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PostPresident-Elect Volodymyr Zelensky (Boris Volodarsky, Austria, 04/23/19 10:22 am)
Some comments on Cameron Sawyer's recent posts (April 22-23) on the Ukrainian election. In a forum on Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe about a year ago, as soon as the movie Sluga Naroda (Public Servant) came out with Vladimir Zelensky playing a president of Ukraine, I suggested that he should be elected the (real) president. When he really put forward himself as a possible candidate much later, on the same RFE/RL forum I called on everyone to support him.
Vladimir Aleksandrovich Zelensky was born in Krivoy Rog in Ukraine on 25 January 1978 to a Russian-Ukrainian-Jewish family of a University Professor of Informatics. His father had served for 20 years in Mongolia as a Soviet specialist. When Vladimir was 16 years old he was offered a free grant to study at a university in Israel but his father was categorically against it. As a result, Zelensky decided to enter MGIMO--Moscow State Institute of International Relations--but as I can assure you from my own experience it was virtually impossible for a child of a "normal" background because in order to apply one needed either a special recommendation from a Central Party Committee or to come from a KGB officer/high party functionary family. As a result, Vladimir Zelensky successfully graduated as a lawyer from the Kiev National Economic University Krivoy Rog branch.
Zelensky is one of the most popular and trusted television personalities on the whole territory of the former Soviet Union, and is well known to Russian communities abroad. All his so-called links with the Ukrainian oligarch Kolomoisky is the invention of the Kremlin propaganda. He has decisively won public debates with the incumbent president Poroshenko on 19 April, which I was watching live, when he said that Poroshenko is just one of several Ukrainian oligarchs who run the country but he, Zelensky, is a normal rank-and-file person who does not accept the "power of oligarchs" but wants a "normal" life for his countrymen. In a long televised interview with a popular Ukrainian journalist Gordon, Zelensky demonstrated that he is an honest person but a rather inexperienced politician. Asked how he sees himself discussing important issues with Putin, he was a bit lost. Nevertheless, he was excellent in his public debates and already met Merkel and Macron, having visited both Berlin and Paris on their invitation. Whatever the EU, it is extremely important that the United States does not leave him on his own as they did with Yushchenko.
Anyway, Zelensky has a chance to become a good president. We already have a vivid example in President Ronald Reagan.
JE comments: Ukraine is probably the most difficult presidential post in all of Europe, and we all hope Zelensky will rise to the challenge. Boris, what is the Putin-controlled Russian media saying about the new president?