While many politicians spend their lives seeking power, Volodymyr Zelensky just wanted to make people laugh. Starting at age 17, he joined a comedy competition, which he eventually won.
And like many of us, he dreamed of starting a business, but not just for money. His mission was to entertain — to make people smile — just like he’s doing in the photo above, even as his country is pummeled by a military superpower.
Let’s rewind a bit…
Zelensky’s Life is a Self-fulfilling Prophecy
It all began as fiction, when Zelensky launched his own TV series, Servant of the People, playing the role of the Ukrainian president.
The show follows a teacher (Zelensky) who rants about corruption on social media, which quickly goes viral. From 2015 to 2019, he dominated Ukrainian airwaves with the popular show.
GQ called the series a “well-filmed and heartfelt satire of Ukrainian politics, daring to imagine a fundamentally decent man in the halls of power.”
After 3 seasons, Zelensky transformed fiction into reality and ran for president under the new political party, also called Servant of the People. The name was already familiar with the Ukrainian people, making it a smooth transition from fiction to reality.
Zelensky won by a landslide, with more than 73% of the vote, positioning himself as an anti-establishment and anti-corruption figure.
The Jewish defender of Ukrainian democracy, a Jewish group dedicated a fast day to him as a sign of support, even as he’s the unlikely target of Putin’s attack which also cites “de-nazification” efforts.
Ironically, one of the Zelensky's main stances for more unity between Russian and Ukrainian citizens. His own media team said Servant of the People promotes the idea that divisions between the two people are “old-fashioned.”
Zelensky’s wife is a Heavy Hitter on Instagram
The First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelensky, uses her charisma and writing powers to dominate the narrative in favor of the Ukrainian people. Her IG currently has 2.6 million followers, and growing rapidly.
She combines with her husband to make a power couple, bringing her media savvy to the table which includes experience as a screenwriter. And she’s no stranger to launching media campaigns, including one to spread Ukrainian language audio guides in iconic places, like the world’s largest museums.
A Fateful Takeaway: Prophecy in a Name
Putin and Zelensky share the same first name, though different versions: “Vladimir” and “Volodymyr” respectively.
They’re from the same Slavic root, but Vladimir is Russian and Volodymyr is Ukrainian. Both names mean “power” — but can be interpreted in different vastly ways.
The meaning can translate to “ruler of the world,” or “ruler of peace.”
Based on actions, it would seem Zelensky wants to rule over a peaceful Ukraine with freely elected leaders. But most of all, we're guessing the comedian would love to see make his people smile again. And that’s his secret “weapon,” the power of his smile which has so far won over many hearts and minds in the world community.