THE WORLD’S HERO OF 2022
“This year’s choice was the most clear-cut in memory. Whether the battle for Ukraine fills one with hope or with fear, Volodymyr Zelensky galvanized the world in a way we haven’t seen in decades. In the weeks after Russian bombs began falling on Feb. 24, his decision not to flee Kyiv but to stay and rally support was fateful. From his first 40-second Instagram post on Feb. 25—showing that his Cabinet and civil society were intact and in place—to daily speeches delivered remotely to the likes of houses of Parliament, the World Bank, and the Grammy Awards, Ukraine’s President was everywhere. His information offensive shifted the geopolitical weather system, setting off a wave of action that swept the globe.
In a world that had come to be defined by its divisiveness, there was a coming together around this cause, around this country that some outside it might not be able to find on a map. At the U.N., 141 countries condemned the invasion; only North Korea, Syria, Eritrea, and Belarus—dictatorships all—voted with Moscow. Major companies pulled out of Russia en masse, erasing billions in revenues. Financial, material, humanitarian, and military support came pouring in. Strangers took in refugees; restaurateurs fed the hungry; doctors flew in to help the wounded. Ukraine’s flag unfurled across social media; its colors, blue and yellow, lit up landmarks from Tokyo to Sandusky, Ohio…
For proving that courage can be as contagious as fear, for stirring people and nations to come together in defense of freedom, for reminding the world of the fragility of democracy—and of peace—Volodymyr Zelensky and the spirit of Ukraine are TIME’s 2022 Person of the Year.”
This is in recognition of Zelensky being the world’s most admired man and justly so – standing in such sharp contrast to his foe, Putin, as the world’s most despised human being and justly so.
TIME correspondent Simon Schuster has spent more time with Zelensky than any other Western journalist. He wrote the 2022 Person of the Year Essay accompanying the award, which he summarized in this 6-minute video which is worth your while watching:
When Putin invaded Ukraine on February 24, he along with most of the world thought it would take Russians three days to take Kyiv and thus the country. Russian officers a few days before booked reservations at Kyiv’s best restaurants for victory dinners. As the invasion commenced, Biden called Zelensky to personally offer US assistance for him and his family to escape Ukraine.
Zelensky’s response to Biden was the most electrifying of modern history: “The fight is here. I need ammunition, not a ride!” With those words, he saved his country from extinction. He would stand and fight, and thus so did his country.
And now, to the amazement of many and to the joy of many more, Ukraine’s David is defeating Putin’s Goliath. So much so, Putin’s crybabies are complaining of Ukraine attacking their airbases hundreds of miles inside Russia.
Ereyesterday (12/05), long range drones blew up Russkie Tupolev bombers at Engels Air Base, and at Ryazan as well. Early yesterday morning, they blew up a giant fuel depot at Kursk.
Fact is, much of the Soviet military aviation industry was not in Russia but Ukraine. Since the US won’t give them long range weapons to take Russia’s war to Russia itself, Ukrainians are building those weapons themselves. Note where the attacked airbases are. This means that Moscow itself is within Ukrainian range.
The bottom line is that Ukraine will militarily defeat Russia. All Putin has got is freezing untrained cannon fodder for troops and artillery that bombs civilians and electrical infrastructure. He has no allies save for Iran. China’s Xi is giving him no weapons or anything else, merely waiting to feed off Russia’s carcass.
Make no mistake: When the last Russian soldier departs Ukrainian soil (yes, including Crimea), the physical break-up of Russia begins. That departure will most likely be within the next six months.
Just as when the last Soviet soldier left Afghanistan, crossing the bridge over the Amu Darya River into Termez, Uzbek SSR on February 15, 1989, the physical break-up of the Soviet Empire and the Soviet Union itself began. It took less than two years back then, until the complete extinction of the USSR on December 9, 1991. By 2025 there will still be a Russia, but a grossly shrunken remnant only.
Ukraine, on the other hand, by 2025 will be flourishing and free, the best place for investment, and fully integrated into Europe, the EU and NATO.
As Zelensky explained to TIME’s Schuster:
“We are dealing with a powerful state that is pathologically unwilling to let Ukraine go. They see the democracy and freedom of Ukraine as a question of their own survival. The only way to defeat an enemy like that—not just to win a temporary truce, but to win the war— is to persuade the rest of the free world to pull Ukraine in the other direction, toward sovereignty, independence, and peace.”
And thanks to Volodymyr Zelensky and the Ukrainian people, so shall it be.