Volodymyr Zelenskyy – Meet Ukraine’s Comedian-Actor President

Volodymyr Zelenskyy
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Profile summary of Volodymyr Zelenskyy
  • Name: Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy
  • Date of birth: January 25, 1978
  • Age: 46
  • Place of birth: Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine
  • Nationality: Ukrainian
  • Ethnicity: Jewish
  • Religion: Judaism
  • Education: Kyiv National Economic University, Ukraine.
  • Parents: Oleksandr Zelenskyy and Rymma Zelenska
  • Height: 5′ 7″
  • Occupation: Actor/comedian, lawyer, politician
  • Years active: 1998 to date
  • Net worth: $1.5 billion
  • Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Instagram: zelenskiy_official
  • Twitter: @ZelenskyyUa
  • Facebook: Команда Зеленського

Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Ukraine’s 46-year-old sixth president but that is not all he is known for. The name Zelenskyy is currently one of the most searched items on the internet today. Even if you have just crawled out from under a rock due to the pandemic, the first news you probably heard is that the Third World War is looming because that’s what will happen if Russia and Ukraine do not sheath their swords anytime soon. At the center of this crisis is Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s comedian-actor president.

How old is Volodymyr Zelenskyy?

Volodymyr Zelenskyy is currently 46 years old. The former actor and comedian has become a household name across the globe. He was born on 25 January 1978 in Kryvyi Rih in Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (now Ukraine). His father, Oleksandr Zelenskyy is a university professor and Head of the Department of Cybernetics and Computing Hardware at the Kryvyi Rih State University, Ukraine. His mother, Rymma Zelenska on the other hand worked as an engineer.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, 46, is the only known child of his parents and spent his formative years in his home country. He speaks Russian as a first language. He was due to further his education in Israel after passing the Test of English as a Foreign Language at 16. His father however disapproved of the decision despite Zelenskyy having received a study grant. The reason for this decision is not known to the public.

Zelenskyy proceeded to the Kryvyi Rih Institute of Economics, which was a department of the Kyiv National Economic University where he obtained a degree in Law. Young Zelenskyy did not pursue a career in Law despite having a university degree. He followed his passion for entertainment.

What religion is the president of Ukraine?

The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy is of Jewish ethnicity. Although he is not too vocal about his faith, he is believed to lead a quiet religious life. The religion of ethnic Jews is Judaism. Zelenskyy is Ukraine’s first Jewish president. His great-grandfather and great-granduncles were killed in the Holocaust, which saw the extermination of about six million Jews across Europe.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s entertainment career

While Ukraine’s president is currently celebrated around the world as a wartime president standing up to Russia with the second-largest army in the world, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has not always been a politician.

Zelenskyy rose to fame as a comedian and actor before venturing into politics. His journey into the world of entertainment began at the age of 17 when he joined a comedy competition known as the KVN, a show on Russian TV. He later joined the Ukrainian team Zaporizhia-Kryvyi Rih-Transit. The team won KVN’s major league in 1997.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy started Kvartal 95 in 1997

In 1997, Volodymyr Zelenskyy established a comedy company called Kvartal 95. The company started as a team of comedians before becoming a formal establishment. Zelenskyy and his team were a force to reckon with between 1998 and 2003, performing in Ukraine’s highest-ranking leagues in the KVN. Kvartal 95 achieved so much success that the team was able to go on tours around the post-Soviet Union countries.

Kvartal 95, having earned its place in the entertainment industry, ventured into TV shows production. They began with shows on the Ukrainian TV channel 1+1 in 2003 and by 2005, they had expanded their reach to the Ukrainian TV channel Inter.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy went into acting in 2008, starring in the feature film, Love in the Big City. The film was successful and had a sequel, Love in the Big City 2, which he also starred in. As his acting career blossomed; he featured in other notable films including a lead role in 8 First Dates (2012).

