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Volodymyr Zelensky: Comedian sworn in as Ukrainian president



 Volodymyr Zelensky, taking oath, 20 May 19

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Volodymyr Zelensky stormed to landslide victory in last month's presidential election
                

Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelensky has been sworn in as the country's new president at a ceremony in the capital Kiev.

Mr Zelensky, who has no previous political experience, scored a landslide victory in last month's presidential election.

He ousted incumbent Petro Poroshenko who had been in power since 201

4.

Mr. Zelensky has promised to tackle corruption and bring an end to the war with Russian-backed rebels in the east.

The former television actor has said little since his resounding victory on April 21.

  • What will Zelensky's win mean?
  • The TV box set may predict the future

At the ceremony, Mr. Zelensky was given golden symbols of office, including a scepter, which he

Mr. Zelensky is delivering his inaugural addr.

Mr. Zelensky is delivering his inaugural addr. ess in Ukrainian.

But at one point, referring to the conflict in the east, he switched to Russian, saying: "I'm convinced that this dialogue to start, we must see the return of all Ukrainian prisoners" – apparently a message to the Russian government.

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

Volodymyr Zelensky turned fiction into fact – he had acted the part of president in a comedy series
                

There has been much political wrangling over the timing of Mr Zelensky's inauguration. He had wanted to hold it on Sunday, a day of mourning for victims of Stalin-era repression in the country.

But parliament disagreed and voted to hold it on Monday morning.

From fiction to reality

Analysis by Jonah Fisher, BBC News, Kiev

Voldymyr Zelensky has done this all before – both in a TV series, where he played the part of Ukraine's president

At that fictional inauguration he arrived in a taxi and , in his speech, refused to make bold promises. Instead, he pleaded to his people for Ukraine

On Monday it's happening for real.

Mr. Zelensky is unlikely to turn up for this inauguration in a taxi but he has – via a video on social media – already apologized to the people of Kiev for the traffic congestion the event is likely

No one is quite sure what his inaugural speech will contain.

During the month since winning the election Mr. Zelensky has given no press conferences or interviews. He has left it to a team of advisers to try and reassure people that knows what he's doing

Who is Volodymyr Zelensky?

Mr. Zelensky starred in the long-running satirical drama Servant of the People in his character accidentally becomes Ukraine's president

He plays a teacher who is elected after his expletive-laden rant about corruption goes viral on social media.

He ran under a political party with the same name as his show. no previous political experience, Mr Zelensky's campaign focused on his difference from other candidates than any concrete policy ideas.

Volodymyr Zelensky

 19659039] EPA </p>
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<div data-graphictext= Volodymyr Zelensky

  • Comedian but trained as a lawyer

  • Instagram star with 4.2m followers

  • Millionaire thanks to his production company Kvartal 95

  • Linked [EtaligarchIhorKolomoiskythroughTVchannel1+1

Source: Ukrainian and international media

What challenges will he face?

Mr. Zelensky is likely to be confronted with a range of serious issues once he takes office.

He made tackling Ukraine's deep-rooted corruption a major campaign theme. Last month, his aides announced plans to scrap MPs' immunity from prosecution and make military purchases more transparent.

But perhaps the biggest challenges the new leader will face is the continuing conflict with Russian-backed forces in the east. In the run-up to his election, Mr. Zelensky said he wanted to "renew relations" with eastern Ukraine and started "powerful information war to end the conflict".

Fighting in the region has claimed about 13,000 lives since Moscow annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in 2014.

There is already indications that Russian President Vladimir Putin is determined to test the political novice

Shortly after the election, Mr Putin made it easier for those living in eastern Ukraine's separatist territories to obtain a Russian passport. The move was seen as a challenge to Mr Zelensky.

In a Facebook post in response, Mr Zelensky's team labeled Russia "an aggressor state which wages against Ukraine"

It called on the international community to provide " diplomatic pressure and the pressure of sanctions ".


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