Wednesday, September 28

‘Servant of the people’, the prophetic series that brought Zelenski to power


Volodomir Zelenski, in a still from ‘Servidor del pueblo’, the series that Telecinco premieres today. / rc

Telecinco tests in ‘prime time’ the fiction that tells the story of a teacher who becomes the presidency of Ukraine

J. MORENO Madrid

In the series, Volodomir Zelensky went from teaching to the presidency of Ukraine under the commitment of political regeneration. In reality, the country’s top leader jumped from comedy to the Mariyinski Palace in kyiv to become the main protagonist of one of the worst war conflicts in recent history. The fictional plot that catapulted the actor to fame shares a parallel with real life that not even the best screenwriters could imagine. ‘Servidor del pueblo’ changed the future of a comedian turned mass leader who took advantage of the small screen to excite an unmotivated citizenry.

Telecinco premieres this Thursday (10:00 p.m.) the first two episodes of this prophetic comedy that brought Zelenski to power. It tells the story of Vasyl Goloborodko, a high school history teacher who delivers a fiery speech against political corruption and the Ukrainian government. The character, without realizing it, is secretly recorded by one of his students, in a video that is shared on social networks. The unknown teacher goes viral and, overnight, has a citizen mobilization in favor of him. They see him as a simple man who lives like the others.

The support of the electorate, together with the good relationship that the protagonist maintains with the media, leads him to the presidency of Ukraine. Goloborodko, under the pressure and responsibility of the position, maintains his fiery messages about truth and honesty that make him completely opposed to his predecessor’s way of governing. However, the fiction recreates how the first president of the country must face the expectations placed on him and also how the professor has no interest in changing his life. He wants to remain the same person, the one who lives with his parents in an apartment and the one who rides his bike to work.

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The series will be accompanied by several reports, introduced by the journalist Pedro Piqueras, to give context

The Ukrainian fiction, which arrives in Spain through Mediaset –Netflix recovered it for its catalog in the United States in full swing of the figure of Zelenski–, premiered on November 16, 2015 on channel 1+1 as a political comedy which lasted three seasons and 51 chapters. It was created and produced by the actor himself through the production company Kvartal 95 and served as a springboard for his presidential career. Those responsible for the production published the series, free of charge, on YouTube and ‘Servidor del pueblo’ became a success that reached the big screen in 2016 as a prelude to the second season.

It is not surprising that fiction managed to penetrate the idiosyncrasies of the Ukrainian people through criticism and irony. Its parallelism with the local and international reality of the country made it a prelude to what happened years later. In ‘Servant of the People’, Zelensky himself mistakenly receives a call from former German Chancellor Angela Merkel to inform him of Ukraine’s entry into the European Union, but the politician actually wanted to speak to the president of Montenegro to inform him of the news. He even jokes about the overthrow of Vladimir Putin.

In fact, the Russian channel TNT suspended its broadcast after only offering three episodes. A joke by Zelensky about Putin did not sit well in the country, which they considered an insult. In one of the scenes, the protagonist of the fiction wants to buy a luxury watch to look like other international political leaders. And he asks about the one used by Russia’s top leader. They tell him that he wears the Swiss brand Hublot. “Putin, Hublot?” replies the actor. The phonetic resemblance to ‘Putin juyló’ (the Spanish translation is ‘Putin is a cocoon’), the song that they popularized against the Russian president after entering southeastern Ukraine, was branded as a provocation.

presidential race

The success of the production led Zelensky to enter the Ukrainian political arena. On March 31, 2018, he registered with the Ministry of Justice the name of Servant of the People, a new political party that shared a title with the popular fiction. In the elections, he defeated who was then the country’s leader, Petro Poroshenko, and swept the second round of the presidential elections with 73% of the vote, the largest electoral victory in the history of Ukraine since its independence from the Union. Soviet.

The fiction, made up of 51 chapters, was suspended in Russia after the broadcast of three episodes

Now, Telecinco takes advantage of the pull of the figure of Zelenski with the broadcast in Spain of the series accompanied by reports, introduced by the journalist Pedro Piqueras, that contextualize the success of this comedy. “An audiovisual document that, despite being fiction, allows us to know the origin of the political career of the Ukrainian president, who has taken on an important role in international news,” they explain from Mediaset. In this way, the group takes advantage of Holy Week (a period when consumption is lower and competition is less fierce) to try an atypical product of Spanish ‘prime time’, unaccustomed to fictions that are so local and different from our culture.


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