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Now on Netflix: Comedy Starring Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Life, meet art. In Servant of the People, Ukraine's real-life president plays a history teacher unexpectedly elected to the highest office in the land.

Video screenshot by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has become better known to the world since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, but many people have only seen him on news reports and in online videos. Now, Netflix subscribers can tune in to Zelenskyy's pre-presidential comedy series, Servant of the People. All 23 episodes of season 1 of the satirical show are now available on the streaming service.

Servant of the People premiered in 2015 and ran for three seasons. It was available on Netflix from 2017 to 2021, but it seems safe to say most Netflix viewers at the time had never heard of the show, or perhaps of Zelenskyy himself.

Zelenskyy stars as a high-school history teacher who goes viral with a rant against government corruption, and finds himself unexpectedly elected president of Ukraine. Life then imitated art. A political party was named after the show, and Zelekskyy was actually elected Ukraine's president in 2019.

Netflix is airing the show in its original Russian, with English subtitles.

"There are car chases, drunk politicians falling face first into their food at state banquets and numerous opportunities for the actors to dress up in national costume and disguise themselves as Ukrainian Eurovision entries," a critic for The Guardian wrote in a 2019 review of Servant of the People.

A movie based on the series, Servant of the People 2, came out released in 2016, also starring Zelenskyy. It isn't currently available for viewing.

Zelenskyy, 44, began performing comedy as a teenager, and starred in and produced other films in Ukraine. He voices Paddington Bear in the Ukrainian dubbing of the 2014 Hollywood film Paddington, and its 2017 sequel, Paddington 2.

On Wednesday, Zelenskyy asked the US for additional support in its fight against Russia, including a no-fly zone over Ukraine. "Ukraine is grateful to the United States for its overwhelming support," Zelenskyy said. "I call on you to do more."