The world is in awe of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s bravery and valour, as his country battles the horrifying Russian invasion. His refusal to flee the country amidst the political turmoil was lauded by the global community and he is being hailed as a real-life war hero.

Zelensky has been leading the battle from the forefront in Kyiv during Ukraine’s darkest hour. He has been very vocal on social media and is rallying to unite Ukrainians with charm, dignity and a dash of humour. In his infamous self-shot Instagram video, the exhausted President squashes Russian propaganda by saying, “We’re all here. Our military is here. Citizens in society are here. We’re all here defending our independence, our country, and it will stay this way.”

However, his journey to the throne was anything but conventional:

Zelensky graduated from university with a law degree but was smitten by the theatre during his studies. His performance group, Kvartal 95, was featured on a popular improv comedy show in Ukraine and his entertainment career grew from there.

Zelensky quickly rose to fame as a comedian, actor and producer. His ascent to Ukraine’s political dominion became a peculiar case of life imitating art. Prior to politics, his most celebrated role as an actor was in a popular TV series titled Servant of the People, in which he portrayed a school teacher flung into presidency after a student uploaded a viral video of him ranting about corruption in politics.

In 2018, Zelensky’s production company created a political party named after the show. A few months later, he announced he was running for office. At first, Ukrainian citizens saw his candidacy as a joke but his undeterred spirit and vocal stance against the deep-rooted corruption in Ukraine lead to a landslide victory with over 73% of the votes in his favour. In 2019, he was declared president. 

Since then, the political novice has not only proved his worth as president but also emerged as a key international figure by delegating the war like a champion. Inspite of knowing that his family and he are the primary targets to overthrow the Ukrainian government, he made it clear that his decision was to stay put and assist the resistance movement rather than flee to a safe space. As quoted by The Washington Post, he claimed, “The fight is here. I need ammunition, not a ride.”