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2022.03.27 与沃洛季米尔-泽伦斯基在作战室里的谈话

发表于 2022-3-28 10:37:55 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式

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In the war room with Volodymyr Zelensky
Tired but still cracking jokes, Ukraine’s hunted president says “I’m not a hero”

Mar 27th 2022

The white metal gates creak open, revealing spruce trees and sandbags. “Welcome to the fortress,” says a presidential aide. Squinting, you can see the snipers: left, right, up and down. The air-defence systems, huge chunks of metal, are easier to spot. When the gates close, a soldier picks up a red vertushka, a secure government phone from the Soviet era, and asks for orders. We’re moved towards a side entrance, then escorted inside through blacked-out corridors and stairways – up, down and deep into the body of the Ukrainian war machine.

It has taken nearly an hour for us to reach the gates of Volodymyr Zelensky’s compound, a journey that would normally last ten minutes. The cobblestone streets of Kyiv are largely free of traffic these days, but the city’s central arteries have been reconfigured to confuse the enemy. The route snakes its way to the grey Soviet monolith past anti-tank obstacles, past men with guns, and increasingly well fortified checkpoints. We change vehicles. The nervy state of readiness in Kyiv is reminiscent of February 2014, when the Russian government’s efforts to keep Ukraine in its grip led to “the revolution of dignity” and the deaths of more than 100 people. Now the capital is on a war footing once again.

Inside the presidential compound, we are asked to leave our phones, devices, electronics and pens at the door – anything that could be used to identify our exact location. As we are searched with mobile metal detectors, an office manager looks on anxiously from behind a large pile of toilet rolls. She is one of the few people still commuting every day: “It’s scary travelling in now, but what can you do?” Most other members of staff have been sleeping on site in camp beds since the start of war.

More fumbling along darkened corridors and, abruptly, we find ourselves in Ukraine’s situation room. With its white formica table, high-backed chairs and large screens, it could be a corporate meeting room, but for the words emblazoned on each side, yellow on blue: “Office of the President of Ukraine”. For the past four weeks, as Zelensky has posted, telegrammed and tweeted, this backdrop has become famous. A serious-looking soldier enters. “Uvaga!” he barks: “Attention!” Ten seconds later, the president bounces into the room, accompanied by a handful of men with machineguns. Zelensky seats himself at the head of the table, in front of a carefully positioned Ukrainian flag, and starts talking.

The evolution of Zelensky from comic actor and rookie politician to world statesman has taken just three years – the arc was yanked upwards in the past month. In the early days of his presidency in 2019, Zelensky was a pioneering postmodern leader who tried to be everything to everyone. He was elected not for his policies – he didn’t have many – but for his vague opposition to the corruption and ideologies of the political class. For three seasons he had played the part of a teacher-turned-president in a popular tv series, “Servant of the People”. But in the early days as the real president he sometimes seemed out of his depth; when the press asked him difficult questions, he seemed uncomfortable, even irritable.

“You can’t imagine what it means or how you’ll do. I didn’t expect it to be this hard. I’m not a hero”

Events have forged his presidency into something more substantial. When war broke out, he immediately ditched his dark suits and clean shave for green khaki and a short beard. He already had combat gear to hand for visiting troops at the front line – one set for winter, one for spring: “I had them, only not so many.” He is wearing the new role well. Though he’s tired, and fidgets endlessly, there’s a calmness beneath the swagger. Zelensky shakes hands respectfully with everyone (one person gets a hug) and leans in to make eye contact. He pulls up his own chair. He pours his own fizzy water into his own plastic cup.

He engages with the conversation, firing back quick, friendly, sometimes mischievous answers, and strokes his beard as he speaks. Asked what he needs most from the West he immediately responds: “Number one, aeroplanes,” a smile flickers across his eyes: “Number two, but it’s really number one, tanks.” It comes as a surprise when he occasionally breaks his flow. “What does a Ukrainian victory look like?” we ask him. He raises his eyebrows, winces and takes a full seven seconds before speaking – realising, it seems, that millions of people depend on his answer: “Victory is being able to save as many lives as possible.”

“I didn’t expect it to be this hard,” says Zelensky. “You can’t imagine what it means or how well you’ll do as president.” The Russian attack has pushed his leadership into the unknown. He leans back in his chair: “I’m not a hero”. That is the achievement of his people, he says.

“Something isn’t right when the president’s translator isn’t available to the president”
He repeatedly uses the word honesty. “You have to be honest, so that people believe you. No need to try. You need to be yourself.” This attempt to be authentic has generated adulation, even memes, as Zelensky has baited the Russians and inspired Ukrainians with social-media videos from the streets of Kyiv. “If I don’t go out even for three or four days, and only stay in my office, I won’t know what’s going on in the world,” he says. He doesn’t need to spell out the inference, but he does. Vladimir Putin has been on his own in his bunker “for more like two decades”.

Zelensky surrounds himself with a small assembly of journalists, lawyers, performers and self-help professionals, his war-time “pop-up government”, as Sergii Leshchenko, a former journalist, now a member of the presidential staff, labels it. The entourage – all also kitted out in military green – seem at ease with each other and their leader. But not everything is in place. There is a long delay in getting the presidential interpreter to the room. The message comes back: he is busy on a foreign call. “Something isn’t right when the president’s translator isn’t available to the president,” Zelensky jokes.

