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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. He came to prominence as an actor and comedian, landing a starring role in the Love In The Big City series. He also voiced Paddington Bear in the Ukrainian dubs of the Paddington films. 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. He was inaugurated on May 20th, 2019.
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. 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.
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. User I_Respect_Ants posted a Distracted Boyfriend meme about Zelenskyy, gaining over 4,900 points (shown below, right).
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 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).
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.
 New York Times – Ukraine’s Newly Elected President Is Jewish. So Is Its Prime Minister. Not All Jews There Are Pleased.
 IMDb – No Love In The Big City
 The Guardian – How Funny Is The Next Ukrainian President
 Independent – Ukraine election Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy wins 73% of vote, exit poll suggests
 Washington Post – U.S. stands ready to evacuate Zelensky, Russia’s ‘target No. 1’
 AP – Zelenskyy’s unlikely journey, from comedy to wartime leader
 Politico – Zelenskyy urges EU to grant Ukraine ‘immediate membership’
 Reddit – /r/dankmemes
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Mar 02, 2022 at 09:37PM EST
Mar 03, 2022 at 05:28AM EST
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