Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy: From Comedian To National Hero
"I am here. We will not lay down any weapons. We will defend our state because our weapons are our truth." This was Ukraine President Volodymyr? Zelenskyy's response on Saturday after rumours of him fleeing Kyiv began circulating.
"Our truth is that this is our land, our country, our children and we will protect all of this," he added in a defiant voice.?
But before he became the embattled President, prepared to fight a Russian invasion with the weight of the world on his shoulders - who was Volodymyr Zelenskyy???
In a past life, he was a comedian, a darling of social media, and an actor who, incidentally, once played the character of Ukraine's President on a popular television show.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy was born to Jewish parents in a Russian speaking part of Ukraine in 1978. His grandfather was a soldier who had fought the Nazis as part of the red army.
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After earning a law degree from the Kryvyi Rih Institute of Economics, Zelenskyy entered the?entertainment industry, joining a competitive comedy team and going on to work as an actor.
Eventually, that led to him bagging prominent roles in major feature films and working as an entertainment executive and, in 2015, a starring role as the president of Ukraine on the popular television series?Servant of the People.??
In the show, Zelenskyy played a high-school history teacher in his 30s who won the presidential election after a viral video showed him ranting against the Ukrainian government.?The show tackled the major issue facing Ukraine: corruption, which led to it becoming a huge hit among the people of the country.? ?
The plunge to politics?
As the show gained unmatched popularity, amidst Ukraine's struggle with oligarchs and corruption, on New Year's Eve 2018, Zelenskyy upstaged the country's then-real leader, Petro Poroshenko, by announcing he planned to follow his character's footsteps and run for president himself.??
Like his on-screen persona, Zelenskyy and his new party - also called Servant of the People - bypassed the traditional campaign trail and instead ran his presidential bid almost virtually.?
His manifesto was mainly focused on ending corruption in politics and the war with Russian separatist forces in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine - the first to come under siege this week.??
He won the 2019 presidential election with a landslide 73% of the vote in the second round over Poroshenko and was inaugurated in May that year.??
The President at war
Today, Zelenskyy is the head of Ukraine, and the chief defender against Russia's military invasion into the country.??
Since the beginning of this Russia's military assault, Zelenskyy has bravely held the fort and urged that Ukraine will defend its independence and land. He has been petitioning the West for more support, and has said that?sanctions?alone will not be enough?to deter Vladimir Putin.??
It's believed that?Russian troops are aiming to take Kyiv and depose of his government,?installing a pro - Moscow puppet administration in its place.
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