“Person who played the role of the president in series might become a president”

Ukranian flag. Andriy Baranskyy (CC BY 2.0)

Next round of elections in Ukraine will be held on 21 March. The first-round shows that Volodymyr Zelenskiy has taken a commanding lead, with 30,26% of the vote, Petro Poroshenko, who is the president now, has 15,99%.

A lot of people in the world thought that a valid president would continue running Ukraine next term. However 31 December Zelenskiy made a speech on the Channel ‘1+1’ in which he announced his intention of running in an president’s election. Who is he?

Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Goodreaer Bio (CC BY 2.0)

This might be a question for people who don’t live in Ukraine or have no interests at that sphere. However the name of Zelenskiy is known by everybody in the country. Anna Bezuglaya, an exchange student at Thomas more, said: ‘I don’t know from where the person should be, that he/she has never heard of him.’ Volodymyr Zelenskiy is an actor, comedian and producer of the production company ‘Kvartal 95’ (Kvartal means area or region).

He supported the Euromaidan movement, Ukrainian army during the War in Donbass. Nevertheless he has nothing against Russian Federation and before the conflict between two countries, his production company sold films and series in Russia and even performed there.

Zelenskiy played the role of President of Ukraine in the hugely popular TV series, which is called ‘Servant of the People” (you can watch it on Netflix). It shows how the ordinary history teacher started running the country. He was against corruption and establishment and wanted the best for people.

‘People are joyful of Zelenskiy, but at the same time they are wary of him because nobody knows him on practice, he isn’t a politician’ said Anna Bezuglaya. A lot of citizens of Ukraine consider that he has no knowledge in politics and economics. However it’s important to mention that some former ministers, Finance Minister Oleksanrd Danylyuk and Economic development and Trade Minister Aivaras Abromavičius, are in Zelenskiy’s team.

Anna says: ‘Poroshenko has already shown who he is and what he can. Some people don’t like him, some do, mostly because of his military actions. It is thought that worse could have happened with Donbass, that Poroshenko made the conflict less that it might have been.’

Petro Poroshenko. spoilt.exile (CC BY 2.0)

‘It’s hard now to say that Poroshenko or Zelenskiy is going to be the next president because even in one region people have absolutely opposite opinions on both of the candidates, it’s 50/50 now’ declares Anna. Originally it’s clear that the east part supports the candidate from the Russian-speaking part, form where Zelenskiy is, and the west supports nationalist-conservative candidate.

Who will be chosen by Ukrainians: Poroshenho who ‘nominally exists but not a lot has changed in people’s life” or unpredictable Zelenskiy?

Text: Ekaterina Korneva, photo: spoilt.exileGoodreader Bio and Andriy Baranskyy (CC0 by 2.0)