He also tried his hands on voice work and recorded the Ukrainian version of Paddington Bear (2014 and 2017). Zelenskyy has often condemned the decision of the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture to ban Russian artists from performing in Ukraine. Zelenskyy served as a producer and board member for the Ukrainian TV channel Inter from 2010 to 2012.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s movies

  • 2009 Love in the Big City as Igor
  • 2011 Office Romance. Our Time as Anatoly Efremovich Novoseltsev
  • 2012 Love in the Big City 2 as Igor
  • 2012 Rzhevsky Versus Napoleon as Napoleon
  • 2012 8 First Dates as Nikita Sokolov
  • 2014 Love in Vegas as Igor Zelenskyy
  • 2014 Paddington (Ukrainian version) as Paddington Bear (voice work)
  • 2015 8 New Dates as Nikita Andreevich Sokolov
  • 2018 I, You, He, She as Maksym Tkachenko

TV shows and series

  • 2006 Dancing with the Stars (Ukraine) as a contestant
  • 2008–2012 Svaty (producer)
  • 2015–2019 Servant of the People as Vasyl Petrovych Holoborodko

Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s political career

Volodymyr Zelenskyy is the sixth and current president of Ukraine. He rose to become the number one citizen of Ukraine without any profound political background. His closest shot at preparing for political leadership was in the TV series Servant of the People created by Kvartal 95, where he played the character of Vasyl Petrovych Holoborodko, a high school teacher that went on to become the president of Ukraine. His political party is called Servant of the People, named after the series in which he acted as Ukraine’s president.

Prior to the launching of a full political career, Zelenskyy had advocated for political reforms and change in Ukraine. One of such laudable occasions was during the Russo-Ukrainian War when he openly offered his support to the Ukrainian army in kind by performing to cheer the spirit of the soldiers and in cash with a donation of 1 million hryvnias through Kvartal 95. This led to a ban on his studio productions in Russia.

He announced his intention to run for the office of the president in late 2018 and had most of his campaigns online with the promise to serve a single term. He earned a landslide victory against the seating president, Petro Poroshenko to become Ukraine’s sixth president.

His victory was historic as his political party was the first of its kind to win a majority vote of 254 of the 424 seats in the parliament in recent times. He also became the first Jewish president of Ukraine and has a Jewish Prime Minister. In January 2021, Zelenskyy fulfilled his campaign promise to carry out electoral reforms by amending the referendum law in Ukraine.

The 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

News of Russia’s possible invasion of Ukraine emerged in late 2021 with the US sounding very certain of their claims. Despite contrary opinion from Kremlin, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin ordered what he called “a special military operation” against Ukraine on 24 February 2022. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was met by widespread criticism from the west and the world at large. Russia has been accused of war crimes for targeting non-military structures, leading to an increase in humanitarian crisis.

The war between Russia and Ukraine has lingered and yet there doesn’t seem to be any hope of Russia pulling her military out of this special operation on Ukraine. At the heart of the war is Russia’s claim that Ukraine’s willingness to join NATO poses a great threat to their security and sovereignty. Russia’s action has been described as a show of total disregard for Ukraine’s sovereignty and contravenes the Budapest Agreement.

Zelenskyy has received accolades from around the world for his bravery and diplomatic handling of the crisis and for exhibiting a great deal of leadership in this difficult situation. For many, Volodymyr Zelenskyy is not just a wartime president, but an exemplary leader and a true hero of democracy.

When the presidents of Turkey and the United States offered to evacuate him and his family from Kyiv, he turned down their offer and chose to stay put and fight alongside his military. His response to their evacuation offer is one that will not be forgotten long after the war. He said,  “The war is here. I need ammunition, not a ride.” 

