Unwinding Zelensky

Who really is Zelensky? In a a bag of carrots he’s a populist demagogue and a manipulator. An autocrat at the head of a regime that can best be described as proto-fascist, without endorsing Putin’s pathetic alibi of a “Nazified” Ukraine.

With his demagogic cry of “the people against the elites”, his rudimentary electoral programme, his false promises to fight corruption that were forgotten as soon as he was elected, and his brutal authoritarian leanings, Zelensky is a perfect example of western populism.

It’s light years from his carefully crafted media image. Just last year, the Pandora Papers showed how he and his close circle benefited from a network of offshore companies. Since the Russian invasion, pundits appear to have conveniently “forgotten” these facts.

According to Transparency International’s latest corruption index, Ukraine under Zelensky scored 32 out of 100, on a scale where 0 means highly corrupt and 100 means very clean.

It was just a few points ahead of Russia, and on par with countries ravaged by corruption, such as Zambia, Algeria and Egypt. This was the case even before the West began pumping billions into Ukraine.

As for Zelensky’s approval ratings, they were in free-fall just before the war broke out, with 55 percent of Ukrainian voters saying they were against his candidacy for a second term.

Zelensky was thus literally saved by Putin’s February invasion, which has proved to be a real miracle for him and his entourage of cronies.

The Kyiv regime also exhibits a growing number of proto-fascistic characteristics: the cult of the personality, which turns the head of state into a venerated and untouchable figure.

The militarisation of society; the saturation of media and cultural spaces with war propaganda; the constant staging of a crude warrior machismo, not unlike Putin’s; systemic corruption; and of course, the integration into the regular army of neo-Nazi groups, such as the Azov regiment.