Netflix adds comedy show starring Ukraine's actor-turned-president Zelensky

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in Servant of the People
(Image credit: Kvartal 95 / Netflix)

Netflix has re-added Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s satirical comedy series, Servant of the People, to its library in the US.

The three-season show had previously been available to watch on the streaming service between 2017 and 2021, though Netflix confirmed its return on March 16 in light of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Servant of the People follows the political misadventures of a high school teacher (played by the then-comedian Zelensky) who unexpectedly becomes the president of Ukraine after featuring in a viral video condemning government corruption in his country.

The series ended when Zelensky, in a miraculous turn of irony, was himself elected to the real-life post of Ukrainian president in 2019. He ran under the banner of a new political party, also called Servant of the People.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that a Swedish television group, Eccho Rights, has been handling the global distribution of the series during Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The UK’s Channel 4 is among the broadcasters currently licensing Servant of the People from Eccho Rights, hence why the show is only being made available to stream on the US version of Netflix. 

In a statement (via Deadline) announcing the show’s return to market this month, Eccho managing partner Nicola Söderlund said: “While the real-world scenario facing Zelensky and the Ukrainian people is far more grim and appalling than the comedy of the series, there are obvious parallels with the real-world situation, and Servant of the People is a fascinating, important and historic piece of television.”

The move to re-add Zelensky’s comedy series to Netflix comes on the same day the Ukrainian president issued an address to US Congress calling for further sanctions on Russia and a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

As part of its condemnation of Russian hostilities toward Ukraine, Netflix has suspended its services in the former country and also paused all future projects and acquisitions from Russia.

Axel Metz
Phones Editor

Axel is TechRadar's UK-based Phones Editor, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest AI breakthroughs as part of the site's Mobile Computing vertical. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.  Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.