Biography of Vladimir Zelensky
Vladimir Aleksandrovich Zelensky is a Ukrainian comedian who started his career with KVN, a frequent guest of entertainment shows, TV presenter and actor. In 2019, the multifaceted artist announced his desire to run for the presidency of Ukraine. According to the results of the second round of elections, Zelensky won by a wide margin over Petro Poroshenko.
Childhood and family
Vladimir was born on January 25, 1978 in the Dnepropetrovsk city of Krivoy Rog. Here, in the residential area of YuGOK, he spent the first 4 years of his life, after which his father, professor of cybernetics Alexander Semenovich Zelensky, was assigned to Mongolia. His wife, Rimma Vladimirovna, followed him with her son.
Vladimir Zelensky in childhood
Vova went to the first grade in Mongolia – at the age of 8, according to local rules. The flexible mind of the boy quickly mastered the Mongolian language, but upon returning to his homeland without proper practice, he was forgotten, unlike the wonderful memories of life in Mongolia, its hills, fields of peonies and tulips.
As a child, Vova Zelensky lived for some time in Mongolia
Returning to Ukraine, the family settled in a quarter called by the inhabitants of Krivoy Rog “Anthill”. Zelensky was a capable student and class leader, excelling in all subjects, but still had a penchant for the humanities. After school, he went in for weightlifting and basketball, studied English diligently, was fond of ballroom dancing for a while, and attended a theater group. Music also succumbed to him – the boy mastered the piano and guitar. Vova was always in the spotlight, participated in any amateur performances, brought a heap of medals, diplomas and new friends from trips to children’s camps.
Vladimir Zelensky in his youth
According to Volodymyr, he grew up in an “interplanetary state”: he found the times of the USSR, pioneer detachments and red ties, and the collapse of the Union, and graduation classes fell on the days of independent Ukraine.
Zelensky’s classmate and best friend was Denis Manzhosov, a future comedian colleague from Kvartal 95. In high school, they joined the theater of miniatures “Homeless Child” together. Alexander Pikalov and Vladimir’s future wife Elena Kiyashko studied at the same school.
Denis Manzhosov and Vladimir Zelensky in their youth
After school, Vladimir and Denis entered the law faculty of the Krivoy Rog branch of the Kiev Economic University. From the first months of his studies, Zelensky helped compose numbers for the Zaporozhye-Kryvyi Rih-Transit KVN team, and then he himself joined its ranks. After the championship in the Higher League of KVN in 1997, Zelensky and Manzhosov created their own KVN team. Since they graduated from gymnasium No. 95 in 1995, and the school was located in the 95th quarter, the name of the team was born by itself. Volodya was the author of most of the numbers and the captain.
Members of the KVN team “95th quarter” in their youth
After the debut at the festival in Sochi in 1998, Alexander Maslyakov drew attention to the promising team. “95th Quarter” received a pass to the Major League, but after a series of failures, it was “downgraded” to the Ukrainian League. In 2001, the guys became the winners of the national league, and also won second place at the “Voicing KiVin”, and not least thanks to the number “A Man Born to Dance”, authored by Vladimir.
After winning the national league, the team got into the Higher League, and the following year reached its semi-finals. Unable to surpass or at least repeat the achievement in 2003, the participants decided to disband the “Quarter”. There is also an opinion that the reason for the departure of KVN workers was a serious conflict with Maslyakov’s company. Later, in an interview, Zelensky said that Maslyakov sets tough conditions for the players – while you are professionally performing in KVN, you do not have the right to appear in other programs, act in films, etc. At the same time, the fees of the artists left much to be desired.
– We, in fact, were the property of Maslyakov’s studio AMiK and, apart from the game, we had no right to anything.
After the termination of cooperation with Masyalkov Zelensky, his comrades became interested in Ukrainian television. Channel “1 + 1” offered the guys cooperation. Soon, instead of the KVN team, a company for the production of entertainment programs “Studio Kvartal-95” appeared. Zelensky became one of its directors.
In 2005, under the auspices of the studio, the satirical program “Evening Quarter” was created. At first it was broadcast by the 1 + 1 channel, and then by the Inter channel. Its main ideologist, leading actor and author was Vladimir Zelensky, and his colleagues were former comrades in KVN: Manzhosov (after a conflict with Zelensky in 2013, he left the studio), Pikalov, Koshevoy, Kravets, Krapov, Kazanin and others. The actors parodied famous politicians and artists of Ukraine and Russia. At various times, Zelensky tried on the images of Viktor Yushchenko, Andrei Malakhov, Larisa Guzeeva, himself and many other celebrities.
Other super-successful projects of Studio Kvartal 95 include the humorous show Laugh the Comedian (2011), on the jury of which Zelensky sat together with Mikhail Galustyan, and then with Yevgeny Koshev, as well as the program League of Laughter (2014), in many ways created in the image and likeness of KVN.
Also in 2008, the first season of the TV series “Matchmakers” was released. Zelensky is the main producer of this multi-season epic about how two pairs of grandparents with diametrically opposed views on life are fighting for the attention and love of their only granddaughter. The ratings of the first season broke all records, and over the next 4 years, another 5 seasons saw the light, the feature film “New Year’s Matchmakers”, the cartoon “Svatiki”, the culinary TV show “Matchmakers at the Stove” and a spin-off about Mityai, the hero of Nikolai Dobrynin. The series was shown in 10 countries of the world and became, without exaggeration, the most successful Ukrainian TV project.
“Matchmakers” – a good family comedy
The seventh season of the series was supposed to be released, but due to the aggravated relations between Ukraine and Russia, the shooting was frozen. Next, the series “Matchmakers” itself was banned in Ukraine. This is because the main actor of the project, Fyodor Dobronravov, was convicted of visiting the annexed Crimea.
