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How Ukrainian President Zelensky Drew Inspiration From American Heroes

Posted on Saturday, March 12, 2022
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AMAC Exclusive – By Ben Solis

On Tuesday, for the first time in history, a foreign leader was allowed to address both Houses of the British Parliament via video chat. It was the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. In the 10-minute speech, Zelensky promised to “fight on the forests, on the shores, in the streets,” nodding to Winston Churchill’s famous refrain as Britain faced the Nazi onslaught during World War II. Throughout his remarks, the thing that has allowed Zelensky to rise to heroic status in the eyes of much of the West was on full display; namely, his innate ability to find common historical threads that unite his dire fight against Russia with other instances of nations throwing off oppressors and invaders in order to be free. In his words, actions, and dreams of democracy for Ukraine, Zelensky channels other great leaders throughout history who have defied the odds and dared to dream of a brighter future for their people.

Even Zelensky’s enemies, like Russian news channel Zvezda Television, are beginning to comprehend that the invasion of Ukraine will strengthen and not weaken the country’s identity. “There are no regions desiring to be independent”, a Zvezda commentator emphasized, referring to Moscow’s concept of a divided Ukraine. “We see Ukraine unified.” While some in the West have chided Zelensky’s unwillingness to compromise as a fool’s errand, it has united the Ukrainian people in opposition to Russia in a way that a more conciliatory tone would not have.

Indeed, the devastating Russian war against Ukraine has the potential to become a foundation myth of the modern Ukrainian state, and the president-artist Zelensky will carve out its final form and shape. 

Zelensky has dreamed about a Ukraine that embodies many of the same ideals that guided the American founders to establish the United States – a land of the free, with liberties enjoyed by all, as he emphasized during his campaign.

A part of that dream was delivering Ukrainians from pervasive corruption that has gripped the country since the collapse of the Soviet Union. In his political manifesto, Zelensky compares corruption in Ukraine to Abraham Lincoln’s view on slavery, arguing that the millions of Ukrainians who are financing the luxurious lifestyle of the elites are in some sense slaves. Corruption itself, like slavery, was a disease that divided Ukrainians against one another, and must be rooted out and destroyed.

While Zelensky makes no mention of him directly, Zelensky’s story and philosophy also bears striking similarity with U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

Ukraine’s future president was born in Kryvyi Rih, a city in the most industrialized region of the country. He grew up in a Jewish family of political dissidents who, even though they were not involved in public life, ingrained in their son basic principles and taught him Ukraine’s true history that Soviet schools would not. “They imparted in me fundamentals,” Zelensky said of his parents. “I feel pain when I see lies and untruth, therefore I perceive lies as an injustice.”

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the semi-independent, affluent, and controlling clusters that directed the Soviet machine transformed into the oligarchic system of interest groups, preserving the status quo – the source of systemic corruption.

Much like an American president who once confronted Russian aggression and expansionism, Zelensky began his career in the entertainment business. Zelensky’s entrance into the political scene followed a long period of what appeared at first glance like a typical career of a satirical show host in Russia and Ukraine. Similarly, Ronald Reagan was a Hollywood actor before entering politics, which would serve him well throughout the remainder of his life. Much as Reagan could charm any audience with a well-timed joke or amusing anecdote, Zelensky used humor as his medium to reach people. Both were comfortable on center stage.

During his presidential campaign, when Zelensky was asked about his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he said he would resort to humor. “It will be forced laughter, but still laughter,” Zelensky concluded, adding that Putin “has eyes, but he has no vision.” It was clear then that Zelensky would not back down to Russia – and neither did President Reagan. By standing firmly in the face of the Soviet Union, Reagan won the Cold War through ideological superiority as much as military might. Now, Zelensky may be on the cusp of accomplishing something similar, even if his country is overwhelmed militarily, as he has united the West in support of his cause and against Russian aggression.

One of Zelensky’s biggest hits as a director and actor came in the series “The Servant of the People” from 2016 in which Zelensky, incredibly, plays an unlikely hero who becomes President of Ukraine – something that would actually happen three years later. In the series, Zelensky plays a history teacher named Vasily Goloborodko, who was not eager for the presidency but interpreted his election as a calling to turn things around in Ukraine. On inauguration day, he chooses a taxi over a limousine, and a humble teachers club over Parliament. Fighting for small and efficient government, he cuts bureaucratic jobs (again reminiscent of Reagan) and challenges lawmakers with a question that must be addressed if a new Ukraine is to emerge: why did they transform from “servants of the people” into servants of the oligarchs?

