Volodymyr Zelensky is the president of Ukraine and a former television comedy actor who has been posting video messages of defiance from Kyiv as Russia invades his country. In one, he said, “We are still here,” surrounded by Ukrainian leaders. In another, he said, “I am still here,” debunking rumors that he had fled Ukraine.
In both videos, he expresses defiance against the Russian invasion, pledging that Ukraine will defend itself against the invaders.
You can watch Zelensky’s videos throughout this article. His videos are striking a chord.
Zelensky is a political newcomer who starred in a television comedy about a man who accidentally becomes the president of Ukraine.
Here is one of his videos from Kyiv with Russians closing in:
The translation reads,
Good evening to everyone. The leader of the faction (David Arakhamia) is here, the head of the presidential office (Andriy Yermak) is here, prime minister (Denys) shnygal is ere, (Mykhaylo) Podolyak (advisor to presidential office) is here, the president is here. We are all here. Our soldiers are here. The citizens are here, and we are here. We defend our independence. That’s how it’ll go. Glory to our defenders, both male and female. Glory to Ukraine!
Zelensky is relatively young and he’s completely new to geopolitics. Zelensky’s name is sometimes spelled Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Here’s what you need to know about Volodymyr Zelensky:
‘We Will Be Defending Our Country,’ Zelensky Says in a New Video
Ukraine’s embassy to Great Britain tweeted that Zelensky had refused the United States’ offer to evacuate him as the Russian advance continues. “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride.” – @ZelenskyyUa on the US evacuation offer,” the embassy tweeted, adding,
“Ukrainians are proud of their President💙”
In another video posted on February 26, 2022, Zelensky said he remains in Kyiv, adding, “do not believe the fakes,” CNN reported.
“I am here. We are not putting down arms. We will be defending our country, because our weapon is truth, and our truth is that this is our land, our country, our children, and we will defend all of this,” he said in the video, according to the CNN translation of the video.
“That is it. That’s all I wanted to tell you. Glory to Ukraine.” CNN reported that Zelensky considers himself a key target of Russia.
According to Mother Jones, he was standing in front of the presidential palace.
On the eve of the Russian invasion, he posted a video speech to the Russian people, speaking in Russian.
According to Mother Jones, he urged Russians to stand against the war.
He has also been using his Twitter page to communicate, mostly highlighting support from other countries and world leaders in recent days.
Zelensky’s Television Show Character Was a Teacher Who Goes on a Political Rant on Social Media & Becomes President
Pravda compared Zelensky’s election to the plot of the Robin Williams’ movie “Man of the Year,” in which Williams played the star of a satirical political show who becomes president. Zelensky has fashioned an image as a man of the people warring against corruption. In one scene from his television show, he says to a taxi driver of the political elite, “Who are we for them? Clowns, right. I’m a clown, you’re a clown, 40 million clowns.”
According to BBC, Zelensky “starred in the long-running satirical drama Servant of the People in which his character accidentally becomes Ukraine’s president. He plays a teacher who is elected after his expletive-laden rant about corruption goes viral on social media.” The character’s name was Vasyl Holoborodko.
According to Pravda, “The hero of the series fights for the rights of ordinary Ukrainians, fights with oligarchs, conflicts with corrupt deputies. That is, doing everything that ordinary Ukrainians have long dreamed of. On YouTube alone, the first series of ‘Servant of the People’ garnered over 11 million views.”
Zelensky’s political party has the same name as his show: Servant of the People. The New York Times reported that Zelensky crafted an image as an “anti-corruption crusader” on television as well as in political life.
According to USA Today, Zelensky, 41, is a lawyer “but made his name in comedy and show business.” He had never held elective office before he was elected in May, but he won 73 percent of the vote, the newspaper reported.
Zelensky was an “Instagram star” with millions of followers and a “millionaire thanks to his production company Kvartal 95″ even before his election in May 2019, BBC reported. The Pravda profile on Zelensky said that he ran “a very closed, non-standard campaign. He does not currently have an electoral headquarters, and in general his approach to the election is more reminiscent of the scenario of another television show.”
Zelensky, a Trained Lawyer, Spent Years in Television Production
Zelensky Volodymyr Oleksandrovych was born on January 25, 1978 in the city of Kryvyi Rih, Dnipropetrovsk region, according to his official biography.
In 1995-2000. Zelensky “graduated from the Kyiv National Economic University with a degree in law, qualified as a lawyer,” the bio says, adding that, from 1997 through 2003, he worked as an actor, screenwriter, artistic director of the Kvartal 95 Club” and from 2003 to 2011 as “Artistic Director in Kvartal 95 Studio.”
From 2011-2012, Zelensky was “General producer of Inter TV channel,” and from 2013 to 2019 he was listed as “Artistic director in Kvartal 95 Studio LLC.” He is also listed as the “Founder of the NGO League of Laughter Youth Center.” The bio confirms: “Did not occupy the elected positions.”
He has “10 full-length feature films. Winner of more than 30 awards of the National Television Prize of Ukraine ‘Teleriumph.’ He is also the owner of awards and winner of many international film, television festivals and media forums,” the bio reports.
Zelensky Is a Married Father of 2 Children
According to his official biography, Zelensky is married to Olena Volodymyrivn Zelenska. He has a daughter, Olexandra, and a son, Kiril.
112International reports that Olena Zelenska “was born in Kryvyi Rih on February 16, 1978. She and her future husband were schoolmates, but they were not acquainted.” They later met again, though, when she studied at “the Faculty of Civil Engineering at Kryvyi Rih National University, and Volodymyr Zelensky got a degree in law at the Kryvyi Rih Economic Institute.”
They married in 2003 after dating for eight years, the site reports. She is an author who helps with his shows and productions. She kept a low profile during his campaign, the site reported. In fact, Olena was against her husband’s presidential campaign at first.
“And when I was told that it would happen, I was already prepared to have little changes in my and family life. I can spoil the mood, do not support, put obstacles, but it’s not constructive… I try to keep myself, calm down. So far, it seems that I can do it,” she said, according to Opinionua.com.
She described herself to the publication as primarily supporting her husband, saying, “So far, I’ve taken time out in order not to think about it. I know this is a difficult role… In general, the First Lady does not have to take any main roles. This tandem should repeat what is happening in the family. We have the leader and I try to support him. When someone takes responsibility – it’s very convenient, so I try not to drag too much attention to myself.”