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Time Names Volodymyr Zelensky Person of the Year for 2022

The Hollywood Reporter 12/7/2022 Etan Vlessing
© Peter Nicholls - Pool/Getty Images

Time magazine named Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky as its person of the year on Wednesday.

The reveal was made on NBC’s Today program as Time Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal said Zelensky had kept Ukraine in the news over the last year amid an invasion by Russian forces beginning in February 2022.

“Whether one looks at this story of Ukraine with a sense of hope or a sense of fear, and the story is, of course, not fully written yet … Zelensky has really galvanized the world in a way we haven’t seen in decades,” Felsenthal said on Today.

The magazine head added Zelensky has skillfully made daily speeches and used social media to rally international governments and companies to pull out of Russia and support Ukraine: “He’s kept the eyes of the world on this story.”

Time’s person of the year, annually picked by the magazine’s editors since 1927, traditionally goes to a major newsmaker within the last year. This year’s cover has the title “Volodymyr Zelensky and the Spirit of Ukraine,” with a headshot of the Ukrainian leader in battle fatigues encircled by smaller photos of ordinary Ukrainian people, many waving their country’s flag.

Zelensky is a former comedian and TV star himself, having played the lead role in a comedy series called Servant of the People — about a history teacher who is elected president of Ukraine — before running in and winning the 2019 presidential election.

The Ukrainian leader has in part kept his country in the world’s headlines to turn back the Russian invasion by meeting Hollywood celebrities like Ben Stiller and David Letterman and receiving their support.

The Time magazine honor for Zelensky comes as his country is now in the tenth month of its defense against Russian forces.

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