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Ukraine’s New President is a Comedian?


If it wasn’t crazy enough that the United States elected a business man/reality TV star, last week the Ukraine elected a comedian and actor as their next president. Volodymry Zelensky ran against former president Petro Poroshenko, beating him with 73% of the votes. The best-maybe craziest- part about Zelensky taking office is that he plays a schoolteacher, on a popular Ukrainian TV show, that accidentally becomes the president.

(Courtesy of AdobeStock on Pixabay)

I thought this story was a hoax when I first heard it, however it continues to gets weirder. Zelensky and his schoolteacher character are extremely similar: both have no political experience, their campaigns focused on anti-corruption, and both are popular with Ukraine’s youth. To add the the craziness, Zelensky ran under a new political party founded by the TV shows producers. Adding to his already popular campaign, Zelenksy promised Ukraine a better economic standing. Living standards in the Ukraine have diminished and it is one of the poorest countries in Europe. Zelenky’s pro-market campaign has helped him tremendously, promising to try and join the EU and NATO. Zelensky had an advantage because much of Ukraine was fed up with the current president. Zelenksy’s opponent and former president, Poroshenko, has been criticized for failing to address pro- Russian separatists. Many Ukrainians also believe that Poroshenko failed to combat government corruption. His connected to wealthy oligarch’s adds more fuel to the fire of claims of corruption.


(Courtesy of TheJapanTimes)

While it may seem crazy to me that a comedian and actor could become president of a country, I do look back at the United States presidential history-Reagan and Trump-and realize that our elections haven’t been that far off. Having no poltical experience can be a major criticism for presidential candidates, it seems like Zelensky-like Trump- has won the office despite this disadvantage. However, hopefully Zelensky will be more promising than Trump.  It will be interesting to see if Zelensky is able to fulfill some of the promised he made on his campaign.

Yasmine Hetherington

UC Riverside '21

Yasmine Hetherington is an undergraduate student student at the University of California Riverside. She is majoring in Psychology with a minor in business. When she's not studying she enjoys painting, drawing, and hiking in her hometown in the Bay Area.
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