Zelensky family photo makes Ukrainian president's popularity skyrocket

Bruno Cooke March 1, 2022
Zelensky family photo makes Ukrainian president's popularity skyrocket
Photo credit should read SERGEI GAPON/AFP via Getty Images

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Photos of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy have been circulating on the Reddit forum r/MadeMeSmile and on Twitter for the past three days, proving hugely popular. What do we know about the leader’s family life?

Zelensky family photos show Ukrainian president in Superman face paint with wife, son and daughter

Now three days old, a post in the subreddit r/MadeMeSmile, featuring Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy with his family, has garnered 182K upvotes and numerous Reddit awards. Scroll down to see the photo, or visit the Reddit post here.

“This is a man who knows what he’s fighting for,” reads the photo’s caption. It depicts president Zelensky wearing Superman face paint, smiling and laughing with his wife, Olena Kiyashko, and two children.

Some of those commenting on the photo of Zelensky’s family have noted how important it is for the Ukrainian president to raise his country’s morale and how this photo of the former comedian with his family has the potential to do just that. 

Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images
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Zelensky spent much of his life in the entertainment industry. In the 1990s, he joined his local KVN (a comedy competition) team and, in 1997, helped the united Ukrainian team “Zaporizhia-Kryvyi Rih-Transit” win KVN’s Major League.

As such, the importance of warming hearts isn’t lost on Volodymyr Zelensky – the family photo Redditors have taken to during the past three days has prompted many to compare him favourably with other politicians.

What do we know about president Zelensky’s family?

Born 25 January 1978 in Kryvyi Rih – then in Soviet Ukraine – Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy is 44 years old, as of March 2022. 

Zelensky married his long-term partner Olena Kiyashko – now Olena Zelenska – in September 2013. They attended school together

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His wife gave birth to their daughter Oleksandra on 15 July 2004. She will turn 18 this year. Their son, Kyrylo, was born several years later, in January 2013. Zelensky’s daughter Oleksandra played his character’s daughter in 2014 film 8 New Dates.

Two years later, she participated in the show Make the Comedian Laugh, Kids – in which she won 50,000 hryvnias.

Zelensky told Ukrainian lawmakers to hang pictures of their families in their offices

A quote from Zelensky’s 2019 inaugural address has also been doing the rounds on social media. One iteration of it, on Twitter, has garnered 620K likes since 26 February.

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The excerpt in question occurred towards the end of his inaugural speech. He started it by speaking about his son, who was six years old at the time.

“After my victory in this election,” he began, “my six-year-old son said, ‘Daddy, I was watching TV, they say Zelensky is the president. So it means I’m the president too, right?’

“At the moment it sounded like a child’s joke but later I understood it was the truth, because every one of us is the president now. It’s our common victory. And it’s our common chance for which we take shared responsibility.”

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Bruno Cooke has been a freelance journalist since 2019, primarily with GRV Media. He was an early contributor to The Focus, and has written for HITC, Groundviews and the Sheffield University newspaper – he earned his MA in Global Journalism there in 2021. He’s the Spoken Word Poetry Editor for The Friday Poem, and self-published his debut novel Reveries in 2019, which his mum called both a “fine read” and “excellent Christmas present”. Bruno has lived in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and likes, among other things: bicycle touring, black and white Japanese films, pub quizzes, fermentation and baklava. In 2023, Bruno will set off with his partner on a round-the-world cycle.