Ukrainian president’s satirical TV series now streaming on Czech Netflix

The man who has rallied Ukraine to stand up to Russia’s invasion began his career as a stand-up comic and actor.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 17.03.2022 16:43:00 (updated on 17.03.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Due to popular worldwide demand, Netflix is once again streaming “Servant of the People,” a satirical comedy series that helped to launch the political career of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The first season of the series is available in the Czech Republic with English subtitles.

Zelensky is not only the star but also the creator and producer. The satire follows the exploits of a secondary school teacher who unexpectedly is elected president after a video of him condemning corruption goes viral. The series ran for three seasons, spread between 2015 and 2019. Production on the series stopped when Zelensky began his political career. There is also a feature film spin-off called “Servant of the People 2.”

Trailer for the feature film spin-off 'Servant of the People 2'

In 2018, a party named after the series was officially registered. Zelensky was elected president in a runoff election in April 2019 with 70 percent of the vote.

Zelensky’s acting career goes back to 2005 when he appeared in a TV adaptation of “The Three Musketeers.” He played Napoleon in the 2012 film “Corporal vs. Napoleon,” and starred in a series of romantic comedies: “8 First Dates,” 8 New Dates,” and “8 Best Dates.” He also did the local dubbing for the talking bear in “Paddington” and “Paddington 2.”

The intentional rights to “Servant of the People” are held by Sweden-based Eccho Rights.

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“As international distributors of ‘Servant of the People,’ the series created by and starring President Zelensky, it is Eccho Rights’ position that the best support the global television industry can offer to Ukraine today is to share this story,” Eccho Rights stated.

“The series is a comedy but also an important document of where Zelensky comes from. His fictional president is a normal man, who grows into his role as a heroic and adored leader,” Eccho Rights said.

“While the real-world scenario facing Zelensky and the Ukrainian people is far more grim and appalling than the comedy of the series, there are obvious parallels with the real-world situation, and ‘Servant of the People’ is a fascinating, important and historic piece of television,” Eccho Rights added.

The distributor also voiced support for Ukraine and on March 2 said it was donating €50,000 to the Ukrainian Red Cross. They also removed all Russian-owned and produced series from their catalog. “In solidarity with Ukraine, we must take every punitive measure available to us in the fight against Russia,” they said.

People interested in streaming something more serious about Ukraine can watch “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom,” a 2015 documentary about the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine in the winter of 2013–14. Netflix, which made the documentary, has made it free on YouTube so it can also be seen by people who don’t subscribe to their service.

Winter on Fire

A similarly titled documentary by Oliver Stone called “Ukraine on Fire” sometimes causes confusion among people looking for “Winter on Fire.”

“Ukraine in Fire” is no longer available on Netflix, but can be found on other streaming services and is also free on YouTube, though YouTube has flagged it as “inappropriate or offensive to some audiences.” This documentary has been widely condemned as pro-Putin propaganda by the news site Daily Beast and online film mag Emerging Europe, among others.

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