Polls suggest Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian with no previous political experience, has become one of the frontrunners in Ukraine’s presidential election.
His campaign is blurring the line between fact and fiction, as he stars in a hit TV series in which he plays a teacher who unexpectedly becomes president.
Some recent polls even put Mr Zelensky ahead of current President Petro Poroshenko, as well as opposition leader and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, for the vote scheduled to begin with a first round on 31 March.
Zelensky’s party is named for his TV series: Servant of the People. And Zelensky apparently knows how to give the People what they want:
He has advertised for team members, setting out one condition only: Candidates must have no political experience. He makes a point of never wearing a jacket. On his Facebook page, he has posted endearing videos of himself talking about his campaign and Ukraine’s future; in a calculated show of ineptitude, the videos are filmed with a vertically-oriented smartphone, so Facebook shows them with blurry margins.
In [a] recent video, Zelensky explains he won’t write a manifesto like old-time politicians do — because they all sound the same and the promises are never kept. Instead, he has asked Ukrainians to tell him what five problems they believe to be the biggest for the country; then, he proposes to crowdsource the solutions, too.
One wonders what Vladimir Putin thinks of all this.