Seen in olive-green military gear, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made an appearance on social media on Friday to claim a Russian attack on the capital Kyiv has been repulsed. Through a series of social media posts, the 44-year-old Ukrainian president vowed to stay and fight the Russians, thus boosting the morale of Ukrainians.
“I am here. We will not lay down any weapons. We will defend our state because our weapons are our truth,” he declared, as he rejected allegations that he has surrendered or fled.
Не вірте фейкам. pic.twitter.com/wiLqmCuz1p— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) February 26, 2022
In 2019, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, one of the country’s most popular TV comedians, surprised the world by becoming Ukraine’s President. In his inaugural speech, Zelenskyy had made a similar speech saying, “We are not the ones who have started this war. But we are the ones who have to finish it.”
After occupying the office, the actor-comedian-turned-president promised a ceasefire in Donbas – a territory is occupied by pro-Russian groups. Almost three years after being in office, Zelenskyy is still fighting his own people in the name of fighting separatism in Eastern Ukraine.
Who is Zelenskyy and How did he become Ukraine President?
Perhaps, no one in the world would have predicted that Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a popular TV comedian starring in a satirical TV show, would stand up to Russians someday in the future. Interestingly, Zelenskyy speaks Russian and is a Jew, a minority community in Ukraine.
For Zelenskyy, it all began with a satirical TV show – “Servant of the People”, in which he played a character named Vasily Goloborodko, a mid-30s high school teacher who wakes up one morning to realise that he has been elected the country’s president. Through his show, Zelenskyy and his comedy troupe satirised the issue of corruption in Ukraine and depicted what Ukraine could look like when it evolves into a democracy.
In one of his shows, Zelenskyy was seen playing the piano with his penis for over five minutes.
Zelenskyy’s fictional character – a high school teacher who suddenly becomes the president of the country and fights corruption, resonated with the masses. Incidentally, the show was released a year after the massive protests in 2014, which led to the ouster of former President Viktor Yanukovych.
The pro-Russian Yanukovych government was overthrown after refusing to sign a deal with the European Union. As the Russians feared losing its influence in Ukraine, Russia annexed Crimea, prompting pro-Russian supporters to rebel in eastern Ukraine.
During the crisis period in Ukraine, Zelenskyy’s show “Servant of the People” catalysed the people of Ukraine against the corrupt government. As a result, he became a household hero in Ukraine, landing him in the president’s seat. Zelenskyy’s campaign was focused on ending corruption.
Zelenskyy won the presidential election in a landslide victory. It is alleged that Zelenskyy’s campaign was sponsored by one of Ukraine’s wealthiest and most corrupt oligarchs – Igor Kolomoisky. Considered a puppet of the oligarch Kolomoisky, Zelenskyy tried turning his image as a crusader against oligarchs. To gain support from the Ukrainians, Zelenskyy also transformed his image from being a native Russian-speaker brought up in pro-Russian eastern Ukraine into more of a nationalist.
At present, Zelensky is now at the centre of a new war in Europe and Russia’s number one enemy. Yet, in a short period, Zelenskyy has proven to be a man of mettle as he has now taken the fight to the mighty Russian President Vladimir Putin. At a time when the western countries, the self-proclaimed champions of the free world and the champions of democracy, turn their back on the Ukrainian people, Zelenskyy has stood by fellow countrymen to fight the Russians, who are just 30 kilometres outside Kyiv.
No one knows the future of Ukraine yet. What happens to Zelenskyy’s fate once the Russians capture the cities of Ukraine is also uncertain. But, the actor-comedian-politician Volodymyr Zelenskyy has now emerged as a hope for the Ukrainians, who have now rallied around him to fight the most decisive battles of their lives.