What does Zelensky’s victory mean for relations with Russia?

By Jamila Mammadova

Over the weekend, Ukraine elected a new president – the sharp but politically inexperienced comedian Volodymyr Zelensky. In the end his victory was no great surprise, given the polls had given him an overwhelming lead against the incumbent, Petro Poroshenko.

Zelensky’s strongest card against both Poroshenko and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko was the fact that he had never taken money from the Ukrainian state. The fact that his comedic projects have been financed through Russia’s state budget was largely ignored, not only by the majority of voters but also by Western observers. As was the fact that his popularity stemmed from 16 years appearing on a TV channel owned by Ihor Kolomoysky, Ukraine’s most politically savvy billionaire businessman.


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