Without a suit and in a green shirt, Zelensky wants to signal that the war in Ukraine belongs to everyone

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Without a suit and in a green shirt, Zelensky wants to signal that the war in Ukraine belongs to everyone

Various shades of green. Anyone who watches social media or videos released by Volodymyr Zelensky after the start of the war against Russia notices that the Ukrainian president always appears wearing a tight shirt the color of the forest.

Most of the time the garment is plain, but some models have, on the left side of the chest, the insignia of the Armed Forces or an embroidered Ukrainian flag with the number 5.11, a mark of a manufacturer of military clothing.

The green and its variations also extend to the pants and zip-up sweatshirts worn by the leader, and everything becomes more monochromatic when Zelensky appears in his office seated in a green armchair behind a table filled with objects of the same color.

Though he’s adopted brown in recent days and, on just one occasion, a camouflage T-shirt, the reference to the country’s militarization in his look is obvious.

By replacing the formality of the white shirt and jacket he wore before the war and adopting moss tones, Zelensky conveys the idea of ​​a combatant president, in uniform, who places himself on the front line of the conflict, says Leonardo Trevisan, a doctor in political science at the USP and professor at ESPM.

The expert adds that a civilian leader wearing military-reference clothing symbolizes that war is a matter for all Ukrainians, not just the army. Men aged between 18 and 60 were banned from leaving Ukraine to take up arms.

The idea of ​​civilians turned military by necessity, summarized in this visual, is also sold by the Ukrainian president as a threat to the Russians, according to Trevisan, who recalls the contrast with the pronouncements of the leader of the invading country.

“You don’t assume that when Vladimir Putin talks about Russia he isn’t wearing a jacket and tie.” The Russian president’s political communication is vertical, from top to bottom, while that of his Ukrainian counterpart is horizontal, more egalitarian and used to social networks, horizontal platforms by definition — and this is reflected in the wardrobe.

Zelensky’s both austere and stripped-down look was adopted by other officials across the country. In a photo of talks in Minsk between Ukrainians and Russians days ago to work out a possible ceasefire, three of the four members of the Kiev delegation were dressed in olive green, and only one was in blue and black.

The only visible print was that of a Ukrainian flag—and on a cap. On the opposite side of the table, the five negotiators sent by Moscow wear the classic suit and tie adopted by leaders around the world.

Looking at the history of other times and other conflicts, it is possible to find leaders who followed the same logic. Prime Minister of England during World War II, Winston Churchill dressed in full military uniforms, like that of a commodore in the Royal Air Force, of which he was a part.

He also wore British Army clothing, with whom he had a close relationship, having even posed with soldiers for a photo on top of a tank.

It is worth remembering, by the way, that Churchill was also a model for Zelensky in speeches. Last Tuesday (8), in an emotional virtual appearance in the British Parliament, to a standing ovation, he quoted a famous speech in which the former British prime minister, in that same House of Commons, promised to fight to the end against Germany. Nazi on June 4, 1940.

“We will not surrender and we will not lose. We will fight to the end, at sea, in the air. in the West with a kind of Eastern European Churchill for his resistance to the Russian attack on Kiev.

It is a fact that, in the third week of the war, the colors of the Ukrainian flag entered pop culture, stamping T-shirts at Paris Fashion Week shows and English rock bands.

Zelensky’s look follows suit: green t-shirts similar to his can be purchased online for $16. “Perfect piece for Ukraine lovers. A nice gift for Ukrainians,” reads the description.

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