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Volodymyr Zelensky

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Volodymyr Zelensky
Володимир Зеленський
Владимир Зеленский 2018 1.jpg
Born (1978-01-25) 25 January 1978 (age 40)
NationalityUkrainian
Alma materKyiv National Economic University
Occupationactor, screenwriter, producer
Notable work
Servant of the People
Office Romance. Our Time
Love in the Big City
Rzhevsky Versus Napoleon
Political partyServant of the People[1]
Spouse(s)Olena Zelenskaya[2]
Children2[2]

Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelensky (Ukrainian: Володимир Олександрович Зеленський; born 25 January 1978) is a Ukrainian politician, screenwriter, actor and director of Ukrainian film studio Kvartal 95. Zelensky is one of leading candidates in the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election.[3] Six months before he announced his candidacy on 31 December 2018, he was already one of the frontrunners in opinion polls for the election.[4][3][5] Zelensky played the role of President of Ukraine in the hugely popular 2015 television series Servant of the People.[3][6] The political party Servant of the People was created in March 2018 by people from the tv production company Kvartal 95 who also created the TV series of the same name.[7][5]

Biography

Zelensky was born 25 January 1978 in Kryvyi Rih, Ukrainian SSR (now Ukraine) to Jewish parents.[2][8][9][10] His father Oleksandr Zelensky is a professor who heads an academic department of cybernetics and computing hardware at the Kryvyi Rih Institute of Economics, his mother Rimma Zelenska used to work as an engineer.[11][12][13] Before entering grammar school he lived for four years in Mongolia in the city of Erdenet where his father worked.[2]

Zelensky studied law at the Kyiv National Economic University department in his native Kryvyi Rih, but he never professionally worked in the legal field.[2][3]

Starting at the age of seventeen he became a member of the local KVN team (a humour competition) and was soon invited to join the united Ukrainian team “Zaporizhia-Kryvyi Rih-Transit” which performed in the KVN's Major League and eventually won it in 1997.[2][14][15] Same year he created and headed the Kvartal 95 team which later transformed into the comedy outfit Kvartal 95. From 1998 to 2003 Kvartal 95 performed in the Major League and the highest open Ukrainian league of KVN, the team members practically lived in Moscow and constantly toured around post-Soviet countries.[2][14] In 2003 Kvartal 95 started producing TV shows for the Ukrainian TV channel 1+1, and in 2005 the team moved to fellow Ukrainian TV channel Inter.[2]

Following Zelensky's 2006 participation in the Ukrainian version of Dancing with the Stars on (the TV channel) 1+1, he became a household name in Ukraine.[2]

In 2008, he stared in the feature film Love in the Big City, and its sequel, Love in the Big City 2.[2] In 2011 Zelensky continued his movie career with the film Office Romance. Our Time and in 2012 with Rzhevsky Versus Napoleon.[2] Love in the Big City 3 came out in January 2014.[2] Zelensky also played the leading role in the 2015 film 8 new dates.[2]

Zelensky was a member of the board and the general producer of the TV channel Inter from 2010 to 2012.[3]

After Ukrainian media had reported that during the War in Donbass Zelensky's Kvartal 95 had donated 1 million hryvnias to the Ukrainian army, Russian politicians and artists petitioned a ban on his works in Russia.[16] Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov responded by saying that "Moscow should not be like Kiev" and should not impose "black lists" and restrictions on the cultural figures of Ukraine.[16] Lavrov added that Russian producers and the film industry should take into account "unfriendly attacks of foreign performers in Russia" when implementing cultural projects with them.[16][nb 1] In August 2014 Zelensky spoke out against the intention of the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture to ban Russian artists from Ukraine.[18]

