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Reel To Real: Comedian Zelenskiy Who Played An On-screen President Might Be Ukraine's Next President

Written By Suchitra Karthikeyan | Mumbai | Published:


  • Ukrainian Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky who played a President on screen is running for office in the upcoming 2019 Presidential elections
  • Zelensky has currently gained so much popularity that he leads by a margin of 61% against Poroshenko's 24%.

America's hit comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL) hosted on Saturday has the award-winning actor Alec Baldwin play President Donald.J.Trump. Now imagine, if he decides that instead of just portraying him on-screen and raking in the moolah, why not just run for office in 2020? 

Sounds foolish and an excellent movie plot, right?

This is exactly what is currently turning into Ukraine's reality.

Enter Volodymyr Zelensky, a popular comedian who played a president in a Ukranian TV Series called - 'Servant of the People' who is currently the front-runner among 39 candidates in Ukraine's upcoming 2019 Presidential elections and is contesting against the incumbent president Petro Poroshenko. According to Ukraine's polls, Zelensky has currently gained so much popularity that he leads by a margin of 61% against Poroshenko's 24%.

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What got him his popularity?

According to political analyst Lena Surzhko-Harned, it was his TV show's character who gave an anti-corruption rant. In the series, 'Servant of the People', which is now available on Netflix, Zelensky plays Vasyl Petrovych Holoborodko- a high school history teacher, who, after a student posts a viral video of him giving a passionate anti-corruption rant, wins the presidential election as a write-in candidate.

The show, which is now in its third season, portrays the new President’s attempts to fight the deep-rooted corruption at all levels of Ukrainian society. It shows how Zelensky's character stands up to the powerful oligarchs, corrupt bureaucrats, members of the parliament, and even his own family members thus giving him the image of an earnestly honest, albeit naïve, leader.

Surzhko-Harned comments that Zelensky cashed on his image which resonated with the Ukrainian public who are fed up with the seemingly never-ending political corruption in their daily lives.

Taking his on-screen character to the campaign trail, in a picturesque announcement, Zelensky declared, "Unlike our great politicians, I did not want to make empty promises. But now, just a few minutes before the New Year, I can promise you something and I’ll do it right away. Dear Ukrainians, I am going to run for the president of Ukraine," right before the clock struck twelve and ushered in 2019, as per reports.

Now, the entire world awaits with bated breath to see whether Zelensky will truly be a 'Servant of the People'.