From the most marginalized wife to the bravest first lady, Olena Zhelenska plays an increasingly important role in the information war with her husband, President Volodymyr Zhelensky. With thousands of women armed on the streets of Kyiv or Mariupol, the 44-year-old has been actively involved in the digital battlefield to draw global attention to the atrocities and victims of the war.
From fiction to new reality
Like her husband Volodymyr Zhelensky, Olena Zhelenska and Nee Kyashko were not charged for their political careers. As an architecture student, he chose to pursue his career as an actor and became a screenwriter at the Quartel 95 production company founded by Zhelensky. After the famous success of the film “Servant of the People” Volodymyr Zhelensky chose to enter the presidential election, the couple transforms the fiction into reality, where he played the professor who became president of Ukraine. “I was not very happy when I realized what the plans were. I realized our whole life was going to change,” the new First Lady said in an interview. Vogue Ukraine, A few months after starting his new life. “Our new reality demands its own rules and I try to abide by them,” he added, never doubting how dark that reality will eventually be.
A picture of strength and courage
Almost three years after her husband entered parliament, in the midst of the Russian invasion, the first woman booked to carry her files behind the scenes was no longer Olena Zhelenska. “Today I will not be afraid or cry. I will be calm and confident, ”he wrote on social media on February 24. After that, she did not leave the country. “By the time she leaves, it will have conceded defeat. However, she shows she’s willing to risk her life, she opposes,” said Mireille Lalancette, UQTR’s social relations professor and political communications expert.
Will be useful in the new functional arena
Open letter to the media, publications on the deaths of many children with moving photos, direct appeals to the international community and NATO countries, Olena Zhelenska is using the power of social networks at full speed. If her husband appeared almost in the form of a warrior, permanently wearing his military T-shirt, the First Lady would have included co-victims of the war. “She speaks to different audiences. She can reach out to those who are not interested in politics in normal times. […] All of this could have an impact on international aid, fundraising, public opinion and mobilization for another war, ”she said.Me Lalencet refers to the performance of Olena Zhelenska’s publications as “calling emotions”. In this new digital theater, according to experts, it must be acknowledged that the Ukrainians are at the forefront, especially thanks to the First Lady, the British newspaper’s “secret weapon” Telegraph. “In stage and campaign perspectives, symbols are thought of, they are never trivial,” says Simon Dibalt, a professor of political science at the University of Montreal. The desire to elevate people’s morale is evident by saying “Look, we are here, we are not afraid”. ⁇
Is she a role model for first ladies?
Although this character usually plays in the shadow of the president, the growing space occupied by Olena Zhelenso can set a precedent. “In general, it carries a supporting role, support mission, mainly social cause, and the role in the United States is not well defined everywhere,” Mireille Lalancette notes. “But in the current context, she can not be behind the scenes, and you can see her embracing this role, even if she says she’s sidelined. We’m sure we’ll use it in the war on information, “said Simon Thibault, a political communications expert.