What is the secret of Zelenski's speeches?

Vladimir Zelenski’s addresses are accurate, emotional, and effective.

With them, he managed to influence Western policy, experts say. But sometimes the Ukrainian president goes too far.

“I need ammunition, not transportation,” Vladimir Zelensky’s words to the US leadership in response to a proposal to hide from Russia’s attack abroad have already become winged in the West. T-shirts with this quote with a different design can be bought in Europe and the USA – with the map of Ukraine, with a Ukrainian soldier, or with the portrait of the Ukrainian president.

“Those words were 100 percent accurate,” political communications expert Haso Mansfeld told the State Duma. There could be no greater contrast than that between Zelensky and Putin sitting at his absurdly long table, Mansfeld said. The Ukrainian president is the complete opposite of Putin – with his regular video addresses, in which he presents himself as a brave and energetic leader of the people, resisting the aggressor. “His performances are impressive,” he said.

Zelenski’s speeches influence the behavior of the West

Dressed in a simple khaki T-shirt, with a three-day beard – in this casual look Zelensky addresses his people and the parliaments of democracies around the world every day. Finds the most accurate words for each audience. “Just as your courage saved your country from Stalin’s invasion, so our courage resists this invasion,” Zelenski told a Finnish parliament on April 8th. To whomever he addresses Europe, he manages to draw accurate historical parallels to point out that “Ukraine is now experiencing what you once went through.”

German political scientist Andre Hertel of the Berlin-based Science and Politics Foundation believes that Vladimir Zelensky is much more suited to the role of an authentic antipode to the Kremlin than to any of his predecessors. “There are no photos of him in the archives with Putin drinking champagne. He is a representative of the new generation. He could easily be a Western politician,” Hertel said. The analyst is convinced that without the impressive appeals of Zelensky Ukraine would not have received such a quick weapon from Western countries, and in such quantities.

The critical word in the Bundestag

According to the German political scientist, Zelenski’s team carefully selects the main messages in his speeches to impress the elites. “Take, for example, his warning during his speech in the Bundestag: the main message was not to allow the creation of a new wall in Europe. This is a very strong symbol, the speech was prepared very professionally,” Hertel said. The speech was very critical of German politicians, in which the Ukrainian president compared Russian bombs to the construction of gas pipelines bypassing Ukraine and Germany’s over-caution over Ukraine’s accession to NATO.

At the same time, Andre Hertel noted that although Zelenski’s critical tone in front of German lawmakers was understandable, he was “on the edge.” “When, at the end of his speech, Zelensky addressed Chancellor Scholz and called for ‘leadership that the next generation will be proud of,’ it was too much. It was insulting and arrogant,” he said.

Did Zelensky go wrong by refusing to accept Steinmeier?

Since then, criticism of Germany by both Zelensky and other leading politicians in Kyiv has only grown, although Berlin has changed its position on arms supplies and assured Ukraine of its full support. “One has to be very careful with these things. The atmosphere in relations with Germany can be spoiled very easily. And Ukraine during and after the war will need the enormous support of all Western partners without exception, including Germany. “, reminds Hertel.

Political consultant Haso Mansfeld, for his part, said Kyiv’s reluctance to accept the German president was a mistake and warned that in the eyes of many Germans, such moves could erase the positive image of Vladimir Zelensky.

“We need to understand what this means in our culture – to be able to apologize. Acknowledging one’s own mistakes is a strong move that is valued in our country. Steinmeier admitted that his policy towards Russia was wrong. “Insulting one of its main donors will not help Ukraine,” said the political communications expert. He cites specific data: according to a survey by RTL and n-tv, only a third of those polled support Zelenski’s refusal to meet with Frank-Walter Steinmeier. 63 percent consider his decision inappropriate.

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