Volodymyr Zelenskyy: How A Comedian Became Ukraine’s President?

“I’ve arrived. We are not going to lay down our arms. Because our guns are our truth, we shall protect our state.” 

Volodymyr Zelenskyy

After rumours of him abandoning Kyiv began to circulate on Saturday, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy responded.

But who is Volodymyr Zelenskyy?

Also, what was he before he became the besieged President, preparing to combat a Russian invasion with the weight of the world on his shoulders? 

Once a  comedian, a social media darling, and an actor who, coincidentally portrayed Ukraine’s President on a popular television show.

Zelenskyy’s background makes him an ‘unlikely’ President for a variety of reasons: 

  1. He was a stand-up comedian who portrayed a president on television but had no prior political experience.
  2. He is a Russian speaker in a country where Ukrainian has become an increasingly important part of the nationalist identity.
  3. Finally, he is a Jew, a minority group.

Past life 

Volodymyr Zelenskyy was born in 1978 in a Russian-speaking area of Ukraine to Jewish parents. His grandfather was a red army fighter who fought the Nazis during WWII. He is also a law graduate from Kyiv National Economic University, 

One time, Studio Kvartal 95, his production firm, aired the controversial political series “The Servant of the People” in 2015, which is now available on Netflix.

In it, Zelenskiy plays a high school history teacher who wins the presidential election as a write-in candidate after a student broadcasts a viral video of him making an impassioned anti-corruption diatribe. 

And 2014 was a tad tough for everyone. His show aired just after the events of 2014, which led to the exit of President Viktor Yanukovych following massive protests.

Not only for Zelensky’s career but also Ukraine, the year 2014 was a watershed moment. Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, was deposed in that year following months of protests. Later, Russia annexed Crimea.

What made Volodymyr Zelenskyy the President of Ukraine?

After being fed up with Vasyl Petrovych Holoborodko, Zelenskyy’s production gave birth to a political party called ‘Servant of the People.’ Members of Kvartal 95 went on to work for Zelenskyy’s government as advisors. 

Polls showed Zelenskyy to be a popular contender soon after he announced his campaign in 2019. This was also owing to the animosity of the incumbent president at the time, Petro Poroshenko, over claims of corruption within his administration and a lack of strong action to stop the Donbas war. He went on to win the election with a massive 73% vote.

And, that’s just how a comedian turned into a president!

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Anushka nayyar
A writer who's always keen on learning and experiencing new things. Baking, painting, and writing is what brings a smile to her face.