Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy reacts following the announcement of the first exit poll at his campaign headquarters in Kiev, April 2019
Valentyn Ogirenko / REUTERS

The global wave of protest populism that began with Brexit and the election of U.S. President Donald Trump reached new heights in Ukraine this weekend. A comedian outsider whose campaign served as an echo chamber for public discontent in Europe’s most consistently corrupt nation has won a landslide victory in the presidential race. Ukraine’s new president-elect, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, is in many ways the ideal poster boy for the antiestablishment trend currently sweeping world politics. A media-savvy TV celebrity who has never previously held political office, he has made a virtue of his inexperience by posing as an everyman candidate untainted by the rot within the system. Zelenskiy’s stunning success—he won the Ukrainian presidency by a record margin and triumphed in all but one of the country’s 24 administrative regions—amounted to a vote of no confidence in the entire Ukrainian political class. Whereas other populists

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