Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky has been elected president of Ukraine twice — first as a character in the popular TV show “Servant of the People”, now for real.The 41-year-old performer’s bid started out as a long shot but, on the back of popular discontent with the political class, he sent establishment candidates tumbling. Supporters see the political novice as a breath of fresh air but critics say he is a puppet of powerful rivals to Ukraine’s outgoing leader Petro Poroshenko. The story of his rise mirrored that of his character in the hit sitcom, which returned for its third season days before the first round of real-life voting last month. In the show, a school history teacher is elected leader after a video rant against corruption goes viral. As a candidate, Zelensky has blurred the line between politics and entertainment. He eschewed media interviews and traditional rallies, preferring to address voters via social networks and perform in gigs with his sketch troupe right up to the first stage of the vote. Ukrainian media outlets signed an open letter in the final days of the campaign demanding that Zelensky respond to their questions and flesh out his vague manifesto.But the father-of-two has embraced the fact his campaign has been light on solid pledges. One of the posters for his candidacy read: “No promises — no apologies!” The entertainer has been compared with US actor-turned-president Ronald Reagan, Italian populist Beppe Grillo and current US leader Donald Trump.Questions over Russia, oligarch Zelensky has been accused of being a front for the interests of controversial Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoysky, who owns the channel on which the actor’s shows are broadcast.But the actor denied any political connection and in the last days of campaigning said the oligarch would be jailed if he was found to have violated any laws. Kolomoysky, one of Ukraine’s richest men, became a regional governor at the start of Poroshenko’s term but was forced to resign following a row over a state oil firm. He now lives in Israel. An investigative TV report at the start of the year meanwhile accused Zelensky of having commercial relations with Russia.