The Zelensky Effect w/ Olga Onuch and Lucan Way

7 Sep 2023 – 12:00-13:00 EDT
Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, University of Toronto (in person and online)
Room 108N
North House
1 Devonshire Place

Olga Onuch and Lucan Way will discuss Onuch’s and Hale’s new book, The Zelensky Effect.

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 Professor of Comparative and Ukrainian 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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