Point-blank: Zelensky Rex

Mohamed Salmawy
Tuesday 10 Jan 2023


Shortly before the end of 2022, which saw the Russian-Ukrainian war, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for establishing a monarchy in Kyiv. The idea was raised by Adviser to the Head of the Office of the President Oleksiy Arestovych. “[I]f you think rationally, the only way to kill everything that is coming at us from Moscow is to declare a monarchy,” he said in an interview with Ukrainian musician Oleg Skripka on 1 January.  A monarchy would bring about stability and preserve territorial integrity and unity, he argued. Noting that the United Kingdom was also a monarchy, he added, “not the worst country in the world, is it?” Arestovych also said that the restoration of the monarchy after Franco brought Spain into the European democratic fold and that there was a “very strong movement” in France to restore the monarchy that had been uprooted by the French Revolution in the 18th century. 

Such shocking remarks by one of Zelensky’s top advisers came amid increasing calls on Ukraine to demonstrate a willingness to engage in serious talks to end a war that has wrought disaster around the world. Instead, in his New Year’s address, Zelensky spoke of escalation, including a plan to invade and occupy Crimea which Russia had annexed following a popular referendum there in 2014. 

In the readers’ comments section appended to the article on Zelensky’s speech in the British Daily Mail, one reader held that “this young man was bought” to play a particular role. Ukraine is not a democracy and is not trying to become one, he added. Its end is near, thanks to Zelensky and Western tactics. Another reader wondered whether Zelensky was really interested in victory or in dragging the war on as long as possible in order to keep the cheques coming. A third asked, how about less asking for money and more talk about peace? In the opinion of a fourth, that fool has to be removed in order to let Ukraine negotiate for peace and let its people resume a normal life. The most scathing criticism was: I just want to remind him that while his people are freezing to death, he is profiting from the war and will soon become the richest man in the country. If this such is the public opinion in the most pro-Ukrainian country in Europe, imagine what public opinion in the rest of the world might be.

A version of this article appears in print in the 12 January, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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