In December 2018 Zelensky stated that in 2012 "Kvartal 95" made its last movie with its legal Russian subsidiary and that its office in Moscow was closed in 2014.[19] In January 2019 an investigation by Radio Svoboda revealed that Zelensky was still co-owner of three Russian companies through a Cypriot company "Green Family LTD".[19] According to the investigation from 2014 to 2017, revenues to the accounts of these film companies to Zelensky and partners amounted to about 13 million dollars.[19] Further Radio Svoboda claimed that the company had received subsidies from the Russian government.[19] Zelensky responded that neither he nor the studio "Kvartal 95" does conduct business in Russia "after what Russia did with Ukraine."[20] He added that his companies do "trade with 21 countries abroad and all CIS countries, we trade in intellectual property, our formats, our ideas, our scenarios."[20] Russia is a CIS country.[21]

In 2015 Zelensky became the star of the TV hit Servant of the People, where he plays the role of the President of Ukraine.[3] In Servant of the People, Zelensky stars as a thirty-something high school history teacher who wins the Presidential election after a viral video shows him ranting against government corruption in Ukraine.[6]

The political party Servant of the People was created in March 2018 by people from the tv production company Kvartal 95, which also created the TV series of the same name.[7][5] Zelensky did state late December 2018 that he was a member of this party and that it was political active.[1]

Zelensky did not perform roles in Ukrainian until he started filming the Ukrainian language romantic comedy He and She in 2018.[22] He and She was the first Ukrainian language movie produced by Kvartal 95.[23] The characters in the TV show Servant of the People mostly spoke Russian.[24]

Six months before he announced his candidacy for the Ukrainian Presidential Election in 2019 on 31 December 2018, Zelensky was already one of the frontrunners in opinion polls for the 2019 Ukrainian Presidential election.[25][3][5][nb 2]

After months of ambiguous responses[26][5][1], during the Kvartal 95 new year's eve evening show on the TV channel 1+1 he live announced[nb 3] his candidacy for the 2019 Presidential election.[3]

Family

In September 2003 Zelensky married Olena Zelenskaya (nèè Kiyashko).[2] They both attended the same grammar school.[2]

The couple's first daughter Oleksandra was born in July 2004.[2] In Zelensky's movie "8 New Dates" from 2014 she played "Sasha", the daughter of the protagonist.[2] In 2016 she participated in the show "The Comedy Comedy's Kids" and won 50,000 hryvnias.[2] Their son Cyril Zelensky was born in January 2013.[2]

Political positions

Zelensky supported the 2013-2014 Euromaidan movement and during the War in Donbass he actively supported the Ukrainian army.[3]

In an interview in December 2018 Zelensky stated that as President he would try to end the ongoing War in Donbass by negotiating with Russia.[27] Since he considered the leaders of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic Russia's "puppets" it would "make no sense to speak with them".[27] He did not rule out holding of a referendum on the matter.[27]

In August 2014 Zelensky spoke out against the intention of the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture to ban Russian artists from Ukraine.[18] Since 2015 Ukraine is banning Russian artists from entering Ukraine and other Russian works of culture.[17] In 2018 Zelensky's Love in the Big City 2 (film) was banned in Ukraine for "non-compliance with the provisions of the Law on Cinematography."[28]

Notes

  1. ^ Since 2015 Ukraine is banning Russian artists from entering Ukraine and other Russian works of culture.[17]
  2. ^ Polling showed that Zelensky was especially popular among potential voters in southern Ukraine and to a lesser extent eastern Ukraine.[5]
  3. ^ The announcement was in a video message half in Russian and half in Ukrainian.

