He is fighting for his political survival at home, but embattled Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain can take some comfort: He has been immortalized as a croissant in Kyiv.
And, by all accounts, the Boris Johnson croissant, crowned with undulating meringue and a scoop of vanilla ice cream to represent the Conservative politician’s unruly golden hair, is selling out fast at Zavertailo Bakery, a popular cafe and bakery in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.
“Boris Johnson is not just a prime minister but is also now a croissant,” Zavertailo Bakery wrote in an Instagram post last month, explaining that it wanted to pay homage to the prime minister and his steadfast support for Ukraine with a pastry “inspired by the English apple pie and the charming haircut of Boris Johnson.”
In Britain, Mr. Johnson is facing among the greatest challenges of his political career after narrowly surviving a no-confidence vote last week in which he fended off a mutiny by his own Conservative Party members that has left his political future in doubt.
In the past, the chronically disheveled Mr. Johnson has deployed his trademark insouciance and canny political charisma to help get out of trouble. This time, however, his popularity has been plummeting amid revelations that he and his senior aides threw parties at 10 Downing Street that violated the government’s lockdown rules. More than 40 percent of Conservative lawmakers voted against him in an unexpectedly large rebellion.
But more than 1,500 miles away, Mr. Johnson has emerged as a folk hero of sorts in Ukraine, where his fierce rebukes of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia have helped win him fans in the world of baked goods and beyond.
In southern Ukraine, a town near Odesa has named a road after him. Ukraine’s president has lauded him as among the country’s most reliable allies. And now there is the Boris Johnson breakfast snack.
“A Ukrainian bakery has paid tribute to our beleaguered PM with a very special meringue-topped bun,” gushed The Daily Telegraph, the conservative-leaning British newspaper.
Stanislav Zavertailo, Zavertailo Bakery’s 43 year-old owner, said by phone from Kyiv that he had wanted to celebrate the British prime minister, who was among the first to supply Ukraine with lethal defensive weapons and had pressed Western allies to impose more punishing financial sanctions on Russia.
He said the croissant, made with vanilla custard, baked apples and Italian meringue, was partly conceived because of the potential of using meringue and ice cream to replicate what he called the prime minister’s “crazy hair.”
To thank the United States, he hastened to add, the bakery also created a New York-style cheesecake with cherries, chocolate and poppy seeds — but evoking President Biden in the form of a cake, croissant or pie proved too taxing.
Ever since the bakery began serving the prime ministerial pastry in May, Mr. Zavertailo said, it has been barely able keep up with demand. He said it made batches of 42 croissants, three times a day, all of which sell out. The croissant, he added, is called Boris Johnsonyuk, which he said was a Ukrainian transliteration of Mr. Johnson’s Instagram account name.
Among the enthusiastic customers for the croissant, Mr. Zavertailo said, was Melinda Simmons, Britain’s ambassador to Kyiv, who recently stopped by the bakery and posed for a photograph with a Boris Johnson croissant.
The political turbulence in Britain does not seem to be making a dent in Mr. Johnson’s support in Ukraine.
Following last week’s confidence vote, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said he was “very happy” that Mr. Johnson was still Britain’s prime minister. “I’m glad we haven’t lost an important ally; this is great news,” he said.
In April, Mr. Johnson made a surprise visit to Kyiv, during which he played up his country’s role as Europe’s most ardent supporter of the Ukrainian president. Mr. Johnson has established close ties with Mr. Zelensky, talking to him regularly by phone and inviting him to address Britain’s House of Commons by video in March.
“I am very grateful to you, Boris,” Mr. Zelensky said during his speech, helping Mr. Johnson to burnish his image as a global statesman, even as scandal erupted at home.
Mr. Johnson was also the first foreign leader invited to address Ukraine’s Parliament, a seminal moment in which he said that Ukraine’s plucky defense against Russia’s invasion would rank as “Ukraine’s finest hour,” invoking Winston Churchill’s famous declaration about Britons as they faced the Nazi onslaught at the beginning of World War II.
Mr. Zavertailo said he was aware that Mr. Johnson had been ensnared in a political scandal in Britain. But he didn’t anticipate that it would undermine sales.
“Everyone,” he said, “makes mistakes.”