After starring in the TV show “Dancing with the Stars” and voicing “Paddington”, he now leads the country’s resistance to Russian aggression.
President Vladimir Zelensky has become the face of Ukrainian resistance to the aggression of Russian President Vladimir Putin. But Mr. Zelensky came to power with little traditional political experience. Prior to his election as the leader of the country, he was best known for his role as a casual teacher on television who came to power by accident. The television show “Servant of the People” aired on television for four years, making Zelensky famous.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, Mr. Zelensky has attracted worldwide attention, often wearing ballistic vests and urging people to continue fighting in videos he posts from the Kyiv capital on Telegram, Facebook and Instagram. Give. On the other hand, the 44-year-old encourages Western leaders to tighten sanctions against Putin and regularly talks with politicians such as Biden, US President Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister and Emmanuel Macron, French President, and Russian missile strikes. As terrorism for them.
As Russian attacks intensify and air and missile strikes continue to target more civilian targets, Mr Zelensky knows he is at the top of the Kremlin’s list of those killed or captured, but insists neither he nor his family will leave. Slowly keep the affected country united. He is also frustrated by the West’s reluctance to intervene militarily. On March 6, he again called on Western leaders to reconsider their decision to impose a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine, saying Russian missiles had destroyed an air base in Vinnytsia in central Ukraine.
“If you do not at least give us a plane so that we can protect ourselves, only one thing can be concluded: you want to kill us very slowly,” he said.
How long has Volodymyr Zelensky been President of Ukraine?
Mr. Zelensky was elected president in 2019 after defeating former President Petro Poroshenko, and his first goal was to clean up corruption and build better relations with Moscow. His performance was largely based on the role he played in his television program, where he portrayed an ordinary man thrown into the presidency to clean up the country. Even his political party is named after the TV show.
How did Zelensky manage the invasion?
In the beginning, Mr. Zelensky focused most of his energy on creating a sense of calm, as Russian forces continued to congregate along the Ukrainian border, eventually reaching 190,000. He said US warnings about an imminent Russian invasion were excessive and would hurt Ukraine’s economy. Zelensky noted an even greater increase in Russian troops last spring when they were eventually withdrawn.
But after the first Russian attacks on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities began on February 24, he rushed to strengthen Ukraine’s defenses and asked for help from the West. Following Russian propaganda claiming that he had already fled the country, he posted a video of himself on the road in front of the Presidential Palace in Kyiv and posted it on social media, urging Ukrainians to continue defending their country. His message was received millions of times on Telegram and Facebook, a man who was always in a robe and tie, now wearing military uniforms and army warmers.
Mr Zelensky has repeatedly spoken to Western leaders, urging them to tighten sanctions against Moscow in the hope of halting Russia’s progress. According to several diplomats, while in a video call urging European leaders to take tougher action, he warned them that this might be the last time they would see him alive.
“The silence in the room was very interesting and noticeable,” said a senior EU official. Shortly afterwards, the 27-nation alliance expanded its actions against Russia significantly in response to Moscow’s aggression.
How did Zelensky’s position against Russia change?
Mr. Zelensky initially sought rapprochement with Russia when he was elected president in 2019. Ukraine has been at loggerheads with the Kremlin since 2014. When Russian forces annexed the Black Sea port of Crimea with Russia, they provoked an insurgency that led to the separation of the two pro-Russian factions from control of Kyiv. Mr Zelinsky pledged to improve relations with Putin and was initially successful. He guaranteed the exchange of prisoners with Russia and moved towards an agreement on how to reach a ceasefire agreement in 2015.
Street protests against his plans forced him to change course. Western diplomats warned him that Putin was trying to force him to sign an agreement aimed at preventing the country from joining the European Union or NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) through Russian proxy separatists in the breakaway regions. Guarantee a long-term future for Ukraine.
Mr Zelensky instead sought to persuade NATO to engage more closely with Ukraine, and at the same time launched a national campaign to retake the breakaway region of Crimea. One of his relatives said that Russia saw him as Mr. Purshenko, who ousted him as president and wanted to bring Ukraine closer to the West.
Political analysts say the prospect of further alignment between Ukraine and the West has angered Mr Putin, who has long sought to restore Russian sphere of influence, which was severely curtailed more than 30 years after the end of the Cold War.
On March 1, the fifth day of the invasion, Mr Zelensky said that the Ukrainian people were now fighting for membership in the European Union, and that many of them would pay the final price with their blood and lives. “We give our lives for the right to equality,” he said, with a beard and unshaven beard and wearing a green army shirt. “Prove that you are with us and you will not leave us alone.”
How did Zelensky come to the presidency from a TV comedian?
Mr. Zelensky studied law at university, but after graduating he entered the world of art and cinema and founded a television media company. He became famous for his televised jokes, including one in which he and some of his accomplices threw down their pants and pretended to play the piano with something other than their hands. Later in 2006, he won the Ukrainian version of “Dancing with the Stars” and voiced Paddington in the film of the same name about a young bear visiting London.
However, his TV show was “Servant of the People”, which portrayed the atmosphere of the country in the first broadcast of the program in 2015. Mr. Zelensky played the role of a humble teacher who spoke candidly about the day-to-day corruption that many Ukrainians have to deal with. The clip was circulated in cyberspace and established a political career for him, which eventually threw his character into the presidential palace.
The success of the play convinced Mr. Zelensky that he had to try his luck in politics. His campaign reflected many of the manifestations he portrayed on television, and his political party had a similar name, “Servant of the People.” He won the second round of elections against incumbent President Poroshenko with about 73 percent of the vote.
What is Zelensky’s family background?
Mr. Zelinsky was born on January 25, 1978, and grew up in Russian-speaking areas of southeastern Ukraine. He is Jewish and several members of his family died in the Holocaust (the massacre of Jews by Nazi Germany) while his grandfather served as an officer in the Soviet Army during World War II. After the end of World War II, while many Jews went to the United States or Israel, his father, a mathematician, and his mother, an engineer, decided to stay in Ukraine. His childhood friends remember how he excelled at school because of his earrings and excellent grades. He later received a law degree from the Kyiv National University of Economics.
Mr Zelensky himself has spoken less about his Jewish identity, saying in 2020 that he was from a typical Soviet Jewish family and that most of these families were not religious. This seems to ignore how Jews in the former Soviet Union, including Ukraine, were largely forced to suppress their religious identities and were then seen as outsiders. Some analysts believe that this is Mr. Zelensky’s image of himself as a foreigner, which is reflected in both his television work and his 2019 presidential campaign.
Ukrainians seem to be more inclined to Jews than people in other countries of the former Soviet bloc. A 2019 Pew Research Center poll found that only 5 percent of Ukrainians are reluctant to accept Jews as compatriots, compared with 18 percent in Poland (Poland), 19 percent in the Czech Republic and 22 percent in Romania. The Prime Minister of Ukraine, Vladimir Zweinsman, was also Jewish when Mr. Zelinsky became President.
When Mr. Putin said that Russia’s attack was aimed at “de-Naziizing” the Ukrainian leadership (Nazism is considered an unimaginable insult to Russia in reference to World War II), Mr. Zelensky quickly ridiculed the Russian leader’s claims.