Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy tops POLITICO 28 poll as the most powerful person in Europe – POLITICO

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POLITICO readers have named Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy the most powerful person in Europe.

The online “People’s Choice” poll is designed to update the annual POLITICO 28 list of the most powerful people released in December. The list, which predicts who will set the political tone and make the big decisions in Europe this year, was the result of months of debate among the 100-strong editorial team.

In light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the profound geopolitical and economic changes that followed, POLITICO invited readers to vote on changes to the list.

A respondent to the Audience Choice poll, which launched in early March, described Zelenskyy as “a beacon of hope” striving for “peace, democracy, decency” as Ukraine struggles to withstand an invasion by Russian forces.

Since the fighting began in the early hours of February 24, Zelenskyy has posted regular video updates to social media, including posts of him in downtown Kyiv and at work in his presidential office complex.

He has also given powerful video speeches to the US Congress, the British Parliament and the German Bundestag, among others, crafting each appearance to hammer in a key message: that Ukraine needs more Western support in its fight against Russia.

Crucially, his messages helped change the nature of debate in European capitals and forced the kind of about-face in government policy that was unthinkable just a few months ago.

For example, Germany suspended the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline just before the invasion, breaking a long-standing taboo on sending weapons to conflict zones while pledging to increase defense spending. Elsewhere, countries like Poland and Hungary, which have recently been critical of European migration policies, have opened their borders to millions of refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.

In the POLITICO 28 poll, readers also said that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock should have been on the original list. Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron, Putin and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen have been touted as the most popular alternatives for the overall most powerful position.

POLITICO elected Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi last December as our most powerful person overall. Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelenskyy tops POLITICO 28 poll as the most powerful person in Europe – POLITICO

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