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26Jun

Zelensky: A Biography by Serhii Rudenko review – from voice of Paddington to global giant

This uneven account of the Ukrainian president’s three years in power is aimed at his home market, but offers glimpses of the man behind the wartime facade

Until 24 February this year, Volodymyr Zelenskiy was a name that was not widely known outside Ukraine. True, he’d enjoyed a cameo role in the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump, when it appeared that the former American president had tried to pressure the new Ukrainian president into serving up dirt on Joe Biden’s son Hunter by allegedly blocking payment of a military aid package.

But even then, he was just another leader of Ukraine, the largest entirely European nation, no more recognisable to the general populace than any of his five predecessors – the likes of Viktor Yanukovych and Petro Poroshenko. With Vladimir Putin’s catastrophic decision to invade Ukraine, however, he suddenly became a global figurehead, an international hero, a modern David standing up to the brutal Russian Goliath.

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