Before becoming the public face and voice of a Russian-occupied country, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was a comedian and actor. Among the projects he starred in was a series called servant of the people, a political satire in which he actually played the President of Ukraine. The 23-episode inaugural season of the series is available now on Netflix.
In the series, Zelenskyi’s character, Vasyl Petrovych, is a regular high school history teacher until a viral video ranting about the government wins him the presidency. Zelenskyy himself then had his own meteoric rise through politics, being elected president in 2019 — the same year the streak ended.
servant of the peoples first season debuted in 2015. The show ran for three seasons and was met with universal success and acclaim. While the show was certainly popular in its day, it has become even more popular around the world as Zelenskyy has become the leading public figurehead of Ukraine’s resistance to the Russian invasion.
Because the premise of the show so closely mirrored real life, GIFs and clips from it quickly appeared online. Social media users have shared moments from the show that they think are particularly funny, tongue-in-cheek, or even just relevant to the invasion. Despite the proliferation of memes and references, the show itself wasn’t widely viewed in most countries, especially the US, until recently. Now that Netflix has the rights, servant of the peoplee is available to all US subscribers.