From comedian to Russia's #1 target
Zelenskiy won't abandon his country
Who is Volodymyr Zelenskiy?
Laughter and politics
Playing a new role
Childhood in Mongolia
Kvartal-95
Road to
Actor and producer
Make the Comedian Laugh
Cook, dance and sing
Love for cinema
'Servant of the People': his most famous series
Married to his teenage love
First Lady of Ukraine
The genetics of talent
From jokes to politics
The series as an election campaign
A campaign designed with political intelligence
Smiling is the key
Jokes don't always solve problems
Then the joke was on Volodymyr Zelenskiy
Confidence and firmness
Who doesn't like Ze?
There will always be the talent to make you laugh
Volodymyr Zelenskiy - from comedian to Russia's #1 target
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From comedian to Russia's #1 target

When Volodymyr Zelensky first got into politics surely he never imagined he would be in the position he is in now - Russia's number one enemy.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy - from comedian to Russia's #1 target
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Zelenskiy won't abandon his country

Both U.S. and Ukrainian officials say Russia aims to capture Kyiv and topple the government. Putin considers the Ukraine a puppet of the United States. In a video address on February 25th Zelenskiy stated he knew the Russians were coming for him, but he had no plans to abandon Kyiv.

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Who is Volodymyr Zelenskiy?

In the video address Zelenskiy said, "The enemy has marked me down as the number one target. My family is the number two target. They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state."

So who is Zelenskiy? How did he go from being a comedian to Putin's #1 target?

Volodymyr Zelenskiy - from comedian to Russia's #1 target
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Laughter and politics

Until 2019, the name of Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the sixth and current president of Ukraine, was known only to those who laughed at his jokes in the Russian-speaking countries of the former Soviet Union. However, the successful comedian born into a very normal family in the Ukrainian city of Krivói Rog overnight became the president of an entire country and a coveted piece of world geostrategy.

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Playing a new role

After seeing actor Ronald Reagan as president of the United States and Arnold Schwarzenegger serving as governor of California, it's not surprising that a comedian, actor, showman and movie director can become head of state.

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Childhood in Mongolia

In 1978, Volodymyr was born into a family made up of a doctor of technical sciences and an engineer, in the Ukrainian city of Krivoy Rog (then part of the Soviet Union). The future president spent four years of his childhood in Mongolia, when his father was sent to work there. He returned to Ukraine with his family and began studying at a school where he learned the English language in depth. He also liked Greco-Roman wrestling and played the piano and guitar. In the last year of school, he organized a KVN * team and began his passion for humor and the stage.

*KVN (Club of the Funny and Witty)— this is a humorous team television game that was very famous in the times of the Soviet Union.

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Kvartal-95

After completing his schooling, in 1995, Volodymyr Zelenskiy entered the Higher Institute of Economics in Krivoy Rog to obtain a law degree. But he made little effort to be a lawyer and did, as a student, make a career in the world of humor and show business with his participation in the KVN team "Zaporozhye - Krivoy Rog - Transit", which won the Major League of this game in 1997. That success led him to form the " Kvartal-95" team, which remains Zelenskiy's hallmark.

In the photo with Yuri Krapov: Instagram/@kvartal95official

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Road to "Vecherny kvartal"

In 2003, a successful and popular comedy team led by Volodymyr Zelenskiy was invited to several television channels. There, the talented boys led by Zelenskiy revealed their potential. They premiere the program 'Vecherny Kvartal', which quickly surpassed the audience data of other great television successes such as the Russian-language version of 'The Comedy Club' and the aforementioned 'KVN'.

In the photo with Oleg Koshev: Instagram/@kvartal95official

Volodymyr Zelenskiy - from comedian to Russia's #1 target
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Actor and producer

The success of the humorous political program 'Vecherny Kvartal' was enormous and Volodymyr Zelenskiy became the co-owner of the company 'Kvartal-95' together with some stage colleagues. The future president made the leap from comedian to famous producer.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy - from comedian to Russia's #1 target
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Make the Comedian Laugh

The production company Kvartal-95, under the leadership of Zelenskiy, launched several television projects: 'Vecherny Kvartal', 'Fight Club', 'Ukraine, get up' . The team wrote scripts for TV shows like 'Song of the Year', New Year musicals, movies, and other big events. In Russia, Volodymyr Zelenskiy participated in the launch of the famous program 'Make the Comedian Laugh'. For the comedian then Russia was not a hostile territory but quite the opposite.

