Sophie Pinkham (Ph.D. Candidate, Dept. Slavic Languages) contributed an essay on Volodymyr Zelensky, "Ukraine's New Leading Man," to the New York Review of Books (June 27, 2019).
"Watching Servant of the People today is an eerie experience. In April Volodymyr Zelensky, the actor who plays Vasyl, was elected Ukraine’s president in a landslide, with 73 percent of the vote. The unpopular incumbent, Petro Poroshenko, who was elected in 2014 shortly after the Maidan protests that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, received just 24 percent. Zelensky’s newly founded party is called Servant of the People, and his campaign was essentially a spin-off of his show. At first it seemed like a joke: Zelensky is a professional comedian, after all, though he is also a successful businessman at the head of what has often been called a comedy empire. Like Vasyl, he has no previous political experience, though he has connections that Vasyl could never have dreamed of."