Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Wartime Speeches Tell the Story of Ukraine

The Ukrainian president will publish a collection of 16 handpicked addresses later this year

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaking in July
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaking in July Sergei Supinksy / AFP

Since taking office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has delivered over 1,000 addresses. Soon, a selection of his wartime speeches will be published in a new book, A Message From Ukraine.

“Supporting Ukraine is not a trend, a meme or a viral challenge,” says Zelenskyy in a statement from Crown Publishing, which will release the book on December 6. “It is not a force to rapidly spread across the planet and then just as rapidly disappear. If you want to understand who we are, where we are from, what we want and where we are going, you need to learn more about who we are.”

The book begins with an introduction from Zelenskyy and a preface by Arkady Ostrovsky, who edits stories about Russia and Eastern Europe for the Economist. Then, it launches into a collection of 16 speeches Zelenskyy gave between 2019 and 2022, handpicked by the man himself in order to recount the Russia-Ukraine War from his eyes. 

A Message from Ukraine: Speeches, 2019-2022

Bringing together a new introduction by Volodymyr Zelensky with his most powerful war speeches, this book recounts Ukraine’s story through the words of its president.

“It is the story of a nation valiantly defending itself from Russian aggression. And it is the story of a people leading the world in the struggle for democracy,” the book’s description states. “Above all, it is a battle cry for us all to stand up and fight for liberty.”

Proceeds from book sales will go to United24, the initiative Zelenskyy created in May in order to collect donations for Ukraine.

Zelenskyy, 44, was born in Ukraine’s industrial city Kryvyy Rih to Jewish parents. He studied law at the Kryvyy Rih Economic Institute, but pursued an acting and comedy career during and after his studies. He founded Studio Kvartal 95, which became a successful entertainment studio, and starred in a number of mainstream films.

Zelenskyy found his way from entertainment to politics. In 2015, his studio released the political satire Servant of the People, which starred Zelenskyy as a high school teacher who delivers a tirade against corruption; the tirade goes viral, eventually landing him a gig as Ukraine’s president. The show resonated with Ukrainians, who rallied behind him when he announced a real life run for president against then-incumbent Petro Poroshenko.

Zelenskyy was sworn in as Ukraine’s president in May 2019. Now, he is leading the country through a war with Russia, which invaded Ukraine in February. Zelenskyy’s leadership throughout the Russian invasion has earned him comparisons to notable wartime leaders throughout history such as Winston Churchill

Back in March, Zelenskyy channeled Churchill directly, adapting one of his famous speeches to a new era: “We will fight till the end, at sea, in the air,” said Zelenskyy. “We will continue fighting for our land, whatever the cost. We will fight in the forests, in the fields, on the shores, in the streets.”

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