Who is Volodymyr Zelenskyy?

Anjeli Webb, Photojournalist

It is very rare in history to find a genuinely good leader who can (even in the face of impending attacks and possible war crimes) be a unifying figure. One man who has shown exemplary action and strength in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is none other than Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Comments have even been made comparing Zelensky to American President Ronald Reagan. Both were comedian-actors before holding public office, and are publicly agreed upon to have performed well in both occupations. 

Volodymyr Zelenskyy was born in Kryvyi Rih, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (modern-day Ukraine) in 1978, to Jewish parents. His first language was Russian, but learned how to speak both Ukrainian and English. He graduated from Kryvyi Rih Institute of Economics with a law degree, but did not end up working in a very legal-oriented occupation. Instead, he pursued his passion for theater and created an entertainment company called Studio Kvartal 95. It proved to be very successful, and until 2011, Zelenskyy was artistic director of the booming company (britannica.com).

After Zelenskyy returned to Kvartal 95, corruption in a rocky Ukrainian Government inspired the hit comedy-drama television show Servant of The People, which he starred in. He played Vasily Goloborodko, a Ukrainian schoolteacher who “wakes up one morning to find out he has been elected the country’s president” (foreignpolicy.com). Goloborodko’s claim to fame was a rant ridden with profanities that went viral after a student took a video of it. He was subsequently elected as the next Ukrainian President (in the show). 

As a result of the widespread fame of the show and production company, Zelenskyy and others registered a liberal political party called “Servant of the People” in 2018. The political party is really a “rebranding” of an older one called “Party of Decisive Change,” and the head of the renamed party was the head of Kvartal 95, Ivan Bakanov. 

In 2020, Zelenskyy was actually elected as the 6th President of Ukraine, mirroring (ironically) the TV show that he had produced and starred in previously. This incredible coincidence actually serves as a dramatized synopsis of what Zelenskyy intended to do and what he really is doing as President.

“Zelenskyy, the leader of the allegedly anti-semitic country is Jewish

Two months into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Zelenskyy has been faced with unprecedented and never-before-seen (in recent history) circumstances pertaining to the defense of his relatively newly-liberated independent country. One main justification for the attack that Putin is perpetuating, is that Russia is attempting to neutralize far-right fascists and neo-nazis that are supposedly prevalent in Ukraine. However, the irony of this claim is that Zelenskyy, the leader of the allegedly anti-semitic country is Jewish, and three of his great uncles and his great-grandfather were among those liquidated by the real Nazis during the Holocaust.

In an anonymous student’s opinion, “Zelenskyy handled the [beginning of the] Russian Invasion well.” Unfortunately, though the conflict is still raging and claiming more lives every day, the leader of Ukraine seems prepared to serve his duty and successfully perform his job to keep his country safe and strong.