Volodymyr Zelenskyy (born 25 January 1978) is the first elected politician anywhere who can play the piano with his penis, an ability he shared with Ukraine and later with the world. Originally known in his country for play-acting a president, the evidently irony-free people of Ukraine elected him the actual president in 2019. His best political friends are ... no one, until a certain Russian invaded his country in February 2022.
Multitalented or a mess
When Volodymyr Zelenskyy was born, the USSR was still a country that included (officially) what was then called "The Ukraine". This suggested there were other countries with the same name like A Ukraine, If Ukraine and Or Ukraine. Except for a short period after World War One, Ukrainians rarely stood around together enough to create their own state. However, in 1991, the USSR fell down. Ukraine declared its independence from Moscow and a new state, the biggest in Europe if one discounts Russia. Zelenskyy was still at school. Imagine going to bed in one country and waking up in another without moving. That's what happened to Zelenskyy.
It seems Zelenskyy was never quite sure what he really wanted to do. So he tried everything. Zelenskyy showed talent. He thought he could do everything and did. Like playing the piano with his penis. Since he also came from a Jewish background, make that a double-first.
No one or no country likes to be a "piggy in the middle" between two power blocs. On one side is Russia, which has a problem seeing the Ukrainians as anything other than rather slow Russians with their own regional twang. On the other side is the European Union, offering a large bunk bed for Ukraine if they come over to their side. In addition, the USA also favoured them joining NATO. For Russian president Vladimir Putin, that was a series of bridges too far. Ukraine was where "Russia" started, the first recognisable capital when Kiev accepted Christianity around 987, from the Byzantine Empire under a whole 'nother Vladimir. Also, Crimea.
Therefore, a regular struggle broke out between Ukraine and Russia for EU political factions. One anti-Russian president (Viktor Yushchenko) was poisoned to destroy his looks whilst another president (Viktor Yanukovych) fled the country for being too cozy with Putin. In all this, another Ukrainian politician and former prime minister and presidential candidate (Yulia Tymoshenko, a Princess-Leia lookalike) ended up in prison. With this chaos, Russia invaded eastern Ukraine to protect fellow Russkies from a threat by an extreme (if vocal) section of Ukrainian nationalists and then engineered a referendum in Crimea to annex that province.
So if you wanted chaos, you had it. Everything else had been tried before. Why not give a clown a chance? The Ukrainians did just that, by 70% of the votes in May 2019 — they elected Volodymyr Zelenskyy. An entertainer, funny man and jokester. Welcome to the new global political norm.
Clowns, corruption and Rudi
Enter the Clowns, if not The Dragon. A story about Bidens. Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden. Both filling their pockets. Legally or illegally? The Eastern European standards post the Soviet Union about taking commissions for not doing a lot or knowing nothing. However, Mr Kettle, meet Mr Pot. Then add in some 'experts' and Rudi Giuliani looking for The Snark. In a barn somewhere in Ukraine, there is a machine. It's a server and it has all of Hillary Clinton's emails. Check every cowshed!
To President Zelenskyy, this was like one of his comedy shows before he got to power. What did the Americans want? Yes, he was happy to stay in a Trump Hotel. Hell, they could have one in Kyiv. Take a phone call. Who's on the line? Donald. Oh ... Donald Trump. He says he has everything we have requested in containers but ... we need help. The combination to open then relies on the magic phrase: Open A Corruption Enquiry on Joe and Hunter Biden. Lock Them Up!
Can we talk? Can I come over to New York? Yes. Okay. Okay. I think Rudi has jumped The Snark.
So a country that few Americans could find on a map or a man no one had heard of outside his own country had now become the eye of the storm. Zelenskyy expected Trump to be ousted after the impeachment trial but was dismayed to see that fail. What would be Trump's revenge on his country? Would the Russians be in Kyiv in a week? For a year, Zelenskyy lived like a man on the edge of disaster. It was only averted when Trump finally left office in January 2021.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 changed Zelenskyy's fortunes. Now Putin wants his head, or failing that, his balls. Trump will hope his friend will find evidence about Joe Biden's secret bank account in Kyiv.
Zelensky will be Time Magazine's Muscled Man T-shirt of the year - 2022.
The Ukrainian leader is still in command of his country. He has an inexhaustible supply of muscle-man T-shirts, all in khaki. Vladimir Putin no longer rides around shirtless. The battlefield is machismo.