The Zelensky Effect w/ Olga Onuch and Henry Hale

6 Dec 2022 – 18:00 - 19:00 GMT
Intelligence Squared (online)

Join The Zelensky Effect authors Olga Onuch and Henry Hale at Intelligence Squared for an online talk on Volodymyr Zelensky’s life and career. From his Jewish upbringing as a native Russian speaker to his decision to go into politics as an anti-corruption and anti-establishment candidate, they will explore how Ukraine’s president has come to embody the hopes and frustrations of the country’s first ‘independence generation’.

About the book

With Russian shells raining on Kyiv and tanks closing in, American forces prepared to evacuate Ukraine’s leader. Just three years earlier, his apparent main qualification had been playing a president on TV. But Volodymyr Zelensky reportedly retorted, ‘I need ammunition, not a ride.’ Ukrainian forces won the battle for Kyiv, ensuring their country’s independence even as a longer war began for the southeast.

You cannot understand the historic events of 2022 without understanding Zelensky. But the Zelensky effect is less about the man himself than about the civic nation he embodies: what makes Zelensky most extraordinary in war is his very ordinariness as a Ukrainian.

The Zelensky Effect explains this paradox, exploring Ukraine’s national history to show how its now-iconic president reflects the hopes and frustrations of the country’s first ‘independence generation’. Interweaving social and political background with compelling episodes from Zelensky’s life and career, this is the story of Ukraine told through the journey of one man who has come to symbolise his country.

About the authors

Olga Onuch is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Manchester.

Henry E. Hale is Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University.

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