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President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky (R) and his wife, First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska arrive to meet the President of Latvia at the Riga Castle square in Riga, Latvia, on October 16, 2019. (Photo by Gints Ivuskans / AFP) (Photo by GINTS IVUSKANS/AFP via Getty Images)
The Truth About Volodymyr Zelensky’s Wife, Olena
By William Kennedy
History - Science
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been thrust even further into the international spotlight following the Russian invasion of his country, but he is not the only member of the Ukrainian First Family who has chosen to remain with their people. His wife, Olena, has also become a national hero in her own right.
Born Olena Kiyashko, the future First Lady of Ukraine met her husband while studying architecture in college and married him in 2003. She actually worked as a comedy writer for his production company, Kvartal 95 Studio, and helped write “Servant of the People,” one of the most popular shows he starred in as a comedian.
Olena was initially opposed to her husband’s political aspirations, but since he entered office in 2019, she has embraced her role as first lady. An advocate for women’s rights, she has helped Ukraine enter the G7 international initiative on gender equality, and she has also worked to improve children’s nutrition standards and promote the Ukrainian language around the world.
Though she has said in interviews that she isn’t the "life of the party” or a public person, Olena is inspiring in her own way. Aside from juggling her busy schedule with her two children, Oleksandra and Kyrylo, she has also survived contracting COVID-19 and continues to raise the morale of the Ukrainian people by staying in the country.