Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is a former actor and comedian who began serving as Ukraine’s President in 2019.
Zelenskyy, who grew up in a Russian-speaking region in Southern Ukraine, first obtained a law degree from the Kyiv National Economic University before he later began to pursue a career in comedy.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy: The Man Who Played A President On TV
Although he had obtained a law degree, Zelenskyy had a passion for comedy and created the production company Kvartal 95 to produce films, cartoons, and TV shows. This includes the popular 2015 series “Servant of the People,” which was a Ukrainian political satire comedy series.
In the show, Zelenskyy actually played a high-school history teacher in his thirties who was elected as the President of Ukraine after a student uploaded one of his profane rants against government corruption in the country. The series was so popular that a feature film called “Servant of the People 2” was released in 2016. A second season was released in 2017 and a third in 2019. The show aired on the 1+1 channel in Ukraine and was posted to view for free on YouTube. The show is also available to stream on Netflix in certain countries.
The Russian TNT channel only aired the show’s pilot episode in December 2019, claiming that they only did so as “a marketing move to raise awareness for the platform.” The series was only available to view after a joke about Russian President Vladimir Putin was removed from the episode.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy: How His Comedy Career Got Started
When he was only 17 years old, Zelenskyy joined the local KVN, a comedy competition team, and was invited to join the Ukrainian team Zaporizhia-Kryvyi Rih-Transit when they performed at the KVN’s Major League. They were able to secure a win in 1997. That same year, Zelenskyy created and headed the Kvartal 95 team which later became a comedy outfit under the same name.
‘Zelenskyy pursued comedy and created the production company Kvartal 95, which produces films, cartoons, and TV shows including Servant of the People, in which Zelenskyy played the role of president of Ukraine. The series aired from 2015 to 2019 and was immensely popular’ pic.twitter.com/oF6v7SACcQ
— Media-Fakery NL (@FakeryNl) February 25, 2022
From 1998 to 2003, Kvartal 95 performed in the Major League and the highest open Ukrainian League of KVN. As a result, the members spent a lot of time touring around Moscow and post-Soviet countries. In 2003, Kvartal 95 turned from trouping to producing TV shows for the Ukrainian channel 1+1. In 2005, the group moved to a TV channel called “Inter.”
In 2008, Zelenskyy lit up the silver screen with an appearance in “Love in the Big City.” He later appeared in its sequel, “Love in the Big City 2.” After that, he appeared in the 2011 romantic-comedy “Office Romance. Our Time” and “Rzhevsky Versus Napoleon” in 2012. He also appeared in “Love in the Big City 3” when it was released in 2014.
Zelenskyy played Napoleon in a comedy where he’s fighting the Russians (who in history destroyed Napoleon’s army). The Ukrainian Invasion began 3030 months after the birth of Napoleon – and Zelenskyy became President 10,333 weeks 3 days after the death of Napoleon. pic.twitter.com/C11Sy4GCkO
— Brother Berg (@extracapsa) February 25, 2022
Not only did he play the leading role in the 2012 film “8 First Dates” and subsequent sequels that appeared in 2015 and 2016, but he also went on to voice Paddington Bear in the Ukrainian dubbing of the animated film in 2014. He later reprised his role as Paddington for “Paddington 2” in 2017.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy: How His Comedy Career Turned Political
After his run as President of Ukraine of TV, the political party “Servant of the People” was created in March 2018 by Kvartal 95. The name of the political party was the same name as the political satire series that Zelenskyy had become known for.
In a March 2019 interview with Der Spiegel, Zelenskyy said that he went into politics to restore trust in politicians. He said that he wanted “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 officially started his campaign on December 31, 2018. He ran an almost entirely virtual campaign against then-President Petro Poroshenko in less than four months. He won the first round of elections on March 31 and the run-off election on April 21, 2019.
One of his campaign promises was that he would only serve one five-year term in office, but his popularity with the Ukrainian people leaves many to question if he will return to serve yet another term in office.