Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday that post-war Ukraine will be like a “big Israel” and won’t be “liberal” like Europe.
“Ukraine will definitely not be what we wanted it to be from the beginning. It is impossible. Absolutely liberal, European — it will not be like that. It [Ukraine] will definitely come from the strength of every house, every building, every person,” Zelensky said. “We will become a ‘big Israel’ with its own face.”
The Ukrainian leader said he expects society to be highly militarized. “We will not be surprised if we have representatives of the Armed Forces or the National Guard in cinemas, supermarkets, and people with weapons. I am confident that the question of security will be the issue number one for the next 10 years. I am sure of it,” he added,” he said.
Zelensky insisted that such measures wouldn’t threaten democracy and wouldn’t turn Ukraine into an authoritarian state. “An authoritarian state would lose to Russia. People know what they are fighting for,” he said.
However, since the war started, Zelensky has prohibited military-age males from leaving Ukraine, banned 11 opposition political parties, and nationalized the media. Hawks in the US often tout Ukraine as a “liberal democracy” worth defending, and President Biden has framed the conflict in Russia as a battle between “autocracy” and “democracy.”