American publication Politico has released its annual ranking of the most influential individuals in Europe, predicting those who will have the most impact on events in the coming year, 2024. The list includes the most influential person on the continent and winners in three categories: “Doers,” “Disrupters,” and “Dreamers.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was named the “Dreamer of the Year.” According to the ranking presentation, “Winston Churchill. Martin Luther King Jr. Nelson Mandela. Every once in a while, a leader comes along and single-handedly changes the course of history, not through the might of their army or the strength of their economy, but through the power of their words. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is such a leader.”
Politico notes that Zelenskyy inspires Ukrainians to continue resisting Russia’s attempts at full-scale invasion, “cajoled, shamed and begged nations into helping them do so.” The rhetorical efforts have borne fruit, with Western allies providing financial aid and an increasing amount of sophisticated weaponry to Ukraine, the journalists add.
Also, in the “Doers” category, friends of Ukraine – President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola and Czech President Petr Pavel – were recognized.
Another Ukrainian mentioned in the ranking is the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak. He secured the fourth position in the “Doers” category.
“Andriy Yermak is reportedly known in some circles as Kyiv’s “Green Cardinal.” That’s because Yermak is the head of office to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, whose last name relates to an East Slavic word for “green” — and also because he has a habit of attending photo-ops in the military-inspired khaki outfits his boss popularized. Yermak is the mastermind behind Kyiv’s push to engage with developing countries in a bid to wrestle them away from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s warm (and oil-rich) embrace,” Politico writes.
In the “Doers” category, friends of Ukraine also include Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (first place), French President Emmanuel Macron, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and President of Türkiye Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
In the “Disrupters” category, Elvira Nabiullina, the Governor of the Bank of Russia, known as “Putin’s banker,” emerged victorious. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán claimed the “bronze” in this category. Throughout the year, “Viktor Orbán has rolled back the rule of law and media freedoms at home, clashed with the EU’s institutions, held Brussels hostage by vetoing policies in an effort to extract cash, and developed something of a bromance with Russian President Vladimir Putin,” according to the publication.
In the category of the most influential person in Europe, Polish politician and leader of the Civic Platform, Donald Tusk, took the top spot. Politico labeled his return to power in Poland as “the wind of change.”