Stephen King knows a strong narrative when he sees one.

Russia Ukraine War

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via Associated Press

The prolific Maine author got on a roll Thursday night, writing on Twitter that he sees the war in Ukraine as being fueled in part, by a desperate, aging autocrat’s jealousy over a younger, more charismatic leader representing good in the world.

King’s version of events paints Russia’s Vladimir Putin, 69, as an evil character at war with himself as much as he is with 44-year-old Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Thousands of people are dying in Ukraine in large part because Putin can’t bear to let Zelenskyy win,” “The Stand” writer began his story. “The Z-man is everything Putin is not: Younger, more charismatic, heroic in the eyes of the world.”

“Zelenskyy even still has a full head of hair,” King continued. “For a man as self-centered as Putin, he finds Zelenskyy loathsome.”

He calls the conflict “a personality clash,” but says one of those people is a “sociopath” with nuclear weapons at his disposal. Ukraine was reportedly the third-largest nuclear power in the world in the 1990s. It entered into an agreement to denuclearize in 1994, with Russia, the U.S. and Great Britain agreeing to guarantee the independent nation’s safety.


“With every communication from Zelenskyy, with every photo op of Zelenskyy visiting the wounded and dispossessed, Putin’s hatred grows,” King continued.

APTOPIX Russia Crimea Reunification Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin Ramil Sitdikov/Sputnik Pool Photo via Associated Press

According to King’s take on things, soldiers and civilians from Russia and Ukraine are being slaughtered as Putin vies for more screen time.

“Thousands are dying because Putin is – I’m sure of it – screaming to the world, “STOP LOOKING AT HIM! LOOK AT ME! YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE LOOKING AT ME!” he wrote.

Replies by King’s fans and critics – and in some cases both – ran the gamut from agreement, to disagreement, to thinking maybe his take was an oversimplification of a saga rooted in history. Not surprisingly, some followers of “The Shining” writer looked at the situation from the viewpoint of storytellers.

“I hate the plot of 2022 so far,” wrote one commenter. “The small Russian dude is such a stereotypical, bland antagonist. And the threats to the protagonists are so mundane and repetitive. The 2021 pandemic was way better at creating a constant atmosphere of suspense and unseen, everpresent danger.”

Another believed the script is still being written and there’s plenty of room for “keeping things pretty intensely danger filled.”

The war in Eastern Europe has begun its fourth week, with Russian forces making advances, but struggling with a dogged Ukrainian resistance. U.S. intelligence estimates more than 7,000 Russian troops have been killed fighting.

Putin held a rally Friday meant to inspire his citizens. Russian state-run media has reportedly pushed their president’s claims that he is somehow liberating a sovereign country – run by a Jewish president – from “Nazification.”

Zelensky, via satellite, has gotten standing ovations after addressing the United States Congress and British parliament from his war-town nation. There is a groundswell of support to award the former actor with the Nobel Peace Prize.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: