Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian actor, comedian, director, and screenwriter first gained international attention, when he succeeded in winning the Ukraine presidential election in May 2019. Despite lacking political experience except for the presidential role he played in the popular Ukraine sitcom “Servant of the People,” Zelensky won by garnering 73.22% of the people’s vote in the second round.
Barely a few months in office, Zelensky now finds himself once again attracting international scrutiny. His name has been dragged in the midst of speculations about underlying information of an intelligence officer’s whistleblowing complaint filed against Trump.
The whistleblower still remains anonymous, while full details of the complaint was withheld by the Trump administration. Yet as the news media outlets analyzed the events leading to the whistleblowing incident, they have zeroed in on Volodymyr Zelensky, as the foreign leader to whom Trump made a political promise.
The popular notion is that the whistleblower found it disturbing that the promise was made in exchange for the Ukrainian president’s cooperation in gathering information that will smear Joe Biden. At that time, Biden was Trump’s leading potential opponent in the forthcoming 2020 presidential elections.
Apparently, Trump intended to dangle a $250 million military aid that Congress approved as a means to help the Ukraine government ward off any Russian attempt to annex Ukraine as its next Crimea.
It is widely believed that Trump’s congratulatory phone call to Zelensky, was the beginning of several phone conversations disturbing enough to prompt the intelligence officer to blow the whistle. The belief was further strengthened by the fact that the Ukrainian government stopped short of any action to assist Special Counsel Mueller’s investigating team, in probing Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.
All the speculations painted a picture of the Ukrainian president as a leader whom Trump could easily bully. Mainly because Volodymyr Zelensky has no actual political experience whatsoever, except for his make-believe role in the “Servant of the People” sitcom.
A Closer Look at Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Background
Volodymyr Zelensky may have been a former comedian before he was elected president of Ukraine, but he is neither a proletariat nor not just a typical showbiz personality.
First off, Zelensky has intellectual roots. His father is a Kryvyi Rih Institute of Economics professor who also heads the Academic Department of Cybernetics and Computing Hardware, while his mother used to work as an engineer. Zelensky himself holds a degree in law but has never actually practised law as a profession.
Instead, he founded a production company, he called Kvartal 95 which produces cartoons, films and TV shows, like “Servant of the People.” The latter aired until Zelensky decided to run for the true-to-life role of a Ukrainian President. The idea for his candidacy came from employees of Zelensky’s Kvartal 95, for which they created a political party named after the TV sitcom “Servant of the People” in March 2018.
Even before Zelensky announced his candidacy for the Ukrainian presidency in December 31, 2018, opinion polls held during the months prior to his official announcement showed he was gaining a multitude of supporters. At about the same time, Volodymyr Zelensky also made public, information about his current assets, which were valued at about 1.5 million US dollars or 37 million Ukrainian hryvnias.