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President Volodymyr Zelensky

By Kole Omotoso
20 March 2022   |   3:39 am
“Great Lord, let us meet. Not like you and Macron, miles apart but face to face. I don’t bite.” This is a note that President Zelenskyy sent to President Vladimir Putin requesting a face to face meeting between them.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (Photo by UKRAINE PRESIDENCY / AFP)

“Great Lord, let us meet. Not like you and Macron, miles apart but face to face. I don’t bite.” This is a note that President Zelenskyy sent to President Vladimir Putin requesting a face to face meeting between them. Of course, one has no idea what Putin said in reply but I am not sure he would have appreciated the touch of the comedian that showed in the invitation.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has survived three assassination attempts at least in the last few days. I quote The Times. “Two different outfits have been sent to kill the Ukrainian President – mercenaries of the Kremlin-backed Wagner group and Chenchen Special Forces. Both have been thwarted by anti-war elements within Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).” March 3, 2022.

President Zelenskyy is a strange human being. He was born on January 25, 1978. His grandfather was a colonel in the Red Army in the Second World War. His father is a professor and computer scientist, and the head of the Department of Cybernetics and Computing Hardware at the Kryvyi Rih State University of Economics and Technology. His mother, Rymma Zelenska, used to work at the university as an engineer.

At the age of 16, he passed the English test as a foreign language and was granted a travel study to study in Israel. But the father did not allow him to go although they are Jews. Volodymyr Zelenskyy studied for a degree in Law but did not pursue legal affairs. Instead, he joined a television comedy company. From the age of 17 he joined a television theatre company. He must have been studying at the same time. This was his unorthodox road to politics. He formed his own company and toured virtually all post-Soviet countries with his comedy. What is the nature of these comedies?

In “Servant of the People” episode one, three friends live in New York working. In their spare time they gallivant around. One of them is a Tour Guide. It is through a group of these tourists that they meet a strange-looking man. Igor, the character that Volodymyr plays, is a dentist. Sometimes, he plays a teacher. It is as a teacher that someone recorded his harangue against politicians that led to his career in politics. But he run ahead of us.

The strange-looking man said to the three friends: “Let what you drank for, be impossible without what I drank for.” At some stage, the friends lost their sexual ability. After much torment they met the strange-looking man again. He had settled in America as Valentine and solving the sexual problems of Americans. Here Valentine teaches the friends to go their various ways and devote themselves to true love. Only then will they find true and lasting love.

The political party that he organises on television is also the name of the party in real life.

In real life, Volodymyr is not a competent politician. He chooses poor advisers and when they give him good advice, he does not accept good advice. We don’t know the end of the government of Zelenskyy before he got into politics and was saved by Putin’s war.

At the time of Zelenskyy’s political liberation, the possible popularity level was 21 per cent or lower. But with the war, his popularity shot up; 91 per cent when last it was checked. What happened?

Two things happened. The first one is that courage came surging forth for our man. It was suggested that they go and hide him somewhere safe. He wouldn’t hear of it. Many times this question was put to the president, he gave the same answer.  Where the people are, there he would be. This boosted his popularity. The second issue was the question of surviving assassination three times. The regular ones that guard him must know what they are doing.

How did corruption begin? With the collapse of the soviet socialist republics, the resources accruing to each republic became the property of those nearest to the throne. Oil wells and the accompanying companies are shared among those close to the throne.

State companies and other state owned belongings were shared out among politicians who were around and who were greedy enough to participate. There was nothing left to run the state. The politicians go cap in hand to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to borrow money. These institutions take over the country and the independence you have just celebrated becomes hollow and meaningless.

A class of natives known as Oligarchs, who seem born to enjoy the things of this Earth, they own football clubs; they ply the waters of the world in private yachts and private jets. They are the envy of the world. Their wives and children live in luxury and want for nothing. These were the subjects of Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s comedies. He was caught once ranting against these types and made a politician in the hope that rather than being a teacher, he would make a good politician.

He forms a party with the name of the play party – Servants of People – which goes and wins the next election in a landslide. Yet, as all things natural Volodymyr Zelenskyy has an oligarch as a friend and business partner.  During the campaign for the election the presidential candidate swore that his friend and business partner will not receive any contract from his government.

In a discussion on successes and failures of the government, it was a case of old problems with new players. Some of the promises are mainly campaign promises, made not to be fulfilled. Others are serious promises on which the life of the government is dependent. That means that such promises must be fulfilled.

The greatest achievement was the agreement of cease fire with the Russian Federation. Then, there was the successful removal of privilege of the members of parliament as promised during the campaign. The failures are the promises that were not fulfilled. A final agreement with the Russian Federation was impossible.

It is as well that this was so because the war that followed was to show us a different Volodymyr Zelenskyy – a Zelenskyy who has become the face of the heroic struggle of Ukraine.