**First published on Medium
Zelenskyy — Who’s Zelenskyy?
Prior to February 24, 2022, I’ve never really heard of Volodymyr Zelenskyy. I have heard of Ukraine occasionally and mostly in the news — since it declared itself an independent country back in 1991.
Outside of these, I knew very little of the people and the history.
Oh, wait — how can I forget the infamous Chernobyl disaster of 1986? When Ukraine was then known as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
I was a young teen when it happened.
Between late 2021 through the latter part of February, I only half listened to the news about the Russia’s military build-up on the borders of Ukraine.
Life went on as normal for me. These activities and the Ukrainian people were all so very far away.
How can they impact me here?
Even when the invasion began on February 24th, I still only half-listened to the news. Like many here, we’d thought that this will only last a few days — at best.
Never mind that we have families living in my state who have immigrated from Ukraine. Never mind the fact that my own son’s best friend is an immigrant from Ukraine.
How very naïve I was.
No, I was ignorant. I’ve known a life sheltered from all the chaos and wars I only heard through the news or through others who have lived through them.
We Are Still Here
When I woke up on the morning of February 25th, a video that President Zelenskyy recorded to his people — and to the world had gone viral.
It got my attention.
Who was this man?
Here was someone who obviously cared about his people. His country.
Who was willing to risk his own life by remaining in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital.
Then he spoke the words that would forever cement his name in people’s mind.
On February 26th, as the fighting intensified, the US offered to evacuate Zelenskyy from Kyiv.
“The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride!”
The next morning, he recorded another video message to his people — and to the world:
By this time, President Zelenskyy had left such an impression on veterans worldwide — they were ready to take up arms and help Ukraine in their fight.
“This is a righteous fight.” I’ve heard several veterans say. “Finally. Something I can believe in.”
So, who was this man?
Who Is Volodymry Zelenskyy?
Zelenskyy was born to Jewish parents in Ukraine SSR January 25th, 1978. His grandfather fought for the Russian Red Army against the Germans in World War II. His great-grandfather and three great uncles were sent to concentration camps during the war where they died.
Zelenskyy studied Law in college before becoming an actor and a comedian.
I didn’t know until the other day that he was the voice of the Ukraine Paddington Bear.
Let’s talk about irony for a moment, shall we?
In 2015, he took a leading role in a television series called Servant of the People as a high school history teacher who was fed up with corrupt politicians and accidentally became the President of Ukraine.
I did a double take when I read about this.
Another irony — in 2018, a new political party called the Servant of the People Party was established. A few months later, Zelenskyy announced his candidacy to run for President. He later would win by 73%. He stood as an anti-establishment and anti-corruption figure. He also vowed to unite the Ukrainian and the Russian-speaking parts of the country. What’s interesting is that he ran his campaign mainly through social media.
He is married with two children. His family chose to also remain in Ukraine.
The Churchill of Our Time?
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky invoked British war leader Sir Winston Churchill in an emotional address to MPs, vowing to fight invading Russian troops in the air, sea and on the streets. — The Independent’s You Tube Channel
Since the start of the Russian invasion, President Zelenskyy have released many videos — with them, words that will stay with us forever (in my opinion that is).
One of my favorites:
I see the future for Zelenskyy and Ukraine as uncertain — but, I am hoping and praying that they both prevail.
As of today’s writing of this article (Day 15), the war rages on. Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine show no sign of letting up, and this has Putin frustrated and perplexed.
If democracy and freedom are to prevail against the likes of Putin, we sorely need more leaders like Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Question is — who?
Who will be courageous enough to stand as his equal?
If that person exists out there, I implore that you do this soon.
Before it is too late.