Ukraine President Zelensky’s Vogue feature with wife sparks mixed response

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Ukraine President Zelensky’s Vogue feature with wife sparks mixed response
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Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has been criticised for appearing in Vogue amid the war in his country.

President Zelensky and his wife Olena Zelenska were photographed by Annie Leibovits for Vogue, in a feature published on July 26.

Ukraine’s first lady appears on the cover of a special global Vogue digital cover story, while Zelensky appears in a number of images, alongside his wife.

The 4,000 word feature, titled Portrait of Bravery, talks about “the power of image-making” and how women’s voices need to be heard and how “the first lady has helped Ukraine assert its own voice.”

Zelenska discusses her family’s experience of the war following Russia’s invasion and how she has been coping in her role as first lady during the conflict.

The feature draws attention to the current situation in Ukraine generally and includes Zelensky’s call for help: “We are fighting for things that could happen in any country in the world.”

“If the world allows this to happen, then it is not upholding its values. That’s why Ukraine needs support—significant support.”

The Vogue feature has received a mixed response. The Ukrainian president and his wife have been criticised–mostly by conservative Americans–for appearing in the magazine during the ongoing conflict, with some deeming it inappropriate.

AJ Delgado, an American attorney and political commentator said: “Not much shocks me these days, but Zelensky and his wife doing a fashionable Vogue shoot, while their own soldiers are dying, is grotesque.

"’Gotta keep that ‘branding’ going, so the American suckers’ pallets of cash keeps flowing to us’, I guess.”

American conservative political activist Scott Presler said: “Why did we send $54 billion to Ukraine, so Zelensky and his wife could pose for Vogue? You’re at war and you’ve got time for photo shoots?”

But other people appreciate how the feature has helped raise awareness of the situation in Ukraine, and has helped keep the war in the forefront of the public’s mind.

Russia-Ukraine Crisis: First pictures from inside the bombed out Mariupol theatre

A view inside the Mariupol theatre damaged during fighting in Mariupol (AP)
A view inside the Mariupol theatre damaged during fighting in Mariupol (AP)
A view inside the Mariupol theatre damaged during fighting in Mariupol (AP)
A view inside the Mariupol theatre damaged during fighting in Mariupol (AP)
A view inside the Mariupol theatre damaged during fighting in Mariupol (AP)
A view inside the Mariupol theatre damaged during fighting in Mariupol (AP)
A view inside the Mariupol theatre damaged during fighting in Mariupol (AP)
A view inside the Mariupol theatre damaged during fighting in Mariupol (AP)
A view inside the Mariupol theatre damaged during fighting in Mariupol (AP)
A view inside the Mariupol theatre damaged during fighting in Mariupol (AP)
A view inside the Mariupol theatre damaged during fighting in Mariupol (AP)
A view inside the Mariupol theatre damaged during fighting in Mariupol (AP)
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Retired US diplomat Alberto Miguel Fernandez, who said: “Actually I think this is pretty smart of Zelensky and company.

“This appeals to a very specific, highly influential Western demographic (look at some of the covers of Vogue over the past couple of years) conflating fashion and elite (liberal) politics.”

Journalist Mark Ames said: “Zelensky’s Vogue shoot makes sense as a marketing stunt, targeting Vogue’s upper-crust readership.

“Here in western NY, support for Ukraine divides along class lines: lotta Ukraine flags in wealthier suburbs, rare in working class/rural/black areas.”

Chief Foreign-Affairs Correspondent of The Wall Street Journal, Yaroslav Trofimov, said: “Zelensky’s key mission is to speak directly to the public opinion of allied nations, so that Ukraine’s cause remains relevant to the widest possible audience, and therefore to elected officials.

“That’s why he speaks to the Cannes festival, to Glastonbury — or gets a Vogue shoot.”

Russia-Ukraine Crisis: Kyiv edges back towards normality

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