Volodymyr Zelensky has been President of Ukraine since May 20, 2019. Born and raised in Kryvyj Rih in a family of Jewish origin and Russian mother tongue, Zelensky graduated in law from the National Economic University of Kiev, and then tried his hand at an acting career. He founded the production company Kvartal 95, which produced several films, cartoons and TV series, including Servant of the People, in which Zelensky himself played a high school teacher unexpectedly elected president of Ukraine. In March 2018, some Kvartal 95 employees founded a political party of the series' namesake, riding its popularity.
On 31 December 2018 Zelensky announced his candidacy for the presidential elections the following March. Despite having no political experience, his popularity as an actor and his anti-corruption positions immediately placed him at the top in the polls. After being the most voted candidate in the first round, on 21 April 2019 he defeated outgoing president Petro Poroshenko in the run-off with 73% of the vote. He has held pro-European and anti-establishment positions.
During the presidential election campaign, Zelensky promised that he would find a solution to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, which began in 2014 with the annexation of Crimea by Russia, which was not recognized by the international community. After the election, he initially tried to establish diplomatic relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin; However, tensions between the two countries escalated in 2021, following numerous Russian and Ukrainian exercises in the vicinity of the borders between the two countries, and culminated in February 2022 with a large-scale invasion by the Russian army in Ukrainian territory. During the conflict, Zelensky gained widespread acclaim, both at home and abroad, emerging as a symbolic figure of the Ukrainian resistance.