scorecard
  1. Home
  2. international
  3. news
  4. 7 surprising facts about Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky

7 surprising facts about Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky

Talia Lakritz   

7 surprising facts about Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky
President Volodymyr Zelensky voiced Paddington Bear in the Ukrainian dub of the animated films.STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images ; StudioCanal
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is leading the nation amid Russia's invasion.
  • Before entering politics and becoming president in 2019, Zelensky was a comedian and a TV star.

Zelensky studied law, but his career changed trajectories when he became involved with theater and comedy during college.

Zelensky studied law, but his career changed trajectories when he became involved with theater and comedy during college.
Volodymyr Zelensky backstage in 2019.      Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Zelensky earned a law degree in 2000 from Kyiv National Economic University, but he was active in theater and comedy during his studies, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. In 1997, his comedy troupe, Kvartal 95, appeared on the televised improvisational comedy competition KVN, and Zelensky went on to become a series regular.

He wrote and starred in several films produced by a production company he co-founded, Studio Kvartal 95.

He wrote and starred in several films produced by a production company he co-founded, Studio Kvartal 95.
Volodymyr Zelensky plays ping pong with a journalist in 2019.      Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

In 2005, Zelensky made his film and screenwriting debut in a musical-comedy version of "The Three Musketeers," in which he played D'Artagnan. He went on to write and star in "No Love in the City," "Corporal vs. Napoleon," "8 First Dates," and "Love in Vegas."

He won Ukraine's version of "Dancing With the Stars" in 2006.

He won Ukraine
Volodymyr Zelensky holds flowers after performing onstage in 2019.      SERGIY GUDAK/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter user @abughazalehkat shared a resurfaced compilation video from Ukraine's "Dancing With the Stars" competition in 2006 showing Zelensky dancing in a variety of styles and an array of costumes. He took first place with dance partner Olena Shoptenko.

Zelensky voiced Paddington in the Ukrainian versions of the animated children's films.

Zelensky voiced Paddington in the Ukrainian versions of the animated children
A scene from "Paddington."      StudioCanal

"Paddington" producer StudioCana confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that Zelensky voiced the lovable bear in both "Paddington" films.

He starred in a popular TV show in Ukraine called "Servant of the People," in which he played the president.

He starred in a popular TV show in Ukraine called "Servant of the People," in which he played the president.
Volodymyr Zelensky performs at a comedy show in 2019.      STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In the show, which aired from 2015 to 2019, Zelensky's character is an idealistic school teacher who goes on a viral tirade about government corruption and ends up becoming president.

In real life, he won the presidency a landslide victory with over 70% of the vote in April 2019.

Zelensky is Jewish.

Zelensky is Jewish.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a speech next to a menorah at The Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Centre, a place of a mass execution of Jews by Nazis in World War II, during a memorial ceremony in Kiev in August 2019.      SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images

Zelensky spoke about his family's Jewish heritage and losses in the Holocaust at an event in Israel in January 2020 marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. His grandfather survived the Holocaust, but his grandfather's three brothers did not.

Insider's Sonam Sheth and John Haltiwanger wrote that Putin defied logic by justifying Russia's invasion of Ukraine by calling for the "de-Nazification" of a democratic country led by a Jewish president.

He and his wife, screenwriter Olena Zelenska, have two children.

He and his wife, screenwriter Olena Zelenska, have two children.
President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife, Olena Zelenska.      Presidency of Ukraine/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Zelensky met Zelenska in college, where she switched from studying architecture to writing and became a screenwriter for his production company, according to Tatler.

They share two children, 17-year-old Aleksandra and 9-year-old Kiril.

READ MORE ARTICLES ON

Popular Right Now





Advertisement