As challenges mount, Ukraine sours on comedian-turned-president via @nbcnews
The 49-year-old died Oct. 14, three days after his extreme protest in the heart of the country’s capital, where months of massive anti-government demonstrations took place at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014.
Mykytenko, a veteran of the military conflict against Russian-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, which has claimed more than 13,000 lives since it began almost six years ago, was frustrated with his leader’s policy toward Moscow, she said.
Running on an anti-corruption ticket and promising to curb the power of oligarchs, Zelenskiy, a political novice who played a president on a television series, vowed to end the conflict in the east with Russia and improve relations with Moscow before he defeated incumbent President Petro Poroshenko in April 2019.
But the former comedian’s popularity has waned since he took over the leadership of the country, which sits on the frontline of the Wests standoff with Russia, as he has struggled to manage the coronavirus pandemic and revive its battered economy.
His approval rating sat at 46 percent in a national poll conducted by the highly respected Rating Group think tank earlier this month, while 51 percent said they did not trust him. However, this was higher than that of many of his rivals.
Opponents in the country of 42 million, in which a significant minority of the population uses Russian as its first language particularly in the cities and the industrialized east, have accused him of leaning too closely to the West.