Comedy and presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky is the leader in the leadership of Ukraine's March 31 election. He also plays the nation's president on the popular television series "The People's Servant." (Efrem Lukatsky / AP) KIEV, Ukraine – During the second season of the Ukrainian hit TV series " the people", comedy Volodymyr Zelensky plays a teacher turned presidential candidate shooting to the top of the polls among voters disgust with the political establishment. Zelensky now runs for president in real life. With just a few weeks to go to Ukraine's March 31, he chose shot to the top of the polls in the midst of – as in the show – voters abhor the political establishment. And just to blur the lines even more: His party is called the People's Official. "People vote for the plot on the show," said Ukrainian political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko. "They want to put the scene on the show to life." As Ukraine's lethal conflict with Russian-backed separatists draws on, a 41-year-old comedian without political experience is increasingly a favorite to take over as commander chief. The reason? Five years after the country's pro-western revolution, its people still thirst for change. Street protests in 2014 showed a decisive turn from Moscow, but they did much less to modernize the economy or eradicate corruption. President Petro Porko's government and administration has been obsessed with infighting and government spending scandals. The economy, suffering from weak investor confidence and the war in the heavy industrial east, has…
KIEV, Ukraine – During the second season of the Ukrainian hit TV series ” the people”, comedy Volodymyr Zelensky plays a teacher turned presidential candidate shooting to the top of the polls among voters disgust with the political establishment.
Zelensky now runs for president in real life.
With just a few weeks to go to Ukraine’s March 31, he chose shot to the top of the polls in the midst of – as in the show – voters abhor the political establishment.
And just to blur the lines even more: His party is called the People’s Official.
“People vote for the plot on the show,” said Ukrainian political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko. “They want to put the scene on the show to life.”
As Ukraine’s lethal conflict with Russian-backed separatists draws on, a 41-year-old comedian without political experience is increasingly a favorite to take over as commander chief. The reason? Five years after the country’s pro-western revolution, its people still thirst for change.
Street protests in 2014 showed a decisive turn from Moscow, but they did much less to modernize the economy or eradicate corruption. President Petro Porko’s government and administration has been obsessed with infighting and government spending scandals. The economy, suffering from weak investor confidence and the war in the heavy industrial east, has still not recovered from its near collapse five years ago.
The main candidates in the election campaign represented the old guard: the existing Poroshenko, who is also a chocolate tycoon and one of Ukraine’s richest men, and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.  For them, things have not gone according to plan.
Zelensky, who declared his candidacy on national television on New Year’s edition of his variety program, has led Tymoshenko and Poroshenko in almost every published vote since early February.
The mistrust of the building among Ukraine’s political class reflects the furrows of the establishment, as Zelensky’s character rises in the investigations of “servants of the people”. Voting for Zelensky for president, Tymoshenko told a Ukrainian interviewer recently that it was like making beet soup borscht from Cheburashka, a Soviet cartoon character.
“This is a kind of experiment, but it’s really not good,” said Tymoshenko.
In the “People’s Servant”, which was premiered in 2015, the school teacher of Zelensky taught an overnight stay after his impromptu against government corruption goes viral.
He is elected president and continues to fight the anchored elites and refuses to be bought. In season 2, which began flying in late 2017, Zelensky’s character resigns as president after winning down the International Monetary Fund and then leading an unlikely, underdog re-election campaign.
“We live in a parallel universe,” said a senior western diplomat in Kiev who, like many colleagues, has been on the show. “People confuse what is real and what is fiction.”
Coming in the wake of President Trump’s election and the success of the comedian Beppe Grillo’s populist five-star movement in Italy, Zelensky’s resurrection reflects that of other outside storms into politics.
But it is possible that no new presidential campaign has presented such an exciting mix of fact and fiction.
Like his character in season 2, Zelensky, the real candidate, has taken to deal with voters in selfie videos and signs up to talk to regular Ukrainians. Zelensky’s campaign videos on their YouTube channel include “People & # 39; Servant” clips that have been distributed among photographs from Zelensky’s actual campaign.
Unlike his character, Zelensky has not yet drawn all the money from his campaign coupons to install safer, glowing sidewalks across the country. And Zelensky says that as president he would not throw an obscenity at the IMF, because his character does it in the show, because “in life we are not right”.
He claims that his real principles make match the unspoiled, universal character he plays on television.
“To some extent, people may really feel that the guy on the screen and the guy in reality is the same person,” Zelensky told foreign journalists earlier this month in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. “It may even be true, to some extent.”
Zelensky’s true policy is a mystery.
He says he is in favor of Ukraine trying to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union, but they should be approved by the public in a referendum. He says he is ready to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war in Eastern Ukraine, but he was offered few details on how he would complete it without lowering any territory to Russia.
He insists that all of Ukraine’s powerful oligarchs will be equal before the courts. But critics doubt that the same direction will hold for Ihor Kolomoyskyi, billionaire’s rival in Poroshenko who owns the channel that sent the Zelensky show.
“It is extremely difficult right now to say what kind of president he will be,” analyst Fesenko says. “I think he himself doesn’t know what his policy will be.”
Zelensky asked his 2.8 million Instagram followers to last send him his elections for prime minister, foreign minister, defense minister and even security chief and prosecutor general. Some Western diplomats in Kiev say they worry about Zelensky’s inexperience will be a particular risk when working with Putin. The comedian has promised to negotiate with the Russian president, even though he has provided some details on how he will do so.
“There must be some sort of negotiating table with Russia. It is necessary to talk and discuss things,” said Zelensky in the interview with foreign journalists.
He pressed what he would do differently than Poroshenko in dealing with Putin, and said he would insist that the Russian president declared his previous documents and his claim for an official piece of paper.
Fesenko said that Zelensky is a rare candidate who managed to outdo the gap between East and West and Russian speakers and Ukrainian speakers in the country. His image is like a young, pro-western actor and entrepreneur, but he comes from Ukraine’s largest Russian-speaking southeast.
Porkos campaign has focused on issues of identity and security. Many of his signs have said “Army! Language! Believe! “And one of his accomplishments has been to help create a Ukrainian Orthodox Church independent of Moscow.
But his service has been overshadowed by corruption scandals, including last month’s allegations of embezzlement in procurement with a top aid.
The American ambassador to Kiev, Marie Yovanovitch, explained the Ukrainian leadership not to do enough to fight corruption.
“It is increasingly clear that Ukraine’s once-in-a-generation change, for which such a high price was paid five years ago on the Maidan, has not yet resulted in anti-corruption or rule-of-law reforms that Ukrainians expect or deserve,” she said earlier this month. , referring to the square in central Kiev where protesters were killed in 2014.  Corruption scandals involve the rhetoric of Zelensky – and of the character he plays on television – falls on fertile soil.
Maxim Chinenov, a 24-year-old sailor from the Crimea who lives in the southeastern port city of Odessa, said he likes Zelensky’s promise to lift immunity from prosecution from MPs.
“It really would make a difference,” said Chinenov. “People are ready to strive for something better.”