When Zelensky hosted the Russian New Year’s gala

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War in UkraineWhen Zelensky hosted the Russian New Year’s gala

Before becoming President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky was a comedian popular with Russian audiences.

In 2013, Zelensky was responsible for hosting the pompous New Year’s gala on Russian television.

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In Ukraine, the transition to 2023 was made under the bombs last Sunday. Russian strikes which occurred shortly after midnight in particular left several dead and dozens injured. “(The Russians) are losing, reacted immediately Volodymyr Zelensky. Drones, missiles and everything else won’t help them. Because we are together”.

“They won’t take a single year away from Ukraine, they won’t take away our independence,” continued the Ukrainian president. We won’t give them anything. We respond to every Russian strike (…) on all our cities and communities.”

Conflict was also on the menu speech by Vladimir Putin for the new Year. The Russian president, for his part, spoke of a year 2022 full of “decisive and important events” which “lay the foundations (…) for our true independence”. “That is what we are fighting for today, protecting our people in our own historical territories, in the new constituent entities of Russia,” he added in reference. to the annexed Ukrainian territories.

For the New Year, Vladimir Putin spoke alongside freshly decorated soldiers.  But some have since been accused of being extras.

For the New Year, Vladimir Putin spoke alongside freshly decorated soldiers. But some have since been accused of being extras.

DR

“immigrant worker”

While today everything opposes the two heads of state, it has not always been so. Before to begin his political career, Volodymyr Zelensky was indeed a humorist appreciated by the Russian public. In 2013, the ex-comedian was even responsible for hosting the pompous New Year’s Eve gala on Russian television.

German journalist and former Moscow correspondent Julian Hans unearthed the footage. We see the current Ukrainian president sometimes singing, sometimes making jokes in front of a visibly won over audience. During the show, he is ironic in particular about his status as an “immigrant worker”.

“There is no doubt that he has earned a good living thanks to the money that the Kremlin pours into the entertainment industry to keep the people in a good mood”, comments on Twitter Julian Hans.

But comedian Zelensky’s ties with Russian audiences changed dramatically a year later, in 2014, when annexation of Crimea by Russia. Moscow then accused the former actor of having first financially supported the Ukrainian pro-European revolutions, named Euromaidan, then the Ukrainian army in its fight against the separatists supported by the Kremlin.

In 2015, Volodymyr Zelensky became the main actor in the series “Servant of the People”, where he plays a high school teacher who unexpectedly becomes President of Ukraine. He would make his political debut a year later by launching a party of the same name, before finally being elected president in 2019.

“harmless parodies”

In his analysis of the 2013 gala, journalist Julian Hans notes the presence of several personalities whose relations with Russia have also changed profoundly. After an introduction by Vladimir Soloviev, chief Kremlin propagandist, we can notably see the Russian humorist Maxime Galkine enter the scene alongside Zelensky. “Galkine’s specialty was harmless parodies, always within the framework of what the Kremlin authorizes as criticism”, details Julian Hans.

Married to Russian singing star Alla Pugatschowa, he went into exile with his wife in Israel after Maxime Galkine took a stand against the war in Ukraine. Considered a “foreign agent” by Moscow, he has since toured the Baltic countries, Israel and the United States where he is appreciated for his parodies of Russian propagandists.

Maxime Galkine has since gone into exile in Israel with his wife.

Maxime Galkine has since gone into exile in Israel with his wife.

DR

Julian Hans also presents Oleg Gasmanov, a singer who took the diametrically opposite direction by being announced as the headliner for the celebrations of the annexation of the Ukrainian territories of Izium and Kherson. He is now on the list of Russian personalities sanctioned by the European Union.

Ukrainian artist Ani Lorak was also present at this gala. She for her part was sanctioned by kyiv for her silence on the subject of the war in her country.

We can also see in the images the Ukrainian rapper Oleksii Potapenko, who in February called on the Russian people to take a stand against the war, or the Russian tenor Nikolai Baskov, close to the Kremlin and appearing on the list of American sanctions.

When Zelensky hosted the Russian New Year’s gala