What’s the difference between playing a president on screen and being one in real life? Not much, according to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the man who’s done both. “It’s very similar,” he says, his compact frame engulfed by a green leather armchair in his opulent presidential office. Then he changes his mind: in fact, the real job lasts a whole five years, and comes with far greater challenges than can fit into one season of a television show. “It’s true there are more problems. They are catastrophic. They appear, I’m sorry to say, like pimples on an 18-year-old kid. You don’t know where they will pop up, or when.” The 42-year-old speaks in his native Russian, his expressive face switching from boyish amusement to tortured concern in a flash. The latest problem is coronavirus. Angry villagers, scared their hospital is hosting returnees from China, have attacked the buses transporting them. The day before we meet, Zelenskiy dispatched his health minister to join the evacuees in quarantine, as proof they pose no danger. “It was her choice, but I suggested it,” he says, chuckling in a way that implies he gave her little alternative. It is exactly the kind of impetuous decision… Read full this story
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