Zelenskyy: A Comedian-turned- Fighter-Politician

Zelenskyy had played the President during his tv CAREER

Earlier to the outbreak of Russia-Ukraine declared war on 24 February 2022, very few of us were knowing Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy, popularly famous as Zelenskyy who is the sixth President of Ukraine and bravely fighting against the army of a one-time superpower, Soviet Federation for about one and half month. Born on 25 January 1978 in a Jewish family located in southern Ukraine, his father was a professor and computer scientist at the Kryvyi Rih State University of Economics and Technology, while his mother was professionally an engineer.

Although coming from an intellectual background, he was not much interested in his parental profession and preferred to join, at the age of 17 in a local team competing in the KVN, a popular Russian television show of comedians liked by the people due to their funny and intelligent answers. Initially, he was invited to join the Ukrainian team which was a part of KNV’s Major League, but a year later he created and began heading the Kvartal 95 which also became a performer in the Major League of the Russian Federation.

The Western powers including the NATO countries and several other countries imposed strict sanctions, mostly economic, on the Kremlin. It appeared that Russia never hoped to continue the war for such a long period, still it is going on and likely to move further as all indirect and possible help were being provided by western powers, the USA, NATO members and some neighbouring countries of Ukraine. More than 90 days have passed with advance and retreat on the Russian side and it is likely to continue for some days or till a permanent ceasefire/treaty on the end of the war is reached between the two- Russian Federation and Ukraine as well

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Years later his team started producing TV shows for Ukrainian television channel 1+1 but his entire team moved to another channel of Ukraine called Inter. In an important breakthrough, from 2008 he started producing feature films and continued his career in Love in the Big City (2008), Office Romance (2011), Love in Big City 3 (2012), and Eight First Dates along with many sequels made in 2015 and 2016.

Although his country Ukraine remained an integral part of undivided USSR before the early 1990s, Zelenskyy was full of patriotism and in 2014 demanded that the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture ban Russian works of culture from entering the country. In response, the government, since 2015, has prohibited Russian artists and cultural works. In the same year Zelenskyy became a star in the popular series Servant of the People in which he played the role of the president of Ukraine and played the role of a high school history teacher in the 1930s where he highlighted the country’s corruption. As his works were issue-based, his serial Svaty, meaning in-laws, was banned in the country in 2017 but unbanned I 2019. He has a good knowledge and command of Russian language but of late also began working in Ukrainian and his romantic comedy, I, You, He, She, appeared in the home language in 2018.

However, in the meantime, his political aspirations took a definite shape when his production company registered a new political party named Servant of the People denying the fact that it had any political will to run the country, but soon in early October 2018, almost three months before the presidential campaign, supposed to be a forerunner in the estimation of public opinion and it was on 31 December 2018, that he announced his presidential candidature for the post on the New Year’s Eve address of the nation through television channel.

His announcement of contesting presidential election gave unease to the then President Petro Poroshenko who was a traditional campaigner of the party rarely using social medias for the purpose, while Zelenskyy always took help of modern technology and media methods to convince the mass of the people. He expressed his wish before the masses to work as an anti-establishment, anti-corruption symbol. In the course of the election campaign his opposition charged him of benefiting Russia if he came to power. It however, had no impact on public opinion and he won the presidential candidature by a secured majority in the first round held on 31 March 2019, followed by the final round on 21 April where he got 73percent of votes while his opponent won only 25 percent of total votes polled. He was declared elected and his term began on 20 May 2019.

From 2014, when a pro-Russian government was overthrown in Ukraine and in place an anti-Kremlin establishment took over, Russia began eyeing closely developments there and started encircling the country strategically and ultimately by force. After becoming president, Zelenskyy appointed Volodymyr Groysman as Prime Minister.

He was the first Jewish president In the history of Ukraine, and Ukraine also became the first nation, after Israel, to have a Jewish head of state and head of government. On assuming office, he initiated or proposed several improvements in the national interest but on most issues he failed to get positive support to move further.

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However, after assuming the presidency, he received the first foreign policy challenge from Russia when Putin declared to offer Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens living in the separatist areas of eastern Ukraine which was continuing for the last five years, causing a displacement of thousands of people. In addition, some issues also erupted with Donald Trump, and Joe Biden. With the covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, Ukraine was badly affected like other nations, but, Zelenskyy structured a nationwide framework to control the pandemic and also implemented necessary measures in this health emergency.

Ukraine’s external threat increased by the end of 2021 when Russia began assembling troops and war materials along the Ukraine border and started joint naval exercises with Belarus, stationing a significant Russian flotilla in the Black Sea.

The Russian move gave a red signal to western countries, NATO members as well as Ukraine, and they all feared a possibility of Kremlin’s invasion on Ukraine in the near future. Although, Western intelligentsia and leaders tried to foil the Russian invasion by negotiation but all efforts went in vain as Russian preparations reached an advanced stage worsening the situation further and leading to the start of a declared war between the two on 24 February 2022.

The Western powers including the NATO countries and several other countries imposed strict sanctions, mostly economic, on the Kremlin. It appeared that Russia never hoped to continue the war for such a long period, still it is going on and likely to move further as all indirect and possible help were being provided by western powers, the USA, NATO members and some neighbouring countries of Ukraine. More than 90 days have passed with advance and retreat on the Russian side and it is likely to continue for some days or till a permanent ceasefire/treaty on The end of the war is reached between the two- Russian Federation and Ukraine as well.

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Dr Rajkumar Singh
Dr Rajkumar Singh
The writer is head of the political science department of the B.N.Mandal University, Madhepura, Bihar, India and can be reached at [email protected]

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