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US News Volodymyr Zelensky, Man in the Muddle

15:50  09 october  2019
15:50  09 october  2019 Source:   msn.com

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Credit Illustration by Lizzie Gill; photographs by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters and Wojciech Olkusnik/EPA, via Shutterstock.

Volodymyr Zelensky . Posted at 18:41 24 Feb. A Ukrainian woman has told the BBC why she decided to decline evacuation and stay in the coronavirus stricken Chinese city of Wuhan.

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Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

In April, Ukrainian voters took a desperate gamble and elected as their president a television performer who played a humble 30-something schoolteacher, Vasyl Petrovych Holoborodko, on a show called “Servant of the People.” On the show, a rant by Mr. Holoborodko against Ukraine’s culture of corruption had gone viral, capturing the mood of a young country profoundly frustrated by the state of affairs and ready for change.

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Volodymyr Zelensky 's presidential victory was hailed as a political earthquake but he has been unable to make changes. It's two and a half months since Ukraine's comedian-candidate Volodymyr Zelensky won a big victory in the presidential elections.

Ukraine's new president has been sworn-in and used his inauguration speech to take a swipe at the country's history of corruption. The former TV star won 73

The question ever since has been whether Volodymyr Zelensky, the comedian who played Mr. Holoborodko and now leads Ukraine, is indeed the idealistic, modest and scrupulously honest corruption-buster whose guiding thought as president is: “One should act in a way that doesn’t evoke shame when looking into children’s eyes. Or their parents’. Or yours.”

  Volodymyr Zelensky, Man in the Muddle © Getty The infamous reconstructed transcript of Mr. Zelensky’s telephone conversation with President Trump does evoke embarrassment. The Ukrainian enthusiastically demeans himself before Mr. Trump, calling him a “great teacher,” joining him in trashing European leaders, bad-mouthing the American ambassador Mr. Trump fired for all the wrong reasons and pledging to work on the investigations that Mr. Trump was seeking for his own political ends. He also notes that he stayed in one of Mr. Trump’s hotels the last time he was in the United States.

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President Donald Trump repeatedly pushed for Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter, during a July 25 phone call, according to a transcript of the conversation released by the White House.

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The declassified phone transcript, released by the White House, of a conversation between US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy from July 25, 2019 © Getty The declassified phone transcript, released by the White House, of a conversation between US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy from July 25, 2019

But whether that performance was Mr. Zelensky revealing his real self or his Holoborodko character colliding with rude reality is a tough call. Ukraine, as Mr. Zelensky has noted, is fighting two wars — one against entrenched corruption fueled by a coterie of oligarchs, the other against rebel secessionists in eastern Ukraine propped up by Russia.

Contrary to what Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky said in their phone call, the European Union has been supportive of Ukraine, financially and diplomatically. But only the United States can supply the military muscle Ukraine needs to resist Russia, and in Mr. Zelensky’s view, only a meeting with the president of the United States would establish the standing and stature he required.

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Ukraine Presidency: Former comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy sworn in - Продолжительность: 2:42 TRT World 3 048 просмотров. Putin Breaks Silence on New Ukrainian President - Zelensky Doesn’t Inspire Confidence!

Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky , who is known for his role playing the Ukrainian president in a popular television show, is actually now the frontrunner for Volodymyr Zelensky was somewhat considered to be a joke candidate for the March 31 election, due to his lack of political experience, but in the polls

Mr. Zelensky was probably aware that Mr. Trump continued to regard President Vladimir Putin of Russia as a soul mate; he may have been equally aware of Mr. Trump’s disdain for Ukraine and belief in discredited far-right conspiracy theories that claimed Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election on behalf of Democrats. He may have been apprised of Mr. Trump’s comments about Ukrainians after a briefing by the American delegation to Mr. Zelensky’s inauguration: “They’re terrible people. They’re all corrupt, and they tried to take me down.”

Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for President Donald Trump © AP Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for President Donald Trump

Furthermore, Mr. Trump’s messengers, including his consigliere, Rudolph Giuliani, made clear that Mr. Trump’s favor carried a high price tag. And the actor in Mr. Zelensky must have recognized that winning Mr. Trump over required cringing flattery and total deference.

From Mr. Zelensky’s perspective, his approach worked, at least in the short term. Directly after the conversation became known, the White House did release the military assistance for Ukraine that it had withheld, although more likely in response to pressure from Congress than Mr. Zelensky’s vague promises.

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Volodymyr Zelensky at a recent comedy show-cum-election rally © REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO. Follow RT on. But his type will grow more common even in the well-off West – and that may not be a bad thing. As the country of 44 million picks from a field of 39 presidential candidates

US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky © Getty US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

To recognize Mr. Zelensky’s dilemma in the face of a White House incapable of distinguishing between national and personal interests is not to excuse his pandering or his insults to generous European benefactors or well-wishing American diplomats who earnestly sought ways to help his country. In the end, he did not bend to Mr. Trump’s envoys’ request that he promise in writing to conduct the investigations of Joe and Hunter Biden and the 2016 campaign. But neither did he get what he most wanted: a high-profile one-on-one meeting with the American president at the White House. At least at home and in Europe, though, he has a lot of apologizing and backtracking to do.

It would only make matters worse for the United States and other Western powers to turn away from his five-month-old administration over an incident in which he was manifestly more victim than accomplice. The greatest beneficiary, then, would be Mr. Putin, whose major goals have always been to block the rise of a democratic Ukraine and to undermine the image of liberal democracy.

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So far, indications from Ukraine are that Mr. Zelensky’s phone call has not turned his people against him, perhaps because it remains unclear to them how he or Mr. Holoborodko should have acted when trapped between a rock and a hard place. Ukrainians’ major concern, as presented in local news coverage, is that the United States should continue to support Ukraine in its struggle.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Emmanuel Macron of France, both of whom were sideswiped by Mr. Zelensky in the call — and both of whom have had to suffer Mr. Trump’s ego and Mr. Putin’s meddling — have wisely remained silent, and they are likely to set aside whatever annoyance they feel in the long-term interest of helping build a strong and democratic Ukraine.

Members of Congress, whose support for Ukraine has been admirably bipartisan in the past, should also seek to avoid damaging Ukraine’s prospects, or its new administration, as the impeachment process gathers pace in Washington. However clumsy Mr. Zelensky appeared in the role of a Trump appeaser, it was not his or Ukraine’s fault that Mr. Trump tried so cynically to bend them to his schemes.

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