Ukraine's Zelensky in Russian media: Rhetoric shift

Author : Natalia Lebed

Source : 112 Ukraine

A part of Ukrainian society has labeled Volodymyr Zelensky as a politician with pro-Russian inclinations, while Moscow “exposed” him as an ardent Russophobe
15:20, 29 May 2019

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky
Zoya Shu/

A part of Ukrainian society has labeled Volodymyr Zelensky as a politician with pro-Russian inclinations, Moscow “exposed” him as an ardent Russophobe. The true Rubicon was the inaugural speech of the new president. The compatriots reprimanded Zelensky for the fact that the phrase "Russia is an enemy and an aggressor" was not clearly articulated by him, while the Russian Federation voiced its complete disappointment in the Ukrainian leader.

Although we recall the chronology of the last month, it’s worth starting with the fact that Russian President Putin did not congratulate his Ukrainian colleague on his election. Petro Poroshenko received from Moscow all the proper graduations. Why Zelensky did not receive the same? Russia decided that the compliments are premature, because "it is necessary to judge on specific cases, on concrete steps," Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary, stated, as quoted by the Russian Vedomosti outlet. Other Russian media,, wrote immediately after the second round that “Zelensky’s victory gives grounds for cautious optimism.”

Related: Political tango of Zelensky and Tymoshenko

In the last six months, the general discourse of Vzgliad outlet has changed radically. It should be noted that Vzgliad pays the utmost attention to Ukrainian issues. The portal complained that the copyright holder of the Servant of the People TV show (where Zelensky played the main role of Ukraine’s president, - ed.) has blocked all the series for the Russian YouTube users. Moreover, Zelensky’s Kvartal 95 studio refused to answer Interfax about the reasons for such a decision. Vzgliad didn’t like the fact that Andriy Bogdan, the head of Zelensky’s administration, promised to conduct “a carrot and stick policy” concerning Moscow.

Related: Zelensky's first foreign visit to take place in Brussels June 4-5

It is interesting to follow the evolution of Russian notorious TV propagandists Dmitry Kiselev and Vladimir Solovyov towards Zelensky. At the beginning of the presidential race first, candidate Zelensky was rather a positive hero. Everything changed before the publication of the official voting results. Now the Russian federal channels criticize him as sharply as they used to do it with Petro Poroshenko.

However, what exactly did Zelensky infuriate the Russian community? First of all, the Russian media are very impressed with the inaugural speech of president Zelensky, who said that he was ready for unpopular decisions and dialogue with Russia to end Donbas war.

Related: Giacomo Sanfilippo: President Zelenskiy and Orthodoxy in Ukraine

The recent visit of Volodymyr Zelensky to the hostilities area has finally undermined the faith of the Moscow media in his pro-Russian nature. Russia Today commented on the visit: "Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine, for the first time after taking office, visited the positions of the Ukrainian military in Donbas (...) At the same time, Zelensky stated that he was ready for anything to end Donbas conflict in the. However, the new head of state will not rush to implement the Minsk agreements. "

Russian media didn’t like the fact that the idea of a referendum on ways to achieve peace with Russia (Zelensky and the head of his administration spoke about it) is gradually coming off the agenda.

Related: Is Ukraine's President Zelensky a libertarian?

An interesting point: no matter how the Russian media evaluate the events in Ukraine, a certain degree the envy of what is happening in our open spaces could be obviously felt. This mainly concerns the internal politics, not economic, but one that characterizes the level of Ukrainian democracy.

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