Zelensky’s company produces not only series and entertainment shows, but also feature films. It was the 95th Quarter Studio that shot the romantic trilogy Love in the Big City with Vera Brezhneva. Zelensky himself also starred in this series of films – he plays one of three friends who decide to find true love. His hero’s friends were played by Ville Haapasalo and Alexei Chadov.
Shot from the film “Love in the big city-3”
“8 First Dates” is a trilogy of romantic sense, somewhat reminiscent of “Groundhog Day”, filmed by Zelensky’s studio. And again, Vladimir played the main male role – the veterinarian Nikita, and Oksana Akinshina became his partner.
Vladimir Zelensky in the film “8 First Dates”
In addition, Zelensky co-authored the script for the remake of the film “Office Romance” with Svetlana Khodchenkova in the role of “mymra”, and played her lover Anatoly Novoseltsev. Alas, the film by Sarik Andreasyan did not stand up to comparison with the original by Eldar Ryazanov, but this is hardly Vladimir’s fault.
“Love affair at work. Our time”: Vladimir Zelensky and Svetlana Khodchenkova
The film “Rzhevsky against Napoleon”, where Pavel Derevyanko was added to the tandem of Khodchenkova and Zelensky, received devastating reviews from critics.
Zelensky as Napoleon
In 2011, the TV presenter and producer took part in the first season of the Dancing with the Stars show, paired with Alena Shoptenko.
In 2013, Vladimir hosted the musical show “I Want V Via Gru”, the prize in which was a contract with Konstantin Meladze.
Being a person from show business, and also having relatives in Russia (close relatives of his wife are Muscovites), Vladimir tries not to succumb to influence from any of the parties to the conflict, although in 2014 he supported the Maidan and financed the Donbass battalion. Now he is sure of one thing for sure – military operations in the Donbass must be stopped, since human lives are a priority. And after the ceasefire, Zelensky believes, it is necessary to initiate negotiations with the Kremlin.
Russian politicians often became the object of his parodies.
Volodymyr opposed the ban on Russian artists from entering Ukraine.
In 2014, Zelensky was attacked in the center of Kiev, and only the intervention of a passerby saved him from more serious injuries than bruises. The attackers were wearing masks. Later, someone set fire to Vladimir’s car.
Personal life of Vladimir Zelensky
Elena Kiyashko studied at gymnasium No. 95 in a class parallel to Vladimir. But the acquaintance began when Zelensky was in his first year. He saw her on the street and thought for a long time how to approach and strike up a conversation. Noticing the cassette of Basic Instinct in her hands, he plucked up the courage to ask her to watch it. So in his hands was the coveted phone number.
Vladimir Zelensky and his wife Elena
At that time, the girl was studying to be an architect at a construction university and met with another young man. Vladimir fought for her heart for a long time and eventually won. He conquered her with his decency, sense of humor and intelligence. Very soon, Elena plunged into the world of her chosen KVN and became one of the authors of his team.
Elena and Vladimir Zelensky in their youth
In 2003, after seven years of relationship, young people sealed the union at the official level.
Wedding of Vladimir Zelensky
In 2008, a replenishment appeared in the family – daughter Sasha. And in early 2013, her brother Kirill was born.
Vladimir considers a courageous act of any man – responsibility for his family. The wife and children do not see their beloved husband and dad at home as often as they would like, but for Zelensky, his family is the most important thing in the world.
Vladimir Zelensky now
On January 1, 2019, Volodymyr Zelensky announced that he would run for president of Ukraine in the March elections. He is running as a candidate from the Servant of the People party. It was also the name of the series released in 2015 with Vladimir in the title role. According to its plot, the main character, an ordinary history teacher, in which the average viewer will certainly see himself, becomes president and tries to change the life of the country for the better. But on the way to a bright future, he will have to face the resistance of a corrupt system. The slogan of the series – “The Story of the Next President” – turned out to be prophetic. According to the results of the first round of elections, held on March 31, 2019, Zelensky was more than twice ahead of the incumbent President Petro Poroshenko. However, he failed to get more than 50% of the votes, which means that the second round of elections will take place in Ukraine. Zelensky agreed to debate with Poroshenko in a stadium format.
The second round of elections was held on 21 April. Already from the exit polls, it became clear that Vladimir Zelensky is leading the presidential race with an almost three-fold lead. Petro Poroshenko congratulated his opponent on his victory without waiting for the official results.
On May 20, Zelensky was inaugurated, after which the new president dissolved the Verkhovna Rada, suggested that the government resign and asked officials not to hang his portrait in his office. “The president is not an idol, and his portrait is not an icon,” he added. Two months later, parliamentary elections were held, as a result of which Zelensky’s Servant of the People party won 124 seats in the Duma, with 43.16% of the vote.
An important act of the president was the exchange of Russian citizens captured by Ukraine for Ukrainian citizens imprisoned in Russia. The exchange took place according to the formula “35 for 35”. Unlike Vladimir Putin, Zelensky personally met those who returned to their homeland at the gangway of the plane.
Zelensky welcomes liberated citizens of Ukraine
At the beginning of 2023, Volodymyr Zelensky decided to stop broadcasting three Ukrainian TV channels – 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK. The blocking of these sources of information was the result of sanctions against enterprises. The measures also restricted the trading operations of media holdings, canceled media licenses and introduced other economic restrictions for a period of 5 years, according to rbc.ru.
On February 3, in response to the measures taken by the president, a member of the Verkhovna Rada from the Opposition Platform – For Life party, Vadim Rabinovich, promised to “initiate the impeachment procedure for President Zelensky.”