Ukraine, whose fate is fraught on a good day with neighbouring Russia wanting to redraw its border with nation, just elected as its president a comedian who became popular playing a high-school teacher who becomes president of Ukraine by chance
Ukraine, whose fate is fraught on a good day with neighbouring Russia wanting to redraw its border with nation, just elected as its president a comedian who became popular playing a high-school teacher who becomes president of Ukraine by chance. For Volodymyr Zelenskiy, life imitated art. Many are asking why a nation that is at war with Russia-supported rebels in the east would vote in a comedian with no political experience and reject the incumbent, who promises to fend off the Russian threat by cosying up to the West. It is hard to tell if Zelenskiy will last a full term, or if he was mocking himself and his nation when he said that the lesson the post Soviet Union world should draw from Ukraine is “anything’s possible”. But, that he is starting with a promise that he won’t let his nation down should count for something—till it doesn’t.
Truth be told, there is no reason why Zelenskiy shouldn’t end up the wager that paid off for Ukraine. The world now has Donald Trump as the president of the most powerful country in the world—his presidency will perhaps go down in American history as one of the worst, if not the worst. Xi Jinping, born into a political family, leads China with an iron fist—and will likely keep doing so till he doesn’t step down, die or get deposed. We have a worn out Theresa May, battling her own party over Brexit, leading the UK ever closer to chaos and confusion. Bolsonaro in Brazil, Erdogan in Turkey, Putin in Russia, Jong Un in North Korea, the list of politicians who don’t seem cut for statesmanship is long. In the midst of all this, if Zelenskiy is able to stand up to Russia even if he doesn’t lead Ukraine into a glorious victory against its belligerent neighbour, that would be no modest victory. Meanwhile, Ukrainians can keep hoping TV comedy doesn’t turn into real-life tragedy.