Politics

Ukraine’s Zelensky is a good actor, but actually being president is a different matter – Putin

      Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelensky for his skill in his area of expertise – acting. He then pointed out the obvious difference between playing a president on TV and actually being one.      

Putin elicited chuckles from the audience at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Friday, speaking about the possibility of meeting the new Ukrainian leader without any preconditions. Putin said he wouldn't mind meeting the former comedian, though he hasn't been approached by the Ukrainian side yet.

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"I don't know this man, but I hope we will get to know each other at some point," Putin said, before giving a brief characterization of Zelensky, a political novice who blindsided the previous Ukrainian president, confectionery magnate Petro Poroshenko, with a landslide victory in April's election.

He seems to be an expert in what used to be his job until recently – he is a good actor.

Putin's words were met with laughter from the audience, but he said he was serious about the merits of his acting skills. Whether those skills are applicable when leading a country is another matter.

"It is one thing to play somebody, and another to actually be somebody," Putin said. He admitted that Zelensky may well have the necessary presidential traits – apart from political experience – but so far he isn't projecting a clear image of himself.

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