Volodymyr Zelenskyy: A Journey from From TV star to wartime president

Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine: Before entering politics, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had a successful career as a TV comedian. In the hit series Servant of the People, he played a foul-mouthed instructor who rose to become president, and he shot to fame.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy (AP)

Former TV celebrity and comedian Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy is now the face of Ukraine’s defence against Russian forces. The 44-year-old president is waging a valiant fightback in his country. Zelenskyy has emerged as a towering leader to whom Ukraine’s 44 million-strong people looks, whether through fierce attacks on the Russians or an impassioned speech before the European parliament in which he implored the power bloc to prove it stands with the Ukrainians.

Volodymyr Zelensky (born January 25, 1978 in Kryvyy Rih, Ukraine, Soviet Union [now Ukraine]) is a Ukrainian actor and comedian who was elected President of Ukraine in 2019. Despite his inexperience in politics, Zelensky’s anti-corruption message garnered him enormous support, and his large internet following translated into a strong electoral base. In the second round of the 2019 presidential election, he defeated incumbent Petro Poroshenko by a landslide.

Early years and career as a performer

Zelensky was born in the industrial town of Kryvyy Rih in southern Ukraine to Jewish parents. His family moved to Erdenet, Mongolia, when he was a tiny child for four years before returning to Kryvyy Rih, where Zelensky started school. He grew up as a native Russian speaker, as did many others in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region, but he also learned Ukrainian and English. He enrolled in Kryvyy Rih Economic Institute, a local branch of Kyiv National Economic University, in 1995 and received his law degree in 2000.

Despite the fact that Zelensky was licenced to practise law, his career was already taking a different path. He had become involved in theatre while still a student, and this would become his principal concentration. Kvartal 95 (“Quarter 95,” the central Kryvyy Rih neighbourhood where Zelensky grew up) competed in the televised finals of KVN (Klub vesyólykh I nakhódchivykh; “Club of the Funny and Inventive People”), a popular improvisational comedy competition that was broadcast throughout the Commonwealth of Independent States, in 1997. On KVN, Zelensky and Kvartal 95 became regulars, appearing on the show until 2003. In the same year, Zelensky co-founded Studio Kvartal 95, which would go on to become one of Ukraine’s most successful and productive entertainment studios. From the company’s inception until 2011, when he was named general producer of the Ukrainian television station Inter TV, Zelensky served as artistic director of Studio Kvartal 95.

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Zelensky left Inter TV in 2012, and he and Kvartal 95 signed a collaborative production agreement with Ukrainian network 1+1 in October of that year. That network was owned by Ihor Kolomoisky, one of Ukraine’s wealthiest persons, and Zelensky’s association with Kolomoisky would come under examination when Zelensky announced his intention to run for office. Zelensky worked in a variety of feature films at this time, including the historical farce Rzhevskiy Versus Napoleon (2012) and the romance comedies 8 First Dates (2012) and 8 New Dates (2012). (2015).

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Here are some interesting facts about Volodymyr Zelenskyy:

> Zelenskyy was born on January 25, 1978, in Kryvyi Rih (then-USSR), to Jewish parents. He received a law degree but never practised law. He joined a local comedy troupe that won a competition when he was 17 years old. He couldn’t turn back at that point.

> Among the parts he played, one on the TV drama Servant of the People catapulted Zelenskyy to fame. He portrayed a foul-mouthed teacher who rises to power as President of Ukraine when a video of his anti-corruption diatribe goes viral.

> In 2006, Zelenskyy won the inaugural season of the Ukrainian version of ‘Dancing With The Stars.’ The actor-president surprised everyone with his dance moves in a video that is doing the rounds on the internet.

>Zelenskyy began his political career with the Servant of the People party, which was created by members of the iconic television series’ production firm.

> He was elected President of Ukraine in 2019 after defeating Petro Poroshenko in a run-off election with more than 70% of the vote.

> Putin and his associates have regularly referred to the Ukrainian administration as “neo-Nazis.” In response to these charges, Zelenskyy has invoked his grandpa, who fought for the Soviets against Nazi Germany.

> Zelenskyy has submitted a formal application for Ukraine to join the European Union. An emotional president implored the EU to show its support for Kyiv during a speech to the European Parliament.

> Members of Zelenskyy’s family perished in Nazi Germany’s Holocaust.

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