VIDEO – Zelensky’s journey: A standup comic stands up to Putin

By Thomas Gaulkin | June 9, 2022

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Last week marked 100 days since Russia launched its invasion in Ukraine. In that relatively short time, Ukraine’s stranger-than-fiction president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has become a global figure first lionized for his refusal to abandon Kyiv as Russian missiles struck, and now familiar from his omnipresence on social media, and his sometimes daily speeches to international legislatures and other audiences worldwide.

In April, Zelensky visited the brutalized city of Bucha to review evidence of alleged Russian war crimes. This week, he paid a surprise visit to the most active and dangerous front in the conflict, the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine. Zelensky continues to secure his place in history as a war-time leader.

But before this February, Zelensky was familiar to those outside Ukraine primarily as the target of an attempted quid pro quo over US military assistance that led to Donald Trump’s first impeachment. And before that—for most of his adult life—he was known as a star comedian and actor (at least to Ukrainian and Russian TV viewers).

How did Zelensky go from captain of regional sketch comedy to international warrior against authoritarianism, drawing comparisons to larger-than-life figures like Winston Churchill? The Bulletin gathered these video highlights of Zelensky from the past two decades to help chart his journey.

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