Five key facts to know about Volodimir Zelensky, president and symbol of the Ukrainian resistance

Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky, center, during a visit to Ukrainian forces near Donetsk (Presidential Press Service)

A few years ago, Volodymyr Zelensky played the president of Ukraine on television. Now, he is a real-life war leader leading his outmatched country in its fight against the Russian invasion.

Even though Zelensky says he has become thetarget number 1” the Kremlin, has earned the respect of much of the Ukrainian public by refusing to flee the capital. Instead, he has walked the streets of Kyiv and has urged Ukrainians to resist, while crafting a successful communications strategy that has won the hearts and minds of European leaders and voters.

Although they acknowledge that Moscow has vastly superior forces that it has not yet deployed, Western officials say the leadership of Zelensky has strengthened Ukrainian resolve. Here’s what you need to know about the president.

1 – Who is Volodimir Zelensky?

Zelensky44, is a former comedian, television personality and actor, and now head of state of Ukraine. He was born in the city of Kryvyi Rihin the center of Ukraineand grew up in a “ordinary soviet jewish family”as stated.

the russian president Vladimir Putin has tried to justify his invasion of Ukraine as a “denazification” operation, but Zelensky is Jewish and many of his relatives were killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust.. His grandfather was the only one of four brothers who survived the German occupation of Ukraine.

2 – How long has Zelensky been president of Ukraine?

Zelensky he was elected president on April 21, 2019, and was sworn in about a month later. He first gained wide attention in the United States after the president donald trump involved him in what would later become the first of the two impeachments from Trump.

After taking possession of Zelenskyadministration officials Trump they had strung up the possibility of a meeting in the Oval Office Come in Trump and Zelensky with the condition of Ukraine launch a corruption investigation into Hunter Bidenthe son of his political rival Joe Bidenthen running for president.

In a phone call on July 25, 2019, Trump he told Zelensky: “I would like you to do us a favor”. The petition became a memorable quote in the impeachment trial of Trump.

Days before the phone call, Trump had ordered the withholding of nearly $400 million in military aid for Ukraine. The funds were released almost two months later.

Volodimir Zelensky with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, in December 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out and well before a Russian invasion of Ukraine (Russia) was imagined
Volodimir Zelensky with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris in December 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out and well before a Russian invasion of Ukraine (Russia) was envisioned (IAN LANGSDON/)

3 – In what TV shows and movies did Zelensky appear?

Before running for president, Zelensky he was a popular face in the Ukrainian show business. She hosted a comedy show, “Smeha League” (“League of Laughter”), and won the Ukrainian program “Dancing With the Stars” in 2006. He also voiced the titular cartoon bear in the Ukrainian version of “Paddington”.

Zelensky also helped create the multi-million dollar production company Studio Kvartal 95.

His most important role was in the series “Servant of the People”, in which he plays Vasyl Holoborodkoa professor whose impassioned speech about corruption in Ukrainian politics goes viral and catapults him to the presidency.

Then television became reality: with deep-seated corruption in the country a key issue in the 2019 elections, Zelensky decided to make a real-life run for the highest office.

People want to see a president like [Vasyl Holoborodko]with the same moral values“, said Zelensky before the elections. “They are fed up with the establishment. people want something new”.

Volodimir Zelensky in his days as a comic actor, in March 2019 (AFP)
Volodimir Zelensky in his days as a comic actor, in March 2019 (AFP) (GENYA SAVILOV /)

4 – What are Zelensky’s political views, including on Putin and Russia?

Zelensky he has overseen the renaming of Soviet-era monuments and streets to honor Ukrainian heroes.

AND Although he has become something of a hero to the Ukrainian public in the days since the start of the Russian invasion, his popularity as president seemed to be waning.. He has been criticized for not pushing anti-corruption reforms, as he had advocated during his campaign, and some Ukrainians see him as too weak and too compromised with Putin.

Before being elected, he said in an interview with vice-news who wanted to end the conflict in the eastern region of donbasbecause we don’t want our people to perish anymore”. The conflict in donbaswhere separatists supported by Russia have been fighting with the Ukrainian government, played a key role in the Russian invasion. days before invading, Putin formally recognized the independence of two separatist areas in the region, where it has unfoundedly claimed that a “genocide” against the Russian speakers. (Zelensky also speaks Russian).

Statements by Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky during an announcement after the Russian invasion of his country. The democratic leader has remained in Kiev despite threats from Putin’s invading troops seeking to assassinate him (AFP)

5 – Where are Zelensky and his family?

Even though Zelensky has stated that Moscow he is targeting him for assassination for “politically destroy Ukraine by destroying the head of state”, has not backed down. In the days since the invasion began, He has walked the streets of the capital, recording himself in videos in which he urges the Ukrainian people to resist the Russian invasion. His appeals seem to be working, since United States and Britain they report that Moscow faces stronger resistance in Ukraine than I had anticipated.

The family of Zelensky is he “target number 2” from Russia, has said. In a meeting with the director of the INC, William J Burnsin January, Zelensky he asked if he or his family were in danger amid growing concern about Russian aggression. At first he was skeptical that the Russians were trying to kill him.

For security reasons, he has not revealed the location of his family – his wife and two children – although they are believed to be close to him. “My children look at me, I will be with them and with my husband and with you”, wrote the first lady Olena Zelenska on Instagram In the past week.

(FILES) The picture taken at Kiev's Olympic Stadium on on April 19, 2019 shows Ukrainian comedian and presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky (L) and his wife Olena kissing during a presidential election debate with Ukrainian current President Petro Poroshenko.  -
Kiev Olympic Stadium on April 19, 2019: Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife Olena kissing. She and her children remain in Ukraine despite being on the Kremlin’s list of targets (AFP) (SERGEI SUPINSKY /)

(C) The Washington Post.-


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