“The Five Lives of Volodymyr Zelensky” (4/5). Elected in the spring of 2019, the Ukrainian head of state had a great start, before being weakened by various scandals. In early 2021, he attacked reputed oligarchs close to Moscow, much to the fury of Vladimir Putin.
Thursday, May 9, 2019. Volodymyr Zelensky sat down on the stone bench in front of the grave of his paternal family. On the horizon, a long black slag heap, typical of mining towns in the Dnipro region and south-eastern Ukraine. In front of him, carved in mortuary marble, the portrait of a woman in everyday dress and that of a man in Red Army uniform, with barrettes and decorations: his grandparents, Anna and Semen Ivanovych Zelensky.
The sixth head of state of independent Ukraine has just been elected on April 21 with 73% of the vote – six points more than the president he plays in the Servant of the People series. He had promised himself that one of his first outings would be for his grandfather at the end of the end of the Vsebratske cemetery, in Kryvy Rih, the family cradle, 450 kilometers from Kiev. Semen is this Jewish colonel who, due to his presence on the front lines during the Second World War, escaped the massacres committed by the Nazis. By going here to celebrate the anniversary of the 1945 victory, his grandson intends to give a quick history lesson to his compatriots.
There is no other camera than his own phone. The election campaign proved it: his cell phone is his best communication tool. No, he wrote on Instagram and Facebook as he left the cemetery, the war was not won by Ukrainian nationalists alone: it took the help of the Soviets like his grandfather. He also slips a message to the Russian neighbors. “The contribution of the Ukrainians [to the success] has been gigantic. Bravo for this victory over Nazism! »
This article is originally published on lemonde.fr