Zelenskyy’s party is welcomed by ALDE

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We have all found a new hero over the last week: Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine.

I must admit that I knew very little about him, or indeed the history of Ukraine, until this week, but his story is a fascinating one. Zelenskyy worked as an actor and comedian, and he voiced Paddington Bear in the Ukrainian-dubbed version of the film.

He formed a production company Kvartal 95 which launched a popular comedy TV series called “Servant of the People”. In the series he plays a teacher who is unexpectedly elected as the President of Ukraine. Watch a prescient subtitled episode here. (You couldn’t make it up …)

Ukraine has dozens of active political parties, so its Governments are always multi-party coalitions. In 2018 a new political party was registered; it grew from the Party of Decisive Change and was named Servant of the People (sometimes romanized as Sluha Narodu), after the show. Indeed, its first leader was the CEO of Zelenskyy’s production company Kvartal 95.

Then came the Presidential election in 2019. In the final run-off Zelenskyy, standing for Servant of the People, beat the incumbent with over 70% of the vote. He immediately called a general election and the party was successful in winning a substantial number – 254 – parliamentary seats. This was followed by the 2020 local elections when Servant of the People won more seats than any other party.

It was an extraordinary rise of a new voice in Ukrainian politics. And … it is a liberal one. In fact, on Monday Servant of the People became an affiliate of ALDE (the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) the International party which includes us Liberal Democrats.

Ukraine is a country which has emerged from Russian domination to become a peaceful, liberal and democratic nation.

What can we say? What can we do that will have any impact at all on the unfolding horror, as Russia once again is threatening its autonomy?

Tom Arms has some practical suggestions here.

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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  • Helen Dudden 2nd Mar '22 - 10:59am

    A man of integrity and honesty, willing to protect freedom and democracy. I also hear that Ukraine is to join the EU?
    I hope that the subject of dirty money will be investigated within the Parliament. Something is never for nothing.
    Finally, I wish Ukraine peace in our time. My sympathy to all those who suffer.

  • Helen Dudden 2nd Mar '22 - 11:01am

    That dirty money is investigated within our Parliament. I wish to make that point clear.

  • Zelensky also won the Ukrainian version of Strictly Come Dancing. Now that is talented.

  • Helen Dudden 3rd Mar '22 - 9:09am

    He is also a Jew, has family that knew the Holocaust. But then, those countries did.

  • David Garlick 3rd Mar '22 - 10:21am

    Thank you for this action.

  • William Wallace 3rd Mar '22 - 11:03am

    He’s also shown that it IS possible for a comedian to transform himself into a serous politician and leader. How sad that our current comedian PM has not been able to do so.

  • Helen Dudden 3rd Mar '22 - 11:13am

    Johnson, is still a clown that gets away with things, in the private sector he would have been sacked, again. Its only being an MP where anything goes, he is unstoppable.

  • Barry Lofty 3rd Mar '22 - 12:32pm

    It would be a travesty if the terrible events in Ukraine enabled Boris Johnson and some of his colleagues to escape the repercussions of their actions here at home during the last few years.

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