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Public Relations and Zelensky: How PR is Turning Tides for Ukraine

Jeshea is a graduate of AB English and is a freelance writer.


February 2022 has the world shocked after Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of its neighbor Ukraine, the largest military attack in Europe since WWII, after 8years of the Russo-Ukrainian War that began in 2014 over Crimea and parts of Donbas.

Although some analysts argue that Putin’s move has long been calculated, no one can deny that the tactic has rumbled the world in a domino effect- with oil prices at all-time high everywhere in the globe.

Putin is insistent on Russia’s stand that they are only defending ethnic Russians, dubbing it a “special military operation,” against “demilitarization and de-Nazification” of Ukraine. However, it is important to note that this also comes as a response to Volodymyr Zelensky’s persistent push to let Ukraine join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to build its military defense with backup from NATO members, most notably the United States and big powerhouses in Europe.

It is a no-brainer that Russia has the upper hand in terms of military strength being one of the best in the world, and Ukraine struggles to defend without help from any allies as they are politically tied in preventing a nuclear war. Zelensky, assuming he has been calculating this as a possibility, has turned to an area he knows best: Public Relations.

Since the start of the war, the spotlight has been on the President of Ukraine and his active participation in the patriotic defense of his country, displaying a great image of how a leader should respond in times of crisis. Before becoming the nation’s head of state, Volodymyr Zelensky was a former actor and comedian, even appearing in a show where the main character (played by himself) won as the President of Ukraine. It is ironic that his acting background overshadows his qualification for the job, as Zelensky also holds a law degree.

If there is something that Zelensky has mastered in his craft, it is on how to use Public Relations to his advantage. PR is a tool that organizations, companies, and brands use to maintain their image; now in times of war Zelensky uses it to sway favors and gather help for Ukraine in any way that his administration can.

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In today’s social media age, public opinion is heavily influenced by media perception and narrative. Make no mistake- this means that the people’s voice is more powerful than ever, as communication is just a click away from our hands.

NATO has faced criticism from the call-out of Ukraine to help close its skies, and although this stance is avoided as the country is not a member, NATO has activated its response force as a defensive measure in its member countries close to the site of war. Its circle, with USA in the lead, has also been pressured to condemn Putin’s actions- and they have taken actions in terms of international sanctions on Putin and his allies.

As the war heads on, Zelensky stays behind in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, donning a military uniform- inspiring his dedication for his position while he calls out for foreign volunteers, in which 20,000 has so far answered to. He also has been active in giving speeches, calling the other presidents, and urging them to assist in Ukraine’s pleas, and has applied for a slot in the European Union.

Russia is facing shut downs from brands and companies that have pledged to close their businesses in the country as a stand on Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and its billionaires are being stripped of their assets. Even Switzerland, with its long history of neutrality, has announced sanctions against the Kremlin after criticism against the Swiss government.

Worldwide coverage also gives light to the real situation on the ground, debunking widespread propagandas that the war is justified, as reliable sources heavily experience the course of action themselves and continuously updates the public media. Albeit in different voices, only one narrative comes: Russia is invading Ukraine, a democratic country of its own.

Zelensky, as he should, has sparked fire in Public Relations to his favor. As President, it is his foremost duty to work for his country, and though his might may come short, he certainly has dictated the tide to act for Ukraine around ways- an admirable tactic that will make you see him than just the former comedian, but more of a President of a country.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Jeshea Pineda

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