The war rages with about a million Ukrainians fleeing home and many left stranded as the move to create safe corridors for humanitarian aid and evacuation of civilians has been aborted due to continued shelling by Russian forces. Ukraine seems to be experiencing perpetual nightfall as it is being attacked from all sides.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that he is open to dialogue with Vladimir Putin but not on Putin’s iconic long table with both leaders sitting 30 meters apart. Ukraine continues to receive military, humanitarian and financial aid from countries across the globe. He has applied for Ukraine to become a member of the European Union.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s no-fly zone request denied

President Zelenskyy has not shied away from asking for help from the world powers, NATO, and fellow heads of states since his country was invaded by Russia. One of such requests was made to US president Joe Biden and NATO allies to issue a no-fly zone over Ukraine. This move, in his opinion, was necessary to curb the use of rockets and similar ammunition by Russia in Ukraine.

Since most land borders have been closed to Russia, their major route for reinforcement has become the Ukrainian airspace and if they cannot fly in additional troops then they resort to using long-range missiles to carry out airstrikes on Ukraine. As needful as the plea for a no-fly zone seems, the request was denied because granting it would mean interfering with Russia. This interference could further escalate the war.

The rejection did not sit well with president Volodymyr Zelenskyy who saw it as an indirect way of aiding the continued bombardment of Ukraine by Russian forces. He later requested that if he could not have a no-fly zone over Ukraine then he should at least be provided with fighter jets to help secure his airspace.

Help from Ukraine’s neighbors

There is no gainsaying that a neighbor is one who provides help when you need it the most. Ukraine’s neighbors have continued to offer their support and solidarity to Ukraine. Poland and Romania have shown exceptional support by welcoming as many refugees fleeing the war-torn country as they can manage. Also, Estonia became a key passage for military aid. Ukrainian refugees have continued to receive warm welcome across Europe.

There however has been news of discrimination in the treatment of refugees with people of color living in Ukraine accusing the Ukrainian officers of racism. Many international students, especially from Africa and India, were said to have been left stranded and sometimes pushed down from the trains to make room for Ukrainian refugees during evacuation. This allegation was highly condemned as unjust, especially in a time of war when civilians were running for their lives.

What is Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s net worth?

It is difficult to say for sure how much Volodymyr Zelenskyy is worth especially with rumors about his possible offshore investments. However, his net worth is speculated to be around $1.5 billion. While he earns a commendable sum as a president, he acquired much of his wealth before his political career. He earned both money and fame from his acting career and production company Kvartal 95. His years as a comedian also helped to boost his net worth.

Meanwhile, there are contrasting figures being spread about his net worth with some pegging it at over $500 million while others say he is worth over $700 million. Whatever the case may be, the Ukrainian president is a wealthy man.

Read Also: Who Is Olena Zelenska? Meet Ukraine’s First Lady and Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Wife

How tall is Volodymyr Zelenskyy?

Zelenskyy’s admirable bravery in the course of Russia’s invasion of his country makes him stand tall among world leaders. It is not a common occurrence for a comedian-actor turned president, with no credible military training to stand up to Vladimir Putin who has impeccable military experience, fought four wars, and commands the second-largest military in the world.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy is not as tall as his bravery. At 5′ 7″, Zelenskyy does not stand so tall compared to other world leaders. Coincidentally Vladimir Putin who is his archrival is not of a towering height either. He is about the same height as Zelenskyy. So there you have it. Both men can stand up to each other.

As the war in Ukraine continues to unfold, fans of the wartime presidents continue to defend their preferred leaders. One thing that is certain at the moment is that Volodymyr Zelenskyy has earned his mark in international diplomacy and has become one of the most influential voices in the world. History will remember him as the ex-comedian who dared to challenge the dreaded Vladimir Putin.


How is Volodymyr Zelenskyy?

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is 46 years old.

Is Volodymyr Zelenskyy married?

Zelensky has been married to Olena Zelenska since 2003.

How many children does Volodymyr Zelensky have?

The Ukrainian president has two children – Aleksandra Zelenskaya and Kiril Zelenskiy.

What nationality is Zelensky?

He is Ukrainian.

Who ruled Ukraine before Zelensky?

Petro Poroshenko was the 5th president of Ukraine before Zelensky.

What type of government does Ukraine have?

Ukraine is a republic with a presidential-parliamentary system of government.

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