“Good Evening Everyone, We Are from Ukraine”: Meet the Governor of Mykolaiv that Made All the Country Fall in Love with Him

On the 13th of March, Vitalii Kim, Chairman of the Mykolaiv Regional Council, was celebrating his forty-first birthday. Right now, as the war rages on, thanks to his daily video messages he has become a symbol of fighting spirit and composure that Ukrainians need so much. Bird in Flight will tell you how a regular official has turned into the entire country’s crush.

Vitalii Oleksandrovych Kim is a Ukrainian businessman and politician of Korean ancestry. He was born on the 13th of March, 1981 in Mykolaiv. He attended the Admiral Makarov National University of Shipbuilding in his hometown and graduated with a degree in business economics. He has started running his own business in the late nineties, then he was the managing partner of the Ushuaja entertainment complex in Mykolaiv. Kim is a married father of three. He speaks fluent English and has a working knowledge of French and Korean.

In 2019, Kim he was a volunteer of the Servant of the People party’s regional branch in the presidential and parliamentary elections. One year later, he was the head of the party’s headquarters and was elected as a deputy of the Mykolaiv City Council representing the same political group. In November 2020, Kim was appointed the Governor of Mykolaiv Oblast.

After the war started, Kim has gained widespread popularity among Ukrainians, largely because of his posts on social media. He has verified Instagram, Facebook, and Telegram accounts. Although he created his Telegram channel only when Russia attacked Ukraine, on the 24th of February, and at the moment, around 685K people have already joined it. As for Facebook, Kim has 165K followers there.

Before the war, his style of communication used to be purely formal — Kim addressed his audience in a traditionally serious way like any official would: he wished people happy holidays, reposted presidential statements, and reported on the news regarding a national construction program and what was achieved in Mykolaiv within its framework.

After the war began, the register has changed: Kim has started posting daily messages — casual, jolly, and emotional. The governor starts all of them with saying “Good evening, everyone, we are from Ukraine” and tells the followers about Ukrainian Armed Forces’s achievements in fighting against Russians in Mykolaiv Oblast. This unique attitude has earned a lot of fans. Kim’s Facebook posts used to get no more than one hundred likes, but now several thousand users regularly give them the thumbs up.

words from the song “Good evening” by Probass & Hardi

Being so popular, the governor has become the main character of lots of memes created by his audience. One of them depicts a photo of Kim sitting in his office and talking on the phone with his sock-clad feet resting on the table. This image appeared in articles published in The Wall Street Journal and The Times. The British paper even called the Governor of Mykolaiv Oblast a likely successor to President Zelensky.

On the 6th of March, 2022, Kim together with other Ukrainian regional leaders was awarded the Order of Bohdan Khmelnytsky III for a significant contribution to the defense of Ukraine’s independence and integrity. After receiving the award, the governor emphasized that the Order does not belong to him exclusively but rather to the entire region, Mykolaiv Oblast.

However, despite having such a high military decoration granted by the state, Kim continues to be an inspiration for various memes. Here they are.

When you are not the main Kim in the world anymore

Cover picture: Vitaliy Kim in his office / Mykolaiv Regional State Administration

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