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Volodymyr Zelenskyy: 'The Servant of the People'

Prior to becoming the president, Zelenskyy was one of the sought after stand-up comedians in the country
Last Updated : 26 February 2022, 16:57 IST

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"We're in here. We are in Kiev. We defend Ukraine," says President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a self-shot video outside the Ukraine presidency building, standing along with his other senior political aides.

His country at war with neighbouring Russia perhaps was not the picture the 44-year-old had in mind when he took over the President's chair back in 2019.

Prior to becoming the president, Zelenskyy was one of the sought after stand-up comedians in the country, known for his satirical take on Ukraine's corruption. Born in Kryvyi Rih, a Russian-speaking region in southeastern Ukraine, Zelenskyyy mainly worked on Russian-language productions, with I, You, He, She being his first one in Ukrainian.

Zelensyy created, produced, and starred in Servant of the People, a Ukrainian satirical-comedy TV show, in which he plays the role of a middle-aged high school teacher, who becomes the president of Ukraine after his rant on corruption goes viral.

The success of his show helped him in winning the 2019 Presidential elections, which witnessed a landslide victory for the comedian-turned politician. Positioning himself as an anti-corruption politician, he defeated incumbent President Petro Porohenko, procuring over 70 per cent of the votes.

The show, which came out in 2018, was produced by Kvartal 95, founded by Zelenskyy himself, which launched a political party name after the series. Later that year, the party announced Zelenskyy as their candidate for the following year's presidential election

"I want to bring professional, decent people to power and would really like to change the mood and timbre of the political establishment as much as possible," he said in a 2019 interview with Der Spiegel.

From reel life President to a real life one, Zelenskyy's rise to power was rather remarkable, while the recent developments in the Ukraine-Russia conflict put him again in the spotlight, with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin playing the antagonist's role. Now, we see a completely contrasted image of the President from when he took the office back in 2019, with his country trying to defend a war against Putin and his army.

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Published 26 February 2022, 10:24 IST

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