Image: Kvartal 95/Netflix
Here’s where all those Volodymyr Zelenskyy clips and memes are coming from
Before Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was the public face and voice of a country under invasion by Russia, he was a comedian and actor. Among the projects he starred in was a series called Servant of the People, a political satire where he actually played the president of Ukraine. The series’ 23-episode opening season is now available on Netflix.
In the series, Zelenskyy’s character, Vasyl Petrovych, is a regular high-school history teacher until a viral video of him ranting about the government lands him the presidency. Zelenskyy himself then had his own meteoric rise through politics, and was elected president in 2019 — the same year the series ended.
Servant of the People’s first season debuted in 2015. The show ran for three seasons and was met with general success and acclaim. While the show was certainly popular in its time, it’s grown even more popular around the world as Zelenskyy has emerged as the leading public figurehead of Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion.
Since the show’s premise so closely mirrored real life, gifs and clips from it quickly began popping up online. Social-media users have shared moments from the show they feel are particularly funny, ironic, or even just relevant to the invasion. In spite of the proliferation of memes and references, the show itself wasn’t widely available in most countries until recently, and especially not in the US. Now that Netflix has the rights, Servant of the People is available to all US subscribers.