Photo: Instagram/@kvartal95official

Volodymyr Zelenskiy - from comedian to Russia's #1 target
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Cook, dance and sing

Until 2018, Volodímir Zelenskiy participated in humorous projects such as 'Mr. Cook', 'Dances with the Stars', 'Make the comedian laugh', 'Night Kyiv', concerts in Russia... But he also had an important film and series career.

Photo: Instagram/@kvartal95official

Volodymyr Zelenskiy - from comedian to Russia's #1 target
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Love for cinema

It all began with the production of family comedy series in 2008, which was a great success in Russia, Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union. In the same year 2008, Zelenskiy played the dentist Igor in the feature film 'Love in the Big City', filmed according to the script prepared by his production company Studio Kvartal-95.

Photo: Instagram/@kvartal95official

Volodymyr Zelenskiy - from comedian to Russia's #1 target
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'Servant of the People': his most famous series

It is from the successful premiere of 'Servant of the People', a series filmed in 2015 with Volodímir Zelenskiy in the main role of the teacher Goloborodko, when the comedian approached politics, representing an icon of personal honesty before the public. But what about Zelenskiy's private life?

Photo: Instagram/@kvartal95official

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Married to his teenage love

All this time, his creative and now political career has been accompanied by his wife Olena Zelenska.  They have known each other since childhood. In 2003, Volodymyr and Olena got married.

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First Lady of Ukraine

Olena is not just "the president's wife", she has been working as a screenwriter and author for Studio Kvartal-95 for years. She is also the mother of the couple's two children: Alexandra (2004) and Kirill (2013).

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The genetics of talent

The daughter of Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Olena Zelenska has already started her film career. In 2014, Alexandra starred in the movie '8 New Dates' as Sasha, the daughter of the protagonist. And in 2016, she participated in the children's version of the talent show 'Make the comedian laugh'. There, with the help of  talent and humor inherited from her father, she won the grand prize.

Photo: Instagram/@kvartal95official

Volodymyr Zelenskiy - from comedian to Russia's #1 target
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From jokes to politics

But how did a man who specialized in making jokes transition to the seriousness of politics?

Photo: Instagram/@kvartal95official

Volodymyr Zelenskiy - from comedian to Russia's #1 target
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The series as an election campaign

After the great success of the television series "Servant of the People" and "Servant of the People 2", the popularity of the comedian among the people of Ukraine increased so much that it allowed the actor to participate in the presidential election campaign. Of course, many viewers fell under the charm of Volodymyr Zelenskiy, as if he still played the role of honest teacher Goloborodko.

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A campaign designed with political intelligence

Volodymyr Zelenskiy designed a very clever electoral campaign, and called his party Servant of the People, after his successful television series. Ze! (the electoral nickname that Zelenskiy adopts) managed to become president of Ukraine by obtaining more than 73% of the vote.

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Smiling is the key

The new president quickly found a common language with the European political elite. From Ukraine he has been trying to gain entry into the European Union for several years and negotiated hard, always with a smile on his face.

In the photo with Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission in Brussels.

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Jokes don't always solve problems

However, many political and economic (and, above all, geostrategic) issues were perhaps too difficult for the former comedian. He had to seek commitments and support from politicians from many different countries.

 

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Then the joke was on Volodymyr Zelenskiy

President Zelenskiy, who used to joke about politicians, has now become the subject of jokes and caricatures himself. Like the one exhibited at the Sweet Museum in Saint Petersburg (Russia) during his 2019 election campaign, which reproduced his image made of 3,000 candies produced at the Roshen factory, owned by Petro Poroshenko, his electoral opponent.

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Confidence and firmness

However, despite the jokes, Volodymyr Zelenskiy has always had enormous self-confidence. In an interview with Liga.net, he said of his political opponents that "he doesn't see a single competitor. My competition is infrastructure, war and poor people."

 

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Who doesn't like Ze?

And yet, in a full presidential term, there are already those who are dissatisfied with Ze's policy. And there is a part of the population that is critical of his management and demands the president's resignation. Life is not a television series with a "happy ending" nor does the ideal hero Goloborodko exactly correspond to the figure of Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

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There will always be the talent to make you laugh

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, as president of the country, has supporters and opponents, like any political figure. However, one thing is certain: his humorous talent will always be respected. In Ukraine and outside Ukraine.

It must be very odd for Zelenskiy to have gone from being cheered on Russian stages to being Putin's number one target as Russian troops invade Ukraine. We can only hope Putin doesn't get the last laugh.

 

 

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