References

  1. ^ a b c (in Ukrainian) Zelensky: Party "Servant of the people" goes into politics, Interfax-Ukraine (26.12.2018)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s (in Russian)/(website has automatic Google Translate option) Short bio, LIGA
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i (in Ukrainian) Zelensky announced his decision to go to the presidency (video), UNIAN (1 January 2019)
  4. ^ Interfax-Ukraine (July 15, 2018). "Support for Zelensky, Varkarchuk shows popular demand for new politicians". Kyiv Post.
  5. ^ a b c d e f (in Ukrainian) The boundary of a joke. How Zelensky prepares for the election, Ukrayinska Pravda (25 October 2018)
  6. ^ a b Jacobsen, Katherine (13 December 2016). "How a Fictional President Is Helping Ukrainians Rethink Their Absurd Politics". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
    Kao, Anthony (6 June 2017). "Ukraine's 'Servant of the People' is a hidden gem of political comedy". Cinema Escapist. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
    Kao, Anthony (22 August 2017). "Interview: Vladimir Zelenskiy on playing Ukraine's president in 'Servant of the People'". Cinema Escapist. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  7. ^ a b (in Ukrainian) Lawyer Zelensky has registered a new political party "Servant of the people", UNIAN (3 December 2017)
  8. ^ Itamar Eichner. Jewish comedian who plays Ukrainian president on TV runs for the job article by Ynetnews, 8 January 2019
  9. ^ Zelensky called Yanukovich history and asked him to leave at Television Service of News, Channel 1+1, 2 March 2014 (in Russian)
  10. ^ Artur Verba. How Ukrainian Jews are doing article from Korrespondent №26, 4 July 2014 (in Russian)
  11. ^ Vladimir Zelensky told about his relationship with his parents by Television Service of News, Channel 1+1, 28 September 2017 (in Ukrainian)
  12. ^ Zelensky Oleksandr Semenovich at the Kryvyi Rih Institute of Economics official website (in Ukrainian)
  13. ^ Volodymyr Zelensky interview by Dmitry Gordon at the official website, 26 December 2018 (in Russian)
  14. ^ a b Vladimir Zelenskiy at the official Kvartal 95 website
  15. ^ Zaporizhia-Kryvyi Rih-Transit team profile at the official KVN website (in Russian)
  16. ^ a b c (in Russian) Actor Zelensky criticized the SBU because of the ban on the series "Matchmakers", RIA Novosti (24 November 2017)
    (in Russian) SC will check whether Zelensky financed the Ukrainian army, Komsomolskaya Pravda (02/05/15)
  17. ^ a b Ukraine bans 38 Russian 'hate' books amid culture war, BBC News (11 August 2015)
  18. ^ a b (in Russian) Zelensky intended to demand the resignation of the Ministry of Culture, sevas.com (9 August 2014)
  19. ^ a b c d (in Ukrainian) "The Green Rhodina". Zelensky's film business in Russia (investigation), Radio Svoboda (17 January 2019)
    (in Ukrainian) Zelensky has a film business in Russia despite statements about his closure - "Schemes", Ukrayinska Pravda (17 January 2019)
  20. ^ a b (in Ukrainian) Zelensky commented on the investigation of "Circuits" about his business in the Russian Federation, Ukrayinska Pravda (18 January 2019)
  21. ^ Ukraine Shuts Down Offices In CIS Member States, Radio Free Europe (28 August 2018)
  22. ^ (in Ukrainian) "Quarter 95" will take off its first Ukrainian-language comedy with Nastya Kamensky in the lead role, Zaxid.net (20 June 2017)
  23. ^ (in Ukrainian) The working title of the romantic comedy is "He and She", Kvartal 95 (June 20, 2017)
  24. ^ (in Ukrainian) Society Most Ukrainian media carry out a policy of Russification - an investigation into ZIK, ZiK.ua (7 March 2016)
  25. ^ Interfax-Ukraine (July 15, 2018). "Support for Zelensky, Varkarchuk shows popular demand for new politicians". Kyiv Post.
  26. ^ Could a rock star become Ukraine's next president?, Deutsche Welle (24 August 2018)
  27. ^ a b c (in Ukrainian) Zelensky about the war in the Donbass: Though we are ready to agree with the devil, Ukrayinska Pravda (26 December 2018)
  28. ^ (in Ukrainian) "Night watch", "Love in a big city 2": in the State Committee called new prohibited films, Ukrayinska Pravda (17 January 2019)

External links