Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky Becomes New President Of Ukraine
We’ve truly reached the times were anyone can become president, regardless of your political experience.
According to ABC News, a Ukrainian comedian proved this to be true when he was elected as the president of Ukraine by a landslide.
According to a national exit poll, Volodymyr Zelensky received 73% of the vote, knocking out the country’s incumbent president Petro Poroshenko, who conceded defeat.
Zelensky will now lead one of the poorest countries in Europe which is still in a war with Russia that has killed 13,000 people since 2014.
The 41-year-old presidential elect called his win a symbol for political change for other countries in the region.
“I’m not yet officially the president, but as a citizen of Ukraine, I can say to all countries in the post-Soviet Union, look at us. Anything is possible!”
No lies here.
Zelensky’s win comes in the midst of deep dissatisfaction among Ukrainians with their political establishment, and weariness with the war. He ran on a platform of fighting corruption and upending the political elite, which is viewed as corrupt and indifferent to the concerns of everyday Ukrainians.
Zelensky’s opponent, Poroshenko, is a 53-year-old billionaire confectionary tycoon who came to power on the back of mass protests in 2014 that toppled the country’s then-Russian-backed president, Viktor Yanukovych. He was one politician who couldn’t shake the perception that he supported corruption, thus Zelensky seemed like the better choice for many.
“On the one hand, it’s not the best president for me, but at least he has no experience in corruption or all the things that our politicians have,” said Anna Dysheleva, a marketing executive.
Despite promising to root out corrupted officials and end the war, Zelensky has barely made any detailed policy proposals. He’s also avoided the media and refused interviews. He mostly campaigned as a version of his on-screen persona, and instead of political rallies, he held stand-up comedy shows.
On Zelensky’s T.V. show Servant of the People, Zelensky plays a schoolteacher who gets catapulted into the presidency when his rant about corruption goes viral. Once president, he dodges the traditional perks of his office and battles oligarchs who usually direct Ukrainian politics.
Ironically, Zelensky came to power in spite of his relationship to one of Ukraine’s most controversial oligarchs, Ihor Kolomoisky, whose television channel, 1+1, airs Zelensky’s show.
Kolomoisky has been in effective exile ever since Ukrainian authorities nationalized his bank, Privat Bank, accusing him and his colleagues of stealing billions of dollars from its account-holders. Some folks now fear Kolomoisky will follow Zelensky into power.
Regardless, there are still some citizens and activists who support Zelensky. Prominent liberal journalist and member of parliament, Serhi Leshchenko said, “There is huge room for people to join his team with reform-minded orientation. I believe that he is a responsible, reliable person.”
We’ll wait and find out.