Person of the Year

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the Spirit of Ukraine have been named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2022.

Not bad for a man who was just a few years ago a television comedic actor playing the role of the President of his nation. Life has imitated art, in this case, in a most powerful way. By the way, Mr. Zelensky’s series is currently available on Netflix. I think I’ll check that out; you might get a kick out of it as well.

Servant of the People

As a wartime president, Zelensky is most certainly the servant to his people, but that phrase was also the title of the Ukrainian comedy series he starred in starting in 2015.

photo of Zelensky Shooting
In this screenshot from the series, Zelensky goes full “Tony Montana” as he kills what appears to be the entire Ukrainian parliament. Screenshot from YouTube and KinoGuru

In his TV show, the Ukrainian President plays a destitute schoolteacher whose anti-corruption rant goes viral on social media. The people saw his character and thought “that guy” should be President. And that’s the fictional world. In real life, Zelensky used the same anti-corruption theme while running for the highest office in the land. As a political newcomer, he won 73.2% of the vote in the 2019 Ukraine presidential election. His opponent, Petro Poroshenko, represented the old, corrupt Ukraine. Zelensky represented a more westernized Ukraine and hopes for a brighter future. At first, a vote for Zelensky was seen as a protest vote; then, people slowly came to know the man behind the comedian as they put their faith in his leadership.

An Inherited Mess

Having Russia invade your nation has to be a worst-case scenario, but things weren’t exactly going well in Ukraine when Zelensky took power. Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, and Ukrainian troops have been fighting in the eastern Donbas Oblast ever since. The separatists are backed by the Kremlin and are well-supplied. According to CNN News and a United Nations report, the war has taken over 13,000 lives, and over 3,000 of those killed were civilians.