in recognition that Zelenskyy has kept the world’s attention trained on Ukraine as the Russian invasion is now going on 10 months without an end in sight.
TIME’s Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal announced the choice on television and shared more about its decision to name Zelenskyy as the Person of the Year. “Whether one looks at this story of Ukraine with a sense of hope or a sense of fear, and the story is, of course, not fully written yet … Zelenskyy has really galvanized the world in a way we haven’t seen in decades,” Felsenthal said.
Accompanying the announcement and magazine cover is an essay by TIME reporter Simon Shuster who spent an extensive period on the ground with Zelenskyy earlier this year. In his piece detailing the trip, he illustrates why the President has earned the 2022 title: “[Zelenskyy’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.”
Compared to the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, who just six months prior (to the Russian invasion) had left his country to escape the Taliban, Zelenskyy has defied the precedent of a leader fleeing when feeling cornered. He has risen to the occasion and used his background as an entertainer to speak to the Ukrainian people and the world at large. It has inspired them to defend their homes and fight against Russia.
“Zelenskyy gives me confidence,” a 35-year-old Ukrainian woman said. “For me, Zelenskyy is the real fighter of democracy worldwide and for the peaceful future of our children and our world.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the spirit of his country have been named Time’s 2022 Person of the Year.
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Zelenskyy has kept the world’s attention trained on Ukraine as the Russian invasion spans 10 months with no end in sight, and he's inspired citizens to defend and support their country.
“The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride.” – @ZelenskyyUa on the US evacuation offer.
Ukrainians are proud of their President💙💛
— Embassy of Ukraine to the UK (@UkrEmbLondon) February 26, 2022