There is an image war between Vladimir Putin and Vladimir Zelensky
After Vladimir Putin’s unexpected visit to Crimea, Vladimir Zelensky went to Donbass, a region claimed by the Kremlin.
A war within a war. Since the beginning of the aggression of the Russian army on Ukraine on February 24, the fighting has intensified throughout the country, and the Kyiv regime has been able to gradually return to a disadvantageous position with the support of Western forces. In parallel with this bloody conflict, Ukrainian and Russian leaders Vladimir Zelensky and Vladimir Putin are currently engaged in an image war that largely favors the strongman of Kiev. .
Volodymyr Zelensky, who is ubiquitous on social networks, chose to use them as a weapon on his own. The former actor was able to move and enliven his population with his daily performances, while at the same time alerting Western public opinion by effectively mastering the codes of these platforms. To date, he has 16.8 million followers on Instagram and 7 million followers on Twitter.
“We are in an interconnected war today. You have the reality on the ground, the perception people have, and the virtual world between the two. This virtual world takes precedence, and is more important than success on the ground. Exploitation by good media techniques and good networks. show them in an image to do it,” says military historian Cédric Mas with BFMTV.
Corroded Russian communication
This Monday, to regain the upper hand in this image battle, Vladimir Putin personally visited the Kerch Strait bridge that marks the border with Crimea, which has been annexed by Russia since 2014. A symbolic visit after the building was hit. At the beginning of October, there was a violent explosion and great damage. Moreover, it was the first official visit of the Russian president to the region since the beginning of the conflict.
It’s just that the pictures don’t particularly emphasize Vladimir Putin. Dressed in a big jacket, he is behind the wheel of a “Mercedes” car, accompanied by several cameramen, and notes that the bridge has not yet been fully restored. Even when the Kremlin strongman speaks for a few minutes to the workers on the square, there is a sense of staging.
BFMTV’s international political columnist Patrick Sauce tells us, “You have a very remarkable 20th-century relationship with men standing before an autocrat.”
This sense of showmanship and sly communication was felt many times. At the end of November, the Russian president received the mothers of Russian soldiers who died on the Ukrainian front, and the women who participated in the meeting were carefully selected.
In recent weeks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov promised that Vladimir Putin would visit the Donbass region. However, this Tuesday, the Russian president was preceded by his Ukrainian counterpart, who himself went to these areas on the occasion of the Armed Forces Day.
“We always start by remembering our fallen heroes, all those who gave their lives for Ukraine,” he said, adding that he hoped to find his soldiers in “our Ukrainian regions” in Luhansk on the same holiday in 2023. Donetsk and Crimea.
This visit is significant on several levels. “Even if this trip is prepared, it is a modern response to the video that Putin made on the Crimean bridge. He has a number of messages to convey to the Ukrainians, the West, and also to the Russians.” The idea is also to “taunt Putin” by reminding that the “counteroffensive is not over”.
“It’s aimed at both domestic politicians and Ukrainians… Every night he gives a speech explaining what’s going on. It’s aimed at the Russians and the international community that needs him for arms and support,” Cédric Mas adds. , is still on our airwaves.
In total, Vladimir Zelensky released two videos of him in Donbass, which Moscow claims to have annexed in September, but without complete control.