Ukraine’s recently-elected President Zelenskyy won with a resounding mandate, yet one big criticism, pre– and post– election has been an apparent unwillingness to talk to the media. For a former showman who appeared on Ukrainian TV screens for over a decade, this lack of transparency has led many journalists to complain of a lack of communication from the president. But in a seeming effort to address those concerns, President Zelenskyy last week decided to hold what his administration called a ‘press marathon.’ Held at a newly opened boutique food court in the center of Kyiv, the Ukrainian president spoke to journalists for 14 straight hours.
But did the President manage to effectively address his perceived lack of communication with journalists? According to Anna Myroniuk, a journalist for the Kyiv Post, despite the length of the conference (the president now holds the world record for longest press briefing held by a political leader), Zelenskyy still failed to comprehensively answer some very important questions: “Zelenskyy had a problem with addressing questions sometimes...sometimes he was very aggressive, even rude...He didn’t want to answer certain questions, and instead he asked journalists…”
And she wasn’t alone in that view. The Guardian’s Moscow correspondent, Andrew Roth, also attended the press conference in Kyiv, and he characterized it as “...a little bit of a circus...part of the idea was to create this sort of spectacle of transparency,” though Roth did add that it was physically impressive for the President to hold up to 14 hours of interviews with journalists.