The president wonders aloud which language he should be using. “When you ask in Russian, I will answer you in Russian. When you ask in English, I will answer in Ukrainian.” His aides suggest he should be speaking only Ukrainian. The president agrees, but doesn’t always follow the rule, and at times speaks in accented English – which he speaks well, despite his apologies for forgetting words. (At one point he wags his finger at the translator: “That was not everything I said,” he laughs.)

“When you ask in Russian, I will answer you in Russian. When you ask in English, I will answer in Ukrainian”

It all comes across as a bit chaotic, and perhaps it is. And yet everyone seems to know what to do. They are getting on with the job, despite the constant threat of a bomb falling on them. They are doing their work without waiting for his sign-off. They are the power here. Zelensky, for his part, believes one man cannot and should not control everything. As the country looks for every way to defeat Russia on the battleground, that understanding – a belief in the power of individual people choosing to stand together as one – may turn out to be Ukraine’s saving grace.■

Oliver Carroll is a correspondent for The Economist in Ukraine. You can read the rest of our coverage of the war here

疲惫但仍在开玩笑,乌克兰被追捕的总统说 "我不是英雄"



我们花了近一个小时才到达沃洛迪米尔-泽伦斯基(Volodymyr Zelensky)大院的大门,这段旅程通常会持续10分钟。这些天,基辅的鹅卵石街道基本上没有车辆,但城市的中心干道已经被重新配置,以迷惑敌人。这条路线蜿蜒地通往灰色的苏维埃巨石,经过反坦克障碍物,经过带枪的人,以及越来越多的强化检查站。我们换了车。基辅紧张的准备状态让人想起2014年2月,当时俄罗斯政府为使乌克兰处于其控制之下,导致了 "尊严革命 "和100多人的死亡。现在,首都再次处于战争状态。

在总统府大院内,我们被要求将手机、设备、电子产品和笔放在门口--任何可能被用来识别我们确切位置的东西。当我们被移动金属探测器搜查时,一位办公室经理从一大堆卫生卷纸后面焦急地看着我们。她是少数仍然每天通勤的人之一。"现在出行很可怕,但你能做什么?" 自从战争开始以来,大多数其他工作人员都在现场睡在营地的床上。

沿着黑暗的走廊摸索,我们突然发现自己来到了乌克兰的情况室。这里有白色的人造板桌、高背椅和大屏幕,它可能是一个公司的会议室,但两侧都印有蓝底黄字。"乌克兰总统办公室"。在过去的四个星期里,随着泽伦斯基在网上、电报和推特上的发布,这个背景已经变得很有名。一个神情严肃的士兵走进来。"Uvaga!"他喊道:"注意!" 10秒钟后,总统在几个拿着机枪的人的陪同下,蹦蹦跳跳地走进房间。泽伦斯基坐在桌前,在一面精心摆放的乌克兰国旗前,开始说话。



事件将他的总统任期铸成了更多的东西。战争爆发后,他立即抛弃了深色西装和干净的剃须,换上了绿色卡其布和短胡须。他手头已经有了用于访问前线部队的战斗装备--一套用于冬季,一套用于春季。"我有这些东西,只是没有这么多。" 他把这个新角色穿得很好。尽管他很疲惫,而且无休止地坐立不安,但在豪迈的外表下却有一种平静。泽伦斯基恭敬地与每个人握手(一个人得到了一个拥抱),并俯身与他们进行眼神交流。他拉起自己的椅子。他把自己的气泡水倒进自己的塑料杯。

他参与谈话,快速、友好、有时调皮地回答,并在说话时抚摸他的胡子。当被问及他最需要西方国家的什么时,他立即回答道。"第一,飞机。"他的眼中闪过一丝微笑。"第二,但实际上是第一,坦克。" 当他偶尔打破他的流程时,这让人感到惊讶。"乌克兰的胜利是什么样子的?"我们问他。他扬起眉毛,抽了抽鼻子,足足过了七秒钟才开口--似乎意识到数百万人都依赖于他的答案。"胜利就是能够拯救尽可能多的生命。"

"我没有想到会这么难,"泽伦斯基说。"你无法想象这意味着什么,也无法想象你作为总统会做得多好。" 俄罗斯的攻击把他的领导层推向了未知的境地。他靠在椅子上。"我不是一个英雄"。他说,那是他的人民的成就。


泽伦斯基身边有一小群记者、律师、表演者和自助专家,他的战时 "临时政府",正如前记者、现在的总统办公室成员谢尔盖-莱先科所称。随行人员--也都身着军绿色的装备--似乎对彼此和他们的领导人都很放心。但并非一切都已就绪。在将总统翻译带入房间方面,出现了长时间的延误。消息传来:他正忙于一个外国电话。"泽伦斯基开玩笑说:"当总统的翻译不能为总统服务时,事情就不对了。

总统大声问道,他应该使用哪种语言。"当你用俄语问时,我会用俄语回答你。当你用英语问时,我会用乌克兰语回答。" 他的助手们建议他应该只说乌克兰语。总统同意了,但并不总是遵循这一规则,有时会用带口音的英语说话--尽管他为忘词而道歉,但他说得很好。(有一次,他对翻译挥了挥手指。"那不是我说的全部,"他笑着说。)



Oliver Carroll是《经济学人》驻乌克兰记者。你可以在这里阅读我们对这场战争的其他报道
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