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US NewsUkraine’s newly elected president already plays the role on TV

20:55  21 april  2019
20:55  21 april  2019 Source:   qz.com

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Volodymyr Zelensky plays the president of Ukraine on TV and, soon, in real life. On Ukraine ’ s wildly popular television show Servant of the People, Volodymyr Zelensky plays an ordinary high-school history teacher who is unwittingly elected president of the country after his classroom rant

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Ukraine’s newly elected president already plays the role on TV © Thomson Reuters Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy reacts following the announcement of the first exit poll in a presidential election at his campaign headquarters in Kiev, Ukraine April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

On Ukraine’s wildly popular television show Servant of the People, Volodymyr Zelensky plays an ordinary high-school history teacher who is unwittingly elected president of the country after his classroom rant against corruption goes viral on YouTube.

Ukraine’s newly elected president already plays the role on TV © Provided by Atlantic Media, Inc. Volodymyr Zelensky plays the president of Ukraine on TV and, soon, in real life. “It’s not a story about how things are, but how they should be,” one of the show’s writers said in 2016 after the first season, which deftly skewered the absurdities of Ukranian politics. “That’s why people are watching it.”

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Ukrainian President - elect , Volodymyr Zelensky, might be a political novice, but he' s also willing to stand up to the most experienced geopolitical player on the block: Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukranians voted today to make the show a reality, electing Zelensky as their actual president. He won by a wide margin over Petro Poroshenko, who has led the country since a revolution ousted the previous government in 2014. The first official exit polls showed Zelensky with 73% of the vote.

Ukraine’s newly elected president already plays the role on TV © Provided by Atlantic Media, Inc.

As the fictional president, Zelensky rides his bike to work.

The theatrical turn in Ukraine is another victory for the populist brand of politics that has spread across Europe in recent years, although Zelensky’s policy views are largely unknown. “I’m not a politician,” he said during a raucous debate in Ukraine’s largest soccer stadium two days before the election. “I’m just an ordinary person who has come to break the system.”

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Zelensky studied law before becoming a comedian and actor. He rose to national prominence in 2006 on the Ukranian version of Dancing With the Stars. Later, he founded the production company Kvartal 95, which created three television seasons and a movie spinoff of Servant of the People and then formed a political party for Zelensky using the same name and logo.

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Ukraine’s newly elected president already plays the role on TV © Provided by Atlantic Media, Inc. The premiere of

The premiere of “Servant of the People” begins with a trio of oligarchs who control the country.

His popularity, on television and in politics, owes to Ukraine’s widespread pessimism about politics. Though the incumbent Poroshenko was elected with the slogan “Live in a new way!”, his government has often resembled old-fashioned Ukrainian politics controlled by a small group of oligarchs. Ukrainians are also unhappy about the country’s poor economy and the proxy war with Russia over territory on the border in and around Crimea.

Ukraine’s newly elected president already plays the role on TV © Thomson Reuters Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy reacts following the announcement of the first exit poll in a presidential election at his campaign headquarters in Kiev, Ukraine April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko In his run for president, Zelensky eschewed traditional campaigning, largely relying instead on Instagram and YouTube. Before debating Poroshenko, he insisted they both submit to drug and alcohol tests. Surprisingly, Poroshenko agreed, and national television broadcast both candidates giving samples of blood, urine, and hair follicles. Zelensky’s eccentricity was on display to the very end: On election day, police fined him for displaying his ballot to the public.

“It’s important to be guided by reason, not laughs,” Poroshenko warned today after casting his ballot. “It could be funny first, but pain may come later.”

For a preview of what the Zelensky government may entail, you can watch Servant of the People on Netflix or YouTube with English subtitles. Here’s the series premiere:

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