Russia on Thursday slammed Time Magazine after it named Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky the “Person of the Year.”
Speaking to journalists, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov characterized Time Magazine’s decision to pick Zelensky as “short-sighted” and “Russophobic.”
“Time magazine employs its own criteria, which we can go on with or disagree, and it is their own editorial policy,” the spokesman was quoted as saying by the Russian state news agency TASS. “However, in this case, the magazine’s editorial directives remain within the boundaries of the pan-European mainstream, which is totally short-sighted, anti-Russian and vehemently Russophobic.”
Zelensky was named Time Magazine’s person of the year in recognition of his leadership and his commitment to stay in the country as war erupted, even when he had no previous military experience.
“In the weeks after Russian bombs began falling on Feb. 24, his decision not to flee Kyiv but to stay and rally support was fateful. From his first 40-second Instagram post on Feb. 25 – showing that his Cabinet and civil society were intact and in place – to daily speeches delivered remotely to the likes of houses of Parliament, the World Bank, and the Grammy Awards, Ukraine’s President was everywhere,” Edward Felsenthal, Time’s editor in chief, wrote in a profile of the wartime leader.
The magazine also highlighted the “spirit of Ukraine,” which Felsenthal said was embodied by individuals who contributed to Ukraine’s resilience and recovery amid the war, including health workers, journalists and humanitarian leaders.
“If the choices their President articulated gave moral clarity to an era we’d mostly been scrolling through, it was people who gave it meaning, by acting,” Felsenthal wrote in a separate article.
Time picked Zelensky from a shortlist of 10 people, which included Chinese President Xi Jinping, Tesla CEO and Twitter owner Elon Musk, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Time Magazine has been naming “the person of the year” since 1927, though it was called the man of the year at the time. The magazine chooses individuals or multiple people who have had a major impact on their country and the world throughout a calendar year. Past recipients include President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, Greta Thunberg, Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler.