Trump says he was looking for corruption in Ukraine — where President Zelensky was known for mocking corruption in Ukraine

15 Nov 2019

(Monkey Cage) The public impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives that started Wednesday focus on interactions between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Trump and Zelensky are both showmen. Many Americans became familiar with Donald Trump in the reality show “The Apprentice.” RSimilarly, long before Zelensky became president in a landslide election, and more than a decade before he played one on television in “Servant of the People,” millions of Ukrainians knew Zelensky as the leader of comedy troupe Kvartal 95.

Zelensky’s career as a showman reveals Ukrainians’ shared sense of moral values, frustration with politicians’ corruption and national solidarity in the face of Russia’s politics of division. I’ll explain below.

Zelensky emphasized shared values

Trained as a lawyer, Zelensky made his name in the Russian-speaking world through competitive improvisational comedy, on a team from the industrial city of Kryvyi Rih in southeastern Ukraine. Zelensky was known for his loyalty: For more than two decades, he worked with the same group. When an offer came in the early 2000s to work for an improv troupe in Moscow, Zelensky turned it down. Such a move, he said, “would have been a betrayal.” [...]

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