Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy tops POLITICO 28 poll as most powerful person in Europe

Press play to listen to this article

Readers of POLITICO have selected Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as the most powerful person in Europe.

The “Audience Choice” online poll is aimed at updating the annual POLITICO 28 list of the most powerful people that was published in December. The list, which predicts who will be making the political weather and taking the big decisions in Europe this year, was a result of months of debate amongst the 100-strong editorial team.

In light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the profound geopolitical and economic shifts that have followed, POLITICO invited readers to vote on changes to the list.

One contributor to the Audience Choice survey, which was launched in early March, described Zelenskyy as “a beacon of hope” who was striving for “peace, democracy, decency” as Ukraine struggles to resist an invasion by Russian forces.

Since the fighting started in the early hours of February 24, Zelenskyy has posted regular video updates on social media, including posts of him in downtown Kyiv and at work in his presidential office complex.

He has also delivered powerful video speeches to the U.S. Congress, U.K. parliament and German Bundestag among others, tailoring each appearance to hammer home a central message: that Ukraine needs more support from the West in its fight against Russia.

Critically, his messaging has helped change the nature of debate within European capitals, forcing the kind of U-turns in government policy that were unthinkable just a few months ago.

For example, Germany suspended the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline just ahead of the invasion and broke a long-standing taboo on sending weapons to conflict zones, while also pledging to boost defense spending. Elsewhere, countries recently critical of Europe’s migration policy, such as Poland and Hungary, have opened their borders to millions of refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.

In the POLITICO 28 poll, readers also said Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock should have made the original list. Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron, Putin and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen were touted as the most popular alternatives for the overall most powerful position.

POLITICO selected Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi as our overall most powerful person last December.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You May Also Like


Jamie Dettmer is opinion editor at POLITICO Europe. “Nothing in his lifeBecame him like the leaving it.” These lines, from Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” are of...


Up to 71 million people from the poorest countries in the world are projected to be facing severe poverty as a result of the...


Europeans risk seeing social media services Facebook and Instagram shut down this summer, as Ireland’s privacy regulator doubled down on its order to stop...


Kyiv is summoning Turkey’s ambassador to Ukraine after Ankara released the Zhibek Zholy cargo ship with “stolen” Ukrainian grain Wednesday evening, Ukraine’s Ministry of...


Press play to listen to this article LONDON — Boris Johnson will resign after a wave of government resignations and a revolt from his...


In this ongoing project, POLITICO is hosting a sort of digital diary following Ukrainian refugees across Europe as they adjust to lives forever changed...


This article is the product of a POLITICO Working Group. Post-Brexit U.K. is looking for fields where it can get ahead of the EU —...


When it comes to rule-of-law problems in the European Union, Poland and Hungary are just the tip of the iceberg. Over the past five...