Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelensky was born on January 25, 1978, is a Ukrainian politician, former actor and comedian who has been serving as the president of Ukraine since 2019.

Volodymyr Zelensky grew up in Kryvyi Rih, a Russian-speaking region in southeast Ukraine.

Also Read | Russian aggression in Ukraine, day 2: 7 things you need to know

Prior to his acting career, Zelensky obtained a degree in law from Kyiv National Economic University. He then pursued comedy and created the production company Kvartal 95, which produces films, cartoons, and TV shows including Servant of the People, in which Zelensky played the role of president of Ukraine.

The series aired from 2015 to 2019 and was immensely popular. A political party bearing the same name as the television show was created in March 2018 by employees of Kvartal 95.

Also Read | Russia-Ukraine conflict: France to dispatch troops to Romania

Ukraine has been plagued by rampant graft, a sickly economy and a grinding, five-year war with Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country that has killed over 13,000 people.

After his apparent election in 2019, Zelensky said he would engage Russia to try to end the conflict. He also said, without giving details, that “we will make a very powerful information war” in order to stop the fighting.

Also Read | Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky warns of Russian ‘sabotage groups’ in Kyiv

He also suggested, in a remark that could grate on Russia, that his victory could be a model for other former Soviet states that want to move forward from ossified politics: “To all the countries of the former Soviet Union — look at us, everything is possible.”

Zelensky, 44, became famous nationwide for his comic portrayal in a Ukrainian TV series of a high school teacher who becomes president after a video rant against corruption goes viral.

Also Read | Russian President Vladimir Putin waves nuclear sword in confrontation with the West

In a case of life imitating television, Zelensky denounced graft as a real candidate.