If you are thinking of using MI6 agent Volodymyr Zelensky’s name to manufacture or distribute “underwear, hats, video games, kitchen utensils and knives…. toilet brushes and loo roll holders”, don’t even think about it. Ukraine’s answer to Hunter Biden has trademarked his last name “to stop anyone cashing in on his international fame”.
As Zelensky has all sorts of toilet equipment trade-marked, you will have to pay him off and, presumably, The Big Guy as well. The same goes for those “hoping to cash in on his reputation as a military mastermind” as Zelensky has “also trademarked his name for military equipment, including guns, ballistic weapons, explosives, grenades and rocket launchers”.
Vodka and drones are also on the haram list, as are comedy clubs, Zelensky having previously earned his crust as a male stripper.
Although the tabloid Sun newspaper brought us this world exclusive, Zelensky, as this in-depth Daily Telegraph report explains, is a brand to die for. You can buy the “President’s sweatshirt,” as his marketing office dubs it, on U-Shirt’s website, for only $100, knowing “that the Sweatshirt’s significance simply revolves around the fact that it’s another example of casual political style, like Barack Obama’s rolled-up sleeves, or Emmanuel Macron’s absence of a tie”. And, if aping Obama and Macron was not enough value for your $100, the Daily Telegraph assures you that Zelensky’s shirts have the whiff of “military commanders such as Napoleon or Henry V who are most revered as leaders” about them.
So, there you go. Zelensky is Napoleon by the Dnieper. Buy your cocked hat now and forget who won the 1812, 1943 and 2023 battles of the Dnieper.
Zelensky’s sweaty undergarments, the Telegraph tells us, not only speak “to an urgency for peace and for aid” but “by sporting the Sweatshirt, Zelensky immediately minimises Putin’s petulant machismo, pricking the Russian President’s brittle demeanour and – in a flash – making him seem like some outmoded and old-fashioned fascist blockhead from the mid 20th century”.
To put that in context, here is a google image search of Putin, which finds him almost always invariably attired in a well-tailored suit, which is the regulation uniform of global leaders. The only exceptions Google throws up are almost always by his political enemies and it is they, rather than him, who end up looking stupid as a result.
But then again, maybe I’m at fault as I never thought a former male stripper wearing his grubby sweatshirt could resonate so and send shock tremors through the Kremlin but that is probably only me, and six or seven billion others for it seems that Zelensky’s “refusal to look as though he’s cowed, means he is making a mockery of Putin’s doomed and overripe attempt to rebuild the Soviet Union”.
The author of this garbage has visited Kiev where those tasked with mine-clearing told him, somewhat like the gladiators about to die in Roman arenas long ago, how much they all loved their billionaire comedian President who “is a man of the people and he looks like a man of the people” and who also has “a hint of Hollywood rebel hero: the last man to wear a Sweatshirt with such panache was arguably Steve McQueen as Capt Virgil Hilts in The Great Escape!”
Although this drivel finished by telling us that the omniscient Zelensky knew he “would need an act, a spiel, a narrative, a story to keep the world interested”, that no longer seems to be the case and, if anything, this seems to be a case of brand destruction as Zelensky seems to be the only current head of state appending his name to toilet cleaners, laundry detergent and polka dotted lavatories.
Zelensky’s pretensions are comedy gold on the same level as the young Stuart Baggs saying, on the British version of POTUS Trump’s The Apprentice, he was a brand and a big fish in a small pond before being mercilessly brought down to earth. Just as Baggs was neither a brand nor a fish, never mind a big fish, so also has Zelensky nothing bar his brass neck worth trademarking.
Although POTUS Trump has trademarked his “trademark” MAGA hat, because Oddslotter is giving him odds of 2/1 to win the 2024 Presidential election, his own hat is very much still in the ring for the 2024 Presidential election.
Whereas Trump has a lot of political capital riding on such gimmicks, Zelensky has none. And though we can scoff at Trump and his bright red $5 Chinese MAGA hats, they will sell in the tens of millions as his campaign to win back the Presidency gathers pace.
But who will buy Zelensky’s garbage? Not these Colombian mercenaries, who are furious that dozens of their compatriots have died for this narcissist and that they themselves are being treated like dogs.
Back in mid-September 2022, when Dublin’s Croke Park hosted five concerts by American country star Garth Brooks, you couldn’t move in Dublin for the amount of fans sporting Stetsons and other cowboy and cowgirl gear. One big reason for that is Brooks is a brand, a superstar and his fans don’t mind looking like Oklahoma extras if it feels right by them and by Brooks, who is a very big fish in the very competitive pond of country music.
But Zelensky? All the man can do is make a spectacle of himself by prancing about in the nude and putting enough coke up his nose to choke a horse.
And, of course, in being a clothes horse for shoddy Ukrainian khaki to be Kiev’s answer to 8-year old Princess Charlotte. But such a comparison is an insult to Princess Charlotte, who not only has an extensive and, I daresay, expensive wardrobe but wears it extremely well and with a very high degree of dignity that is, one could say, her trademark.
But this Ukrainian fool? His clothes are not iconic in the sense that Gandhi’s, Mother Theresa’s or Chairman Mao’s were. And nor do his accoutrements have the je ne sais quoi that Churchill’s Romeo y Julieta Cuban cigars or Napoleon’s cocked hat had. If any comparison is needed, it should be to Hunter Biden’ crack pipe or The Big Guy’s brown envelopes and anthrax laboratories, for which they already have the trademark.
The fact is, that as the dust now settles on Ukraine, Zelensky is just a tiresome song and dance male stripper, whose shelf life has, along with almost 400,000 Ukrainian soldiers, expired and whose real trademark can be seen in each and every one of those deaths and the grief of those they left behind.
If Zelensky is to be compared to anyone, it is to the equally horribly attired Adolf Hitler who, like him, came from nowhere and who, like him, was primarily responsible for countless deaths before disappearing, along with his Nazi brand, back into the oblivion of his own utter nothingness, where Zelensky and his brand so firmly belong.
Declan Hayes: Irish-born, former professor of Finance at The University of Southampton, UK., has published widely in English and Japanese on matters of economics, finance and politics.