Admittedly, Zelensky’s casting of himself as president now appears to have been at least somewhat self-serving. However, through Zelensky’s character in the show, audiences see the ideal of a humble servant-leader embodied by America’s first and perhaps greatest president, George Washington.

Like Goloborodko, Washington never asked for power. When the discussion of titles came up, Washington opted for the simple “Mr. President.” He rejected early designs for the White House out of fear that it would seem too opulent, and that the people would view their leader too much like an elected king.

Zelensky has never explicitly said that he had Washington in mind when he was making the show. But the concept of a national leader being beholden to both other branches of government and the people is one of the great cultural contributions that the United States has made to the rest of the world, and is undoubtedly reflected in “The Servant of the People.” One can argue about to what extent Zelensky himself has been able to live up to Goloborodko’s character as president, and how well he has actually rooted out corruption, but in articulating this ideal for the Ukrainian people, of a country where leaders are truly servants of the people, Zelensky has given them something to fight for.

In his inaugural address in the show, President Goloborodko puts down his prepared remarks and says, “but I know what is the test of life: One needs to behave in such a manner that one would not be ashamed to look into the eyes of one’s children.” 

Ukraine’s president has surely, at least, passed this test. No matter the outcome of this war, when history looks back on it, Volodymyr Zelensky will be one of the heroes, someone who stood for what is right, defending his home against all odds.

Ben Solis is the pen name of an international affairs journalist, historian, theologian, and researcher.   

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Spitfire?1940
Spitfire?1940
2 years ago

“Ukranian elites” sounds a lot like the left wing bastards ,(and we all know who they are!) Who. are attempting to ruin the greatest country in the world.LGB.

Hannah
Hannah
2 years ago

Thank You for the informative article. It was interesting to read about the parallels in values, between America’s greatest Presidents and Ukraine’s President Zelensky. And how their inspiring leadership ultimately influenced him 🙂

Kim
Kim
2 years ago

I’ve recently thought along similar lines, if President Zelensky doesn’t succeed in saving Ukraine from the tyrant next door. He will fight to the end, among his countrymen, and if his fate plays out to a similar end as that of the 13 Ukrainians on Snake Island, there will be books and ballads praising this brave leader who put his own life on the line for his country and for his people. Most of us are better people for having learned of Zelensky.

Richard Minetti
Richard Minetti
2 years ago

Great article Ben!!!! You definitely have the gift of words and facts!!

Beth
Beth
2 years ago

Read this and tell me if you still think the same about Ukraine and Zelensky: kanekoa.substack.com/p/how-one-ukrainian-billionaire-funded

Blountville Babe
Blountville Babe
2 years ago

I love the article. Zelensky of Ukraine has impressed me greatly.

Keith Martin
Keith Martin
2 years ago

Zelensky is an actor and a fraud. The mainstream media and others try to make him look like a hero while with just a small amount of investigation you can find all you need to know about him. He is certainly the opposite of a hero! The wool has been pulled over the eyes of the masses and most of the reporting on what has happened in Ukraine is a lie. I feel sorry for the uniformed who follow like sheep. This guy is NOT a good guy! Sooner or later just like with Covid the real truth will come out. There will be several who will not believe no matter what but hopefully by the grace of God the majority of people’s eyes will be open. The United States has supported Nazi’s in this country and all of Zelensky’s lies as well as who is behind him will eventually be seen.

GJM
GJM
2 years ago

AMAC needs to open their eyes as to what is really going on in the totally corrupt country of Ukraine.

Alligator
Alligator
2 years ago

AMAC is not doing their homework. Nor do they represent some of us. Here’s more info on the situation…
lewrockwell.com/2022/03/vasko-kohlmayer/beyond-propaganda-and-brainwash-the-true-causes-of-the-ukraine-russia-conflict/

Granny26
Granny26
2 years ago

A couple of days ago the story was about how Zelensky was wanting ONE WORLD ORDER…make up your minds which it is.

Casey C Matt
Casey C Matt
2 years ago

I cannot understand why people are buying into the corporate narrative that tells us Zelinsky is a cross between the Angel Michael and Winston Churchill. The man has shut down opposition newspapers, jailed journalists that exposed corruption he was involved in and even jailed his political opponent. Zelinsky is a lead crook in an incredibly corrupt country…..with the Biden family having been bought off and thus politically neutered when it comes to trying to handle the Ukraine crisis.
DO NOT buy the narrative……..for goodness sake people do some serious research, then act accordingly.

