An image of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wearing body armor and a helmet.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy

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Updated Feb 28, 2022 at 06:07PM EST by Zach.

Added Feb 28, 2022 at 07:42AM EST by RobertGood.

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Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy is a Ukrainian politician, statesman and the current president of Ukraine. Formerly an actor and comedian prior to his political career, Zelenskyy gained international recognition and admiration during the 2022 Russia-Ukraine conflict for his leadership, attracting memes and appreciation about his bravery during the conflict.


Volodymyr Zelenskyy was born on January 25th, 1978, to Jewish parents in Ukraine.[1] He came to prominence as an actor and comedian, landing a starring role in the Love In The Big City series.[2] He also voiced Paddington Bear in the Ukrainian dubs of the Paddington films.[3] Between 2015 and 2019, Zelenskyy played the role of president of Ukraine in the TV series Servant of the People, which was widely popular in Ukraine.

Zelenskyy announced his candidacy for the 2019 Ukrainian presidential elections on the evening of December 31st, 2018, slightly after the final season of Servant of the People debuted, and won the election with 73.2 percent of the popular vote.[4] He was inaugurated on May 20th, 2019.[5]

Russia-Ukraine Conflict

During the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Zelenskyy won praise from international onlookers for his bravery. On February 25th, 2022, he rejected Western offers to get him out of the country and posted a video from Kyiv amidst the Russian invasion.[6] His defiance earned him comparisons to Winston Churchill and garnered widespread admiration from people all around the world, particularly online. On February 28th, he asked the EU to allow Ukraine to join the union.[7]

Online Presence

The emergence of Zelenskyy on the international stage amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict led social media users to create memes celebrating his bravery in late February 2022. Reddit's meme community created multiple memes dubbing Zelenskyy a Chad. For example, Redditor VorteXYZ_710 posted a meme in a post calling Zelenskyy a GigaChad, gaining over 11,000 points in /r/dankmemes.[8] User I_Respect_Ants posted a Distracted Boyfriend meme about Zelenskyy, gaining over 4,900 points (shown below, right).


Thirst Tweets

Many social media users also expressed their thirst for Zelenskyy in response to his wartime leadership through posts and memes online. For example, on February 27th, 2022, Twitter user @Salispot[9] spearheaded the conversation with a tweet reading, "BREAKING: every woman in your life now has at least a small crush on Volodymyr Zelenskyy and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it" (shown below).

Emma Salisbury ... @salisbot BREAKING: every woman in your life now has at least a small crush on Volodymyr Zelenskyy and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it 3:47 PM · Feb 27, 2022 · Twitter for Android

The tweet led to a wave of people agreeing that they found Zelenskyy attractive, as well as backlash from those who found the tweets distasteful.

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Honestly, comparing him to Churchill kind of does him a disservice. Obviously history will tell how effective he actually was as a leader, but I think at this point it's hard to deny his bravery for staying in an active war zone when he really did not have to. Even if he loses, I honestly can't think of another national leader who willingly decided to go down with the ship instead of run away to safety.


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