Time praised the Ukrainian president for his courage in leading his country to resist all Russian aggression.
Time magazine has named Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy 2022 “Person of the Year” for his courage in the face of Russia’s aggression and for urging Ukrainians to remain strong and resist Russia’s all-out invasion, which it launched at the end of February.
Calling Zelenskyy’s decision to remain in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and making his country “dangerous,” Time Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal said Wednesday that this year’s election was “very popular.”
On February 26, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Kingdom announced on Twitter that Zelenskyy had rejected the US’s demands to leave Kyiv.
“The war has come; I want bullets, not a ride,” he added, “the people of Ukraine are proud of their President.”
His words became famous words.
Refusing to leave when war broke out when Russian bombs exploded, the veteran comedian gathered his countrymen on radio from the capital and traveled through his war-torn country, the publication said in its annual headline.
Since the Russian invasion, 44-year-old Zelenskyy has delivered daily speeches that are followed not only by Ukrainians but also by citizens and governments around the world.
He appeared on the front lines and recently celebrated in the streets of Kherson as Ukraine pushed Russia out of the troubled southern city.
“His insights turned the tide, which went global,” Felsenthal wrote in announcing the winner.
“Whether the war in Ukraine fills one with hope or fear, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has inspired the world in a way we haven’t seen in decades,” Felsenthal added.
Zelenskyy’s response to the Russian invasion has turned him from a tough European military leader into an international household name.
He has also been a standard bearer against Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who was also Time’s man of the year in 2007.
Zelenskyy, who was born in the southern city of Kryvyi Rih in the heart of the Russian-speaking region, has cast his country as a front in a wider war.
His appeals to the West for military and financial support, sometimes echoing the words of British warlord Winston Churchill, have helped Ukraine halt Russian advances and then take back more of its territory.
Zelenskyy shares the 2022 title with the “Ukrainian spirit,” which Felsenthal said was made up of “countless people inside and outside the country” fighting behind the scenes, including a range of people from cooks to surgeons.
Time’s cover photos for this edition show Zelenskyy in his green fatigues, surrounded by a crowd, including protesters carrying the Ukrainian flag, who together represent the spirit.
“The Russians need to understand… They will not be forgiven. They will not be accepted in the world,” Zelenskyy said in an interview with the newspaper.
Time first presented its Person of the Year award in 1927.