Honey
Honey
2 years ago

These negative comments about Ukraine and Zelensky are strange to see in the context of what is going on today. Perhaps there is some truth in the negatives, but to notice them today is ridiculous.

It reminds me of Bolton trying to tell us that Trump is not qualified to be president. If he said that as the campaign was underway, it might be interesting to consider. But after four years of Trump doing so much good for America and Americans, and turning out to be, after Reagan, a great and amazingly successful president , and within a year or so, Biden being the top worst ever, it seems quaint in the extreme to harbor such a ludicrous attitude.

Former AG Barr complained about Trump “losing” because of his bad behavior and there was no fraud because down ticket the Republicans did well. All I know is more blacks voted Republican because of Trump so why would they vote Republican for everyone else and not Trump? Same for women, gays, other minorities. And these are democrat constituents. So where did all those usual democrat votes lost from dems and going to Republicans disappear to?
All i know is in Pa. election night in a state where margins of winning are usually narrow, Trump was 900,000 votes ahead. No one will convince me Trump lost Pa.

dbro
dbro
2 years ago

Ukrainians have suffered for many years under the control of the Soviet Union. In the 1930’s Stalin starved to death hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian men, women and children; many buried in mass graves; and replaced them with Russian citizens in the east to control the region of natural resources of the country. After 1991 when the USSR feel apart, Putin (former KGB) sent in operatives to control the country and meddled in elections to keep leaders of the country under Russian control. Ukrainians have wanted to be a free country but were held back by the bad leaders and Russian mafia operating in Ukraine, all at the control of Putin. The Ukrainians finally found a leader they felt had the same desire to create a free nation. Putin invaded to kill this spirit and destroy this leader, he has sent in Chechen mercenaries and hit men to kill Zelensky, and the troops and people have killed some of them. Ukraine now has a leader with the backbone to fight against Putin’s plan to re-ignite the Soviet Union once again. Putin has not only meddled in Ukraine he has done it in Moldova, Belarus and Kazakhstan and some of the Baltic nations. I have been amazed that the Ukrainians have finally found their leader and are fighting to the death to stop this takeover of their country.

dbro
dbro
2 years ago

Lot of negative comments on this discussion, sound like the conspiracy comments from telegram and Tik tock. Russian trolls are at work on Telegram and Tik tock is owned by the Chinese. What I hear about the labs and corruption is what Putin is telling the Russian people on “controlled” news media about why he is invading a another country. He also tells them “we are fighting Nazi’s that have taken over Ukraine”. People get a brain and stop being fooled by this tyrant. In the Revolutionary War in the US, some of the people wanted to still be under a King and those people wrote similar comments in the newspapers against Washington, Franklin, and Jefferson; that they were not to be trusted and leading the country down the wrong road. Today, we know better than that; but we don’t need to fall into that same narrative, when another country wants freedom do we.

Spitfire?1940
Spitfire?1940
2 years ago

“Ukranian elites” sounds a lot like the left wing bastards ,(and we all know who they are!) Who. are attempting to ruin the greatest country in the world.LGB.

Hannah
Hannah
2 years ago

Thank You for the informative article. It was interesting to read about the parallels in values, between America’s greatest Presidents and Ukraine’s President Zelensky. And how their inspiring leadership ultimately influenced him 🙂

Kim
Kim
2 years ago

I’ve recently thought along similar lines, if President Zelensky doesn’t succeed in saving Ukraine from the tyrant next door. He will fight to the end, among his countrymen, and if his fate plays out to a similar end as that of the 13 Ukrainians on Snake Island, there will be books and ballads praising this brave leader who put his own life on the line for his country and for his people. Most of us are better people for having learned of Zelensky.

Richard Minetti
Richard Minetti
2 years ago

Great article Ben!!!! You definitely have the gift of words and facts!!

Beth
Beth
2 years ago

Read this and tell me if you still think the same about Ukraine and Zelensky: kanekoa.substack.com/p/how-one-ukrainian-billionaire-funded

Blountville Babe
Blountville Babe
2 years ago

I love the article. Zelensky of Ukraine has impressed me greatly.

Keith Martin
Keith Martin
2 years ago

Zelensky is an actor and a fraud. The mainstream media and others try to make him look like a hero while with just a small amount of investigation you can find all you need to know about him. He is certainly the opposite of a hero! The wool has been pulled over the eyes of the masses and most of the reporting on what has happened in Ukraine is a lie. I feel sorry for the uniformed who follow like sheep. This guy is NOT a good guy! Sooner or later just like with Covid the real truth will come out. There will be several who will not believe no matter what but hopefully by the grace of God the majority of people’s eyes will be open. The United States has supported Nazi’s in this country and all of Zelensky’s lies as well as who is behind him will eventually be seen.

