Reel Life To Real Life…
He has been seen playing the role of a President in a television series… The series – titled ‘Servant of the People’ – made him famous in his country. Nearly 73% of his countrymen recently chose him as their new President. Now, he is out to play the President’s role, in actuality! Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelensky – the 41-year-old screenwriter, actor, comedian and director – is all set to replace Petro Poroshenko as the President of Ukraine!
Various surveys had predicted a change in the war-ravaged former Soviet Republic ahead of the Presidential Elections held on April 21. According to the Political Analysts, the outgoing President’s alleged involvement in corruption made the job easy for Zelensky. The Ukrainians, who still face the heat of decades-long struggle with Russia-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country, were desperate for a change! The struggle had claimed nearly 13,000 lives in the Eastern European nation, known for its Orthodox Churches, Black Sea coastline and forested mountains…. So, the fall of Poroshenko became somewhat inevitable, and the people across Ukraine cast their votes in favour of the actor-turned-politician!
Immediately after winning the presidency by a landslide margin, the inexperienced Zelensky told his celebrating supporters: “I will never let you down.” The President-Elect assured his countrymen that he would reboot peace talks with the separatists fighting Ukrainian forces and volunteers, stressing: “I think that we will have personnel changes. In any case, we will continue in the direction of the Minsk (Peace) talks and head towards concluding a ceasefire.” Zelensky also sent a strong message to neighbouring former Soviet Republics, as he said that “everything is possible”.
Top world leaders, such as French President Emmanuel Macron and Polish President Andrzej Duda, congratulated Zelensky over phone, and assured the latter that Kiev would receive all sorts of support from Paris and Warsaw. British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted: “Congratulations to Volodymyr Zelenskiy & @zeteam_official on your Presidential election success. You will now truly be the ‘Servant of the People’. We look forward to working together as the UK continues to support Ukraine, her chosen Euro-Atlantic Path, Reform Process & Security.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and European Council President Donald Tusk, too, sent congratulatory messages to the newly-elected Ukrainian President… However, Moscow has reacted somewhat cautiously, with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev saying (in a Facebook post) that he expected President-elect Zelensky to “repeat familiar ideological formulas” that he had used in the election campaign. “I have no illusions on that score. At the same time, there is a chance to improve relations with our country,” insisted Medvedev.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainians are hopeful that Zelensky will bring positive changes in the country. Valentyn Rudenko, a 70-year-old pensioner, said that Poroshenko “could have made it into history, but he was only protecting his interests and not the state’s. I just don’t want Poroshenko to be president”. For her part, 45-year-old secretary in Kiev Viktoriia Bengalska said: “I voted for Zelensky because everything he said is true. It’s impossible to survive on this salary, prices have increased like crazy, and we were promised something totally different.”
Poroshenko, too, issued a statement on his defeat, as the outgoing president said that he would not quit politics. Talking to the local media in Kiev, he stressed that Kremlin should be happy with the outcome of the Ukrainian Presidential Polls, adding that Zelensky was “too inexperienced to stand up to Russia effectively”.
Undoubtedly, Zelensky – a political novice – will have to face some tough challenges in the coming days. He has already announced that he will try to ‘normalise’ ties with Kremlin with the help of European friends. However, it is still not clear whether Moscow will allow him to play the Europe cards. After all, Politics is not a Comedy, at all!
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