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Poroshenko's "narcissism": Why diagnoses via avatar can play against Ze

Olexandra Zakharova
project manager The Page, political columnist
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Zelensky accused Poroshenko of narcissism. What's wrong with this statement?

What is wrong with the words of the Adviser to the Head of the President's Office Mykhailo Podolyak about Petro Poroshenko, and why is it impossible to elaborate an information policy founded on accusations of "narcissism diagnosed via avatar"?


Mykhailo Podolyak, Adviser to the Head of the President's Office, in an interview with the Left Bank, said that the TV channels Priamyi, Espresso, and 5 Kanal (lit. "Channel 5’) had been disconnected from digital broadcasts on April 4 because they had been actively broadcasting the "narcissist" Petro Poroshenko.

Photo: Wikipedia

Photo: Wikipedia

The Adviser to the Head of Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Office hinted that the problem of the fifth president was his unwillingness to accept defeat in the elections and "narcissism."

The more the merrier: Podolyak adds that all Ukrainian politics is "built on narcissism," and it is not clear why during the war it is necessary to present the "egotism" of the TV channels’ indirect owner as a single information policy.

To grasp the grotesqueness of this argument, it is necessary to briefly explain what narcissism as such is.

Firstly, it is a combination of character traits and behavior patterns that, according to American psychiatry, are inherent in any person. Without narcissism radicals, at least in a minimal proportion, the person will not be able to build normal communication and will probably have another personality disorder (most often the so-called co-dependent one).

Indeed, public figures, in particular, actors, media personalities, and politicians, have more such radicals because public communication requires more defensive reactions for success in political and information games, which, to put it mildly, are not clean and honest either in Ukraine or in any other country. another corner of the world.

Secondly, there is a special term — narcissistic personality disorder. It is listed as a diagnosis in the American Handbook of Mental Disorders DSM-5 (and previous editions) and until recently it was also listed in the ICD-10 international classification of diseases and the roster of "other personality disorders". In the new edition of ICD-11, it was removed as a separate diagnosis, leaving only the general diagnostic features of a personality disorder.

Whatever handbooks or sources (except frankly unprofessional blogs) are used to clarify this concept, no one, except for a certified psychiatrist, can diagnose either Petro Poroshenko or any other person "via avatar".

This not only demonstrates complete nonsense and incompetence in the matter, but is also a critically strange argument for restrictions on rights (both to broadcast information and to send a delegation abroad).

In order to accurately determine a clinical diagnosis, a person must undergo a comprehensive examination by a psychiatrist (voluntary and personal), and the decision to disclose it will remain with a person.

Even despite decades of interest of the psychiatrists, as well as world cinema, in narcissism, there are no international or Ukrainian laws to somehow restrict the rights of a person, even with a real clinical disorder, as long as he or she did not violate the rights of other people (and his of her danger to society has not been proven judicially).

For example, people with a diagnosis of "psychopathy" also cannot simply be isolated — only after committing socially dangerous acts. But yes, such people are found in the political elite.

Podolyak's explanation looks at least absurd. It looks even more absurd amid the fact that, according to the Adviser to the Head of the OP, Poroshenko should be "turned off" from the broadcasts for "narcissism", while the former employees of Viktor Medvedchuk’s TV channels, where one could buy an apartment with a few salaries (we are talking, of course, about well-known hosts and producers, and not about trainees), should be given a chance in a single telethon.

Photo: facebook.com/petroporoshenko

Photo: facebook.com/petroporoshenko

That is, people who deliberately were choosing Russian money during 8 years of war in exchange for the direct task of destroying Ukrainian identity from within and openly working against the state now have a chance to be "whitewashed", and this is declared as a "lesser evil". Do you think they were sincere in their delusions? Well, except perhaps in those that money will endure everything, although this is my personal opinion, based on communication with some of these people.

Photo: president.gov.ua

Photo: president.gov.ua

I want to specially note: in no case am I trying to convey the idea that Petro Poroshenko is a holy man, and the incumbent President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is an absolute evil. There are enough reasons to consider both politicians (as well as any other public figure) ambiguous in terms of many of their decisions and steps.

But the question is different. If there are suspicions of crimes or offenses — wellcome, there are legal mechanisms for investigation. Of real offenses, and not any attributed traits of character that cannot be a reason for punishment. This is not a legal argument.

Public pursuit and hunting for an opponent, especially amid a full-scale war, works for Poroshenko’s ratings inside the country, but may also harm the state, because our Western partners are closely monitoring the issue of freedom of speech and political persecution.

Moreover, making diagnoses or labels, beyond the meaning of which on Wikipedia (well, with any luck) or in Netflix series their authors probably didn’t even tried to find out about, does not add any pros to the authorities who are often blamed for the lack of professionals in the team.

This also does not make the information policy of the state transparent and understandable.

According to Podolyak’s words about the "harm from the subject" Poroshenko, I have the following questions:

  • What are the criteria for this damage, how exactly was it estimated?
  • What law determines that the harm from a "narcissistic" politician in the information space should be limited, and most importantly, who has the authority to do this?
  • Will the "narcissist" hunt turn against "narcissists" in the current government?

In this case, the needle turns easily, and it is unlikely that this will end very well in the long term for the current government.

It is interesting that, according to Podolyak, "just selling yourself for monetization" is a small harm (as I understand it, even for Medvedchuk).

Photo: president.gov.ua

Photo: president.gov.ua

But if you "subconsciously compensate for the defeat", there is a lot of damage. I can’t help but joke that the OP somehow managed to get to Poroshenko’s subconscious — did Elon Musk hand over to Kyiv not only Starlink, but also experimental Nueralink chips? Determining the level of harm of Poroshenko's "information technology" is also a matter of the competence of lawyers, and not of Podolyak's fantasies.


The biggest problem with this story, no matter how ridiculous it may be, is that complete censorship is possible, justified with strange illogical arguments that the Russians would really like. They not only like such explanations, but also actively use them both inside the country and against the enemy.


  • Context. According to statements from the TV channels Priamyi, Espresso, and 5 Kanal, on April 4 they were cut off from digital broadcast. On May 9, the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection explained that the TV channels were cut off by the decision of the National Security and Defense Council.
  • It is interesting that Volodymyr Zvieriev, head of the information support department of the NSDC apparatus, for his part, said that there was no information about the channels’ cutting off in the decisions of the Security Council.
  • Oleksanr Burmagin, member of the National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting, also claimed the absence of such decisions. That does not prevent Podolyak from explaining the decision, the endpoints of which have not yet been found.
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