Ukraine President Zelenskyy Appoints Journalist as His Spokesperson
3 June, 2019
Ukrainian journalist Iuliia Mendel (R) stands alongside the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Facebook / Iuliia Mendel

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has appointed journalist Iuliia Mendel as his spokesperson.

This has emerged from Zelenskyy's decree published on the official website. Mendel, who had to go through a competition against around 4,000 other applicants, called this appointment a "big honor and big responsibility."

"The Administration will be as transparent as possible. Let's start today [at] 4 p.m.," Mendel wrote on Twitter when she shared the news on June 3. 

According to the press secretary of Zelenskyy's team Iryna Pobedonostseva, around 4,000 people applied for the role.

During the first stage, the candidates were tested for basic requirements: proficiency in Ukrainian and English, literacy, work experience in related fields, and higher education. Pobedonostseva recalls that only 50 people got through to the semi-final and received creative tasks. 

"Only three out of 50 reached the final," Pobedonostseva told news site TheBabel. "Zelenskyy personally, as well as members of his presidential administration, talked to these [three]. The contenders had to go through an improvised press conference with unexpected questions." 

"They were neither informed about the format [of the task], nor the topic," Pobedonostseva added.

Mendel wrote for Forbes Ukraine, The New York Times, POLITICO, among other publications. She also, at different times, worked for the Ukrainian TV channels ICTV, Espresso, 112 Ukraine, and Inter.