On this panel, in which extra seats were brought in to the already packed hall, seasoned PR professionals Ankica Mamić and Krešimir Macan and experienced editors and directors of influential newspapers, Ivan Buča and Renato Ivanuš, agreed that Zelensky’s appearance with his wife on the cover of the influential fashion magazine Vogue – was a good move.
As, according to Carl von Clausewitz, war is just a continuation of politics by other means. The panelists agreed that featuring the Zelensky couple in Vogue managed to light the flame of hope in the Ukrainian people and draw the attention of the world to their suffering.
Buča praised the editors of Vogue and pointed out that today there is no one in the business who would not want to have an interview with the president of Ukraine and the first lady. And while Zelensky may not have a nuclear bomb, he does have the power of his family behind him. In this way, however, his wife is both a target and a weapon, and according to Macan, a symbol of Ukraine and women everywhere.
Macan also emphasized the success of the Ukrainians in the psychological war and highlighted Zelensky’s celebrity status which, in the case of the president’s appearance in Vogue, managed to stimulate discussion and, in the temporary lull in the war, once again put the suffering of the Ukrainian people in the foreground. Ankica Mamić noted that in war, apart from weapons, the most important thing is propaganda, which is the key to Ukraine’s success in gaining allies.
Speaking more about modern warfare, Buča pointed out that at first he thought the photos of the Finnish prime minister were deepfakes, but given that Sanna Marin publicly responded to the criticism by saying that she saw nothing controversial in the photos, the whole story ended and no one talks about it anymore.
Under the moderation of Robert Čoban, the panel “Warfare by other means” turned, as expected, from the analysis of Ukraine’s wartime communications and photos of the Finnish prime minister, into domestic media waters and media attacks on politicians and their private lives. Commenting on the relationship between domestic politicians and the media in comparison to that same relationship in Great Britain, Renato Ivanuš, chief executive officer of Večernji list, concluded that there are no untouchables: “The way politicians treat us is the same way we treat them. So, for us, it’s great. When we see how and where the politicians are running the country, we cannot expect the media to always play nice.”