US media: "A TV Character Running for President? Crazy!" / News / News agency Inforos
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US media: "A TV Character Running for President? Crazy!"

American media actively discussing results of the Ukrainian elections

US media: "A TV Character Running for President? Crazy!"
Context:

Media in the United States is rather actively discussing results of Ukraine's elections. Paradoxically, in general welcoming the convincing victory of young comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, some American media has suddenly started missing "mature" and "wise" incumbent President Petro Poroshenko. In particular, The New York Times reproached Ukrainian voters of desperate passion for youth. Prior the elections it called in its editorial the very idea of electing "a TV character" as president "crazy."

At the same time, the newspaper found some kind words for Poroshenko: "But he can take credit for some credible reforms since he became president in 2014. He has kept good ties to Western governments and the International Monetary Fund, and has made strides in rebuilding the nation’s army." Speaking about Zelensky, the newspaper repeated the traditional for a Western reader allegation that the 40-years-old actor, who didn't live enough in the Soviet Union, had kept ties with oligarchs: "He is linked to one of Ukraine’s murkier oligarchs, Ihor Kolomoisky."

Meanwhile, the Washington Post wrote about Zelensky's becoming president that "millions of voters weary of war and economic hardship rebuked the ruling elites and ushered in fresh uncertainty for their geopolitically pivotal nation." The newspaper calls Zelensky a "TV star with no political experience" who has connections with oligarch Kolomoisky.

The Forbes journal also elaborated on the subject of bad ties of the comedian. However, its journalists went further their colleagues from The New York Times and The Washington Post, hinting that Zelensky may have had links with "Russian money": "Whoever else backed Zelenskiy (rumor has it the entourage of ousted president Viktor Yanukovych also chipped in, in addition to Kolomoyskyy, and possibly Russian money and resources as well) conducted a very sleek campaign."

The New York Times stressed that "Zelensky’s victory will give Ukraine its first Jewish leader." "Many voters said they had supported Mr. Zelensky not so much because they thought he was a good candidate but because they wanted to punish Mr. Poroshenko for deflating the hopes raised by Ukraine’s 2014 revolution and for doing little to combat corruption," it said.

However, some American media are somehow optimistic about the new Ukrainian president, provided that he continues Kyiv's fight against Russia. "Zelensky is a young, pro-Western entrepreneur, so there may be cause for hope that he can break the country’s domestic-policy gridlock and stand up to the neighboring Russians at the same time," the National Review journal wrote.

The Associated Press paid attention to the victory speech of Volodymyr Zelensky, who told his supporters: "I promise that I will never let you down. To all countries of the former Soviet Union – look at us, everything is possible." The agency believes that "the dispute over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and a deadly separatist war in eastern Ukraine are likely to dominate Zelensky’s agenda."

Many American media outlets don’t completely understand what else can be expected from Zelensky. For example, CNN noted that "prior to his bid for the presidency, Zelensky was best known for his role in the Ukrainian comedy series, "Servant of the People," where he played a destitute schoolteacher who unexpectedly becomes president of Ukraine after becoming famous for an anti-corruption rant that went viral on social media." "Zelensky's rise to power is a testament to voters' deep-rooted disappointment in the governing class, disgust over rampant corruption, and a flagging economy," the TV channel said. Its journalists believe that Zelensky's electoral campaign was rather vague and that he had proposed little in terms of real politics. That is why it is hard to predict what he will do as real Ukrainian president.

Meanwhile, The Los Angeles Times wrote: "Zelensky’s critics say he is a showman with no ability to realize his vague promises to reform the country’s political system. His platform lacks details, critics say, on how he will stop the military conflict on Ukraine’s eastern flank with Russian-backed separatist insurgents who have declared independence from Kyiv."

The Washington Post in its article about the results of the Ukrainian elections and Zelensky's victory cited former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pife, who said: "He’s got some skills how he translates those skills from his past career as an entertainer and as a candidate into actually running the government, it’s going to depend on the people around him."

The Politico outlet shares this opinion: "Zelensky will be dependent on all of those who gain his ear — and there are indications that the jockeying for influence has already begun." The outlet's journalists believe that Zelensky is a political mystery, that is why it is very hard to make any forecast about how he will act as president. Moreover, during his electoral campaign that he spoke about everything rather vaguely and avoided any acute media questions.

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