GJM
GJM
2 years ago

AMAC needs to open their eyes as to what is really going on in the totally corrupt country of Ukraine.

Alligator
Alligator
2 years ago

AMAC is not doing their homework. Nor do they represent some of us. Here’s more info on the situation…
lewrockwell.com/2022/03/vasko-kohlmayer/beyond-propaganda-and-brainwash-the-true-causes-of-the-ukraine-russia-conflict/

Granny26
Granny26
2 years ago

A couple of days ago the story was about how Zelensky was wanting ONE WORLD ORDER…make up your minds which it is.

Casey C Matt
Casey C Matt
2 years ago

I cannot understand why people are buying into the corporate narrative that tells us Zelinsky is a cross between the Angel Michael and Winston Churchill. The man has shut down opposition newspapers, jailed journalists that exposed corruption he was involved in and even jailed his political opponent. Zelinsky is a lead crook in an incredibly corrupt country…..with the Biden family having been bought off and thus politically neutered when it comes to trying to handle the Ukraine crisis.
DO NOT buy the narrative……..for goodness sake people do some serious research, then act accordingly.

Honey
Honey
2 years ago

These negative comments about Ukraine and Zelensky are strange to see in the context of what is going on today. Perhaps there is some truth in the negatives, but to notice them today is ridiculous.

It reminds me of Bolton trying to tell us that Trump is not qualified to be president. If he said that as the campaign was underway, it might be interesting to consider. But after four years of Trump doing so much good for America and Americans, and turning out to be, after Reagan, a great and amazingly successful president , and within a year or so, Biden being the top worst ever, it seems quaint in the extreme to harbor such a ludicrous attitude.

Former AG Barr complained about Trump “losing” because of his bad behavior and there was no fraud because down ticket the Republicans did well. All I know is more blacks voted Republican because of Trump so why would they vote Republican for everyone else and not Trump? Same for women, gays, other minorities. And these are democrat constituents. So where did all those usual democrat votes lost from dems and going to Republicans disappear to?
All i know is in Pa. election night in a state where margins of winning are usually narrow, Trump was 900,000 votes ahead. No one will convince me Trump lost Pa.

dbro
dbro
2 years ago

Ukrainians have suffered for many years under the control of the Soviet Union. In the 1930’s Stalin starved to death hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian men, women and children; many buried in mass graves; and replaced them with Russian citizens in the east to control the region of natural resources of the country. After 1991 when the USSR feel apart, Putin (former KGB) sent in operatives to control the country and meddled in elections to keep leaders of the country under Russian control. Ukrainians have wanted to be a free country but were held back by the bad leaders and Russian mafia operating in Ukraine, all at the control of Putin. The Ukrainians finally found a leader they felt had the same desire to create a free nation. Putin invaded to kill this spirit and destroy this leader, he has sent in Chechen mercenaries and hit men to kill Zelensky, and the troops and people have killed some of them. Ukraine now has a leader with the backbone to fight against Putin’s plan to re-ignite the Soviet Union once again. Putin has not only meddled in Ukraine he has done it in Moldova, Belarus and Kazakhstan and some of the Baltic nations. I have been amazed that the Ukrainians have finally found their leader and are fighting to the death to stop this takeover of their country.

dbro
dbro
2 years ago

Lot of negative comments on this discussion, sound like the conspiracy comments from telegram and Tik tock. Russian trolls are at work on Telegram and Tik tock is owned by the Chinese. What I hear about the labs and corruption is what Putin is telling the Russian people on “controlled” news media about why he is invading a another country. He also tells them “we are fighting Nazi’s that have taken over Ukraine”. People get a brain and stop being fooled by this tyrant. In the Revolutionary War in the US, some of the people wanted to still be under a King and those people wrote similar comments in the newspapers against Washington, Franklin, and Jefferson; that they were not to be trusted and leading the country down the wrong road. Today, we know better than that; but we don’t need to fall into that same narrative, when another country wants freedom do we.

Silhouette of the President of the United States of America Donald Trump while attending a conference
1960s and 2020s; history repeats itself
Helena, Montana / November 3, 2020: Woman election official directing voter where to park and vote, man in vehicle holding ballot, voting from car outside polling station, poll worker

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