Jessica Pisano on How Zelenskyy Changed Ukraine
Play • 36 min

There were lots of opportunities for a certain part of Ukrainian society to encounter Zelenskyy and to feel that they knew him. He was not an unknown quantity when he ran for president. So, I think that's important for us to keep in mind. I would say the so-called Western World is still discovering who he is, but his loyalty, his integrity, his ideas or his group's ideas about Ukrainian political nationhood have been in the works for a long time.

Jessica Pisano

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A full transcript is available at

Jessica Pisano is Associate Professor in the Department of Politics at the New School for Social Research. She is the author of "How Zelensky Changed Ukraine" in the Journal of Democracy and Staging Democracy: Political Performance in Ukraine, Russia, and Beyond.

Key Highlights

  • Introduction - 0:49
  • Early Career of Zelenskyy - 2:58
  • What is Political Theater? - 10:30
  • Zelenskyy Changes Politics in Ukraine - 17:26
  • Zelenskyy as President - 22:43
  • Future of Ukraine - 30:41

Key Links

Learn more about Jessica Pisano

"How Zelensky Changed Ukraine" by Jessica Pisano in the Journal of Democracy

Staging Democracy: Political Performance in Ukraine, Russia, and Beyond by Jessica Pisano

Democracy Paradox Podcast

Michael McFaul and Robert Person on Putin, Russia, and the War in Ukraine

Lucan Way on Ukraine. Democracy in Hard Places.

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