Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, taught the world a lesson in rhetoric, in the proper sense of ‘the art of effective or persuasive speaking’, in the month following the Russian invasion. His live appeals by video to the elected representatives of the European Union, Britain, Canada, the United States, Germany and Israel were masterclasses in tailoring messages to audiences. He spoke first to the European parliament about Ukraine’s hope of joining the EU. He said that Vladimir Putin’s war was a ‘high price to pay’ for that aspiration. For those infused with the idealism of a union designed to prevent war in Europe, this was powerful stuff, bringing one translator close to tears.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s rhetorical tour de force