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Volodymyr Zelenskyy, explained in 8 moments

Zelenskyy’s rise in Ukraine, from TV star to president.

Once known for his political comedy sketches and skits in which he pretended to play the piano with his penis, Volodymyr Zelenskyy was elected as the president of Ukraine in 2019 in a landslide victory.

Although he promised that his presidency would be different from other Ukrainian leaders who “promise a lot” yet “do nothing,” President Zelenskyy would soon find himself unpopular with the public. Within two years, he had already navigated scandals like his offshore companies appearing in the Pandora Papers and struggled to fulfill his campaign pledge to end the war against Russia in the Donbas region of Ukraine.

But the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022, found him extremely well positioned to offer his skills in performance and storytelling to motivate Ukrainians, rally Europe, and undermine Putin’s propaganda. How will his reaction to Russia’s advances affect his legacy?

We chose eight clips that we feel explain President Zelenskyy’s rise from a comedian to the leader of Ukraine and had journalists and experts respond.

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