Volodymyr Zelensky’s Profile: Personal Life, Career As a Comedian & Road to the Presidency
Volodymyr Zelenskyy is the current President of Ukraine. He was born on January 25, 1978, in Kryvyy Rih, Ukraine. He is a Ukrainian politician, former actor and comedian. In 2019, he was elected president of Ukraine. Even though he is a political novice, his anti-corruption platform won tremendous support. The number of followers on social media has turned into a solid voting base. In the second round of the 2019 presidential election, he won the election of incumbent Petro Poroshenko.
Personal Life & Education
Zelenskyy was born on January 25, 1978, to Jewish parents in Kryvyy Rih, then in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. His father’s name is Oleksandr Zelenskyy, and his mother’s name is Rimma Zelenska. When Zelensky was a child, his family moved to Erdenet, Mongolia, for four years. He also started school. Then, they returned to Kryvyy Rih. Like many people from the Dnipropetrovsk region of Ukraine, he grew up a native Russian speaker. He is also fluent in Ukrainian and English.
He attended the Kryvyy Rih Economic Institute, the local campus of Kyiv National Economic University, in 1995. He graduated with a law degree in 2000. In 2003, he married Olena Kiyashko. He also participated in a 2016 show called The Comedy Comet Company Comedy’s Kids” and won it.
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Career in Entertainment
His career has led to various things. When he was a student, he was active in the theatre. The world of theatre is the main focus. His group, Kvartal 95, appeared in the television finale of KVN’s “Club of the Funny and Inventive People” in 1997. It was a popular comedy competition and was broadcast throughout the country.
At KVN, Zelensky and Kvartal 95 became regulars and appeared on the program until 2003. He also founded Studio Kvartal 95. It was a production company that became one of Ukraine’s most successful and productive entertainment studios.
Zelensky was artistic director from the founding of Studio Kvartal 95 until 2011. He was appointed general producer of the Ukrainian television channel Inter TV. In 2012, he left Inter TV and in the same year, in October, he and Kvartal 95 signed a production agreement with Ukrainian network 1+1. One of the wealthiest people in Ukraine, you know Kolomoisky, is the network owner. The relationship between Zelensky and Kolomoisky will be the research subject after Zelensky’s statement that he intends to enter politics. During this period, while working on television, Zelensky appeared in various films, including the historical comedy Rzhevskiy Versus Napoleon (2012) and the romantic comedy 8 First Dates and 8 New Dates (2015).
A Career in Politics and the Path to the Presidency
Zelensky returned to Kvartal in 2013 as an art director, but his entertainment career tangled with Ukrainian political events. After several months of widespread demonstrations, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in February 2014, and billionaire Petro Poroshenko was elected president of Ukraine.
A Russian-backed insurgency is raging in eastern Ukraine, and massive corruption has shattered public confidence in the government. The billionaire Poroshenko struggles to carry out simple reforms.
With this event in mind, Servant of the People premiered on 1+1 in October 2015. Zelensky plays Vasiliy Goloborodko, who is an ordinary people’s history teacher. It became a viral internet phenomenon and discussed official corruption. The show was a huge success. The Goloborodko road to the Ukrainian presidency provides a roadmap for Zelensky. In 2018, members of the production company Kvartal 95 registered themselves as a new political party called Servant of the People. The name of their political party is the same as that of a television program produced by Zelensky three years earlier.
Less than four months before the December 31 election, he announced his candidacy for the presidency of Ukraine on TV Channel 1+1’s New Year’s Eve program. His announcement was watched by even more people than President Petro Poroshenko’s New Year’s Eve speech. Zelensky said that was unintentional.
His presidential campaign even defeated Petro Poroshenko. Almost of his campaign was held virtually. Zelensky has a unique campaign style. He often does stand-up comedy throughout Ukraine with Kvartal 95. He mentions that he is anti-establishment and anti-corruption. Zelensky appeared to be avoiding journalists and hiding but said he didn’t want to be on talk shows. According to him, the event only contains old people carrying out PR strategies.
