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My wife and I recently watched a Ukrainian comedy series. A history teacher is caught on video delivering a passionate rant about the sorry state of Ukrainian politics. The video gets posted on YouTube by his students; it goes viral; and the history teacher gets elected president of Ukraine.

The show is called The Servant of the People. (You can watch season one on Netflix; it has English subtitles). The series depicts the fight of an idealist outsider against a corrupt system run by oligarchs. Despite at times being an over-the-top comedy, the show does a great job of showing the sorry state of the Ukrainian political system and the weaknesses – and potential – of its economy. Unlike Russia, where in dictatorial fashion all the power is concentrated at the top with Putin, Ukraine has a much messier but also very corrupt democracy where the country is run and appropriated by oligarchs.

As you watch the series it is impossible not to fall in love with the history teacher turned president. You are disarmed by his idealism, his very fresh approach to the job of the president, his not wanting to be a czar but be a servant of the people. We watched the first three seasons of the show and absolutely loved it.

During season four life suddenly started to imitate art.

What started as a comedy show, in 2019 turned into a reality show. The actor who plays the history teacher, Volodymyr Zelensky, actually ran for the Ukrainian President and won 73% of the total vote!