Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy, also transliterated as Zelensky or Zelenskiy, is a Ukrainian politician and former comedian and actor who has served as the sixth and current president of Ukraine since 2019.
Born to a Ukrainian Jewish family, Zelenskyy grew up as a native Russian speaker in Kryvyi Rih, a major city of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast in central Ukraine. Prior to his acting career, he obtained a degree in law from the Kyiv National Economic University. He then pursued a career in comedy and created the production company Kvartal 95, which produced films, cartoons, and TV shows including the TV series Servant of the People, in which Zelenskyy played the role of the Ukrainian president. The series aired from 2015 to 2019 and was immensely popular. A political party bearing the same name as the television show was created in March 2018 by employees of Kvartal 95.
Zelenskyy announced his candidacy in the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election on the evening of 31 December 2018, alongside the New Year’s Eve address of then-president Petro Poroshenko on the TV channel 1+1. A political outsider, he had already become one of the frontrunners in opinion polls for the election. He won the election with 73.23 percent of the vote in the second round, defeating Poroshenko. He has positioned himself as an anti-establishment and anti-corruption figure.
As president, Zelenskyy has been a proponent of e-government and of unity between the Ukrainian- and Russian-speaking parts of the country’s population. His communication style heavily uses social media, particularly Instagram. His party won a landslide victory in the snap legislative election held shortly after his inauguration as president. During his administration, Zelenskyy oversaw the lifting of legal immunity for members of parliament (the Verkhovna Rada), the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic recession, and some progress in tackling corruption in Ukraine.
During his presidential campaign, Zelenskyy promised to end Ukraine’s protracted conflict with Russia, and he has attempted to engage in dialogue with Russian president Vladimir Putin. His administration faced an escalation of tensions with Russia in 2021, culminating in the launch of the ongoing full-scale Russian invasion in February 2022. Zelenskyy’s strategy during the Russian military buildup was to calm the Ukrainian populace and assure the international community that Ukraine was not seeking to retaliate. He initially distanced himself from warnings of an imminent war, while also calling for security guarantees and military support from NATO to “withstand” the threat. After the start of the invasion, Zelenskyy declared martial law across Ukraine and a general mobilisation of the armed forces. His leadership during the crisis has won him widespread international praise, and he has been described as a symbol of the Ukrainian resistance. Social polls have ranked Zelenskyy among Ukraine’s greatest presidents.
6th President of Ukraine
Jan 25th, 1978
Kryvyi Rih Institute of Economics
Kyiv National Economic University
Kvartal 95 Studio - Founder