Before the election, Zelensky formed a team consisting of Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk and others. If he becomes President of Ukraine, he will develop the economy and bring a lot of investment into the country through a more equitable system and restore public confidence. A tax amnesty is also proposed, and a 5% tax for big businesses could be increased. Zelensky won the first round of elections on March 31, 2019, and the second round on April 21, 2019.
On April 21, 2019, Zelensky became President of Ukraine, defeating incumbent Petro Poroshenko with nearly 73% of the vote to 25% of Poroshenko.
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Zelensky was finally elected President of Ukraine on April 21 2019, with an impressive 73% vote. After his presidency, he faced foreign policy challenges when Putin announced his decision to issue Russian passports to Ukrainians in separatist-held areas in Eastern Ukraine. Zelensky mocked Putin’s policy. He responded through a post on Facebook.
Zelensky became Ukraine’s first Jewish President. He restored Ukrainian citizenship from Mikheil Saakashvili on May 28. The Ukrainian parliament rejected Zelensky’s first proposal to change the electoral system. On June 6, MPs refused to include Zelensky’s initiative to strengthen criminal responsibility for illegal enrichment on the parliamentary agenda. That consists of a similar bill proposed by a group of deputies.
In June 2019, a major presidential initiative will be put forward after the Ukrainian parliamentary elections in July 2019. The main initiative is to abolish impunity among parliamentarians, diplomats and judges. Zelensky ordered the cancellation of the annual Kyiv Independence Day Parade at Maidan Nezalezhhnosti on July 8. The reason is cost. On that day, there will be a tribute to the hero in a different format.
He proposed that the state budget be used to finance the parade of veterans. Zelensky’s political party also proposed reforming Ukraine’s media law by 2020 to increase competition and reduce the oligarch’s television and radio broadcasting dominance.
The draft law was passed by parliament in January 2021, updating and reforming Ukraine’s referendum law which was declared by Ukraine’s Constitutional Court in 2018. One of Zelensky’s campaign promises was to improve the referendum law. Zelensky submitted a bill to Verkhovna in June 2021 to establish a public register of Ukrainian oligarchs. It aims to prohibit them from participating in the privatization of state-owned companies and contributing financially to politicians. Zelensky’s goals are supported by the opposition party’s goal of reducing the oligarchs’ influence on politics in Ukraine. The bill was later passed into law in September 2021.
Zelensky and President Donald Trump
In September 2019, Zelensky realized that his administration was being pushed into the centre of political scandal in America when whistleblowers in the American intelligence community filed a complaint about Donald Trump. He was then President of the United States. The issue concerns allegations that Trump withheld a military aid package to Ukraine unless Ukraine started investigating the wrongdoings of former US president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
Hunter Biden once served on the board of Ukrainian energy conglomerate Burisma Holdings, and Trump claims without evidence that Joe Biden has used his office to benefit his son. Biden announced that he would be looking for a Democratic presidential candidate to challenge Trump in the 2020 election. Biden soon found him. Contacts between Trump’s attorney, former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s attorney general, were established before Zelensky was sworn in.
This discussion initially focused on claims involving the 2016 US presidential election and Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort. But this grew to the Biden problem. Zelensky’s team rejected a request to meet with Giuliani over what they considered an internal US political matter. But Trump continues to pursue the accusations.
In a telephone conversation with Zelensky on July 25, 2019, Trump discussed the Biden family investigation. While Trump admits he ordered cuts to the aid package in anticipation of the call, he claims no quid pro quo was offered or requested.
Zelensky stated that he would investigate the Burisma issue. He fired Lutsenko in August. At the time, nearly $400 million in US military aid remained unclear despite bipartisan authorization by the US Congress. The funds were finally released on September 11, 2019. But American lawmakers started pushing for more information about Trump and details of the July 25 call with Zelensky.
Trump’s summons and alleged attempts to pressure Zelensky formed the basis of the US House of Representatives impeachment inquiry that opened on September 24, 2019. Trump was eventually sentenced by the House of Representatives but was acquitted by the Senate. He responded by firing the official whom he said was disloyal. It means some of the most experienced Russian and Ukrainian experts have left US security services.