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In 2022, Serhii Rudenko’s book “Zelensky Without Make-Up” became a bestseller in the West. 24 countries of the world have acquired the rights to its publication. After the publication of the book in Poland, Great Britain, Germany, Holland, Portugal and many other countries of the world, the book landed in the top of sales.
Reviews of Rudenko’s “Zelensky” were written by leading media: The Guardian, The Economist, The Times, The Sunday Times, Spiegel, The New York Times, etc.
In 2022, the whole world learned about Serhii Rudenko’s book “Zelensky Without Make-Up”. Photo by Olena Cherninka
This is not the author’s first book. Previously, his books about the teams of Viktor Yanukovych, Viktor Yushchenko and Yuliia Tymoshenko were published. But “Zelensky Without Make-Up” is beyond all doubt the most successful project to date by Serhii Rudenko which conquered the whole world.
Biography: place of birth, study
Born on October 14, 1970 in the village of Stetskivka, Sumy oblast. It is 40 kilometers from the border with the Russian Federation.
Serhii’s mother, Lidiia Vasylivna, was a village teacher of Ukrainian language and literature. His father, Valerii Mykhailovych, worked as an electrician in a state farm.
In parallel with his studies at the secondary school, Rudenko studied at the art school of the city of Sumy. In 1985 he became the winner of the All-Union Art Competition dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the Victory over the German Fascists.
In 1987 he graduated from secondary school and entered the Faculty of Journalism of Kyiv State University named after T.H. Shevchenko.
In 1996-1997 he studied at the Goethe-Institut in Kyiv.
Served apprenticeship on Radio Svoboda.
Career: work in a newspaper, on the radio and on television
In 1992, after graduating from the university, he worked as a correspondent for the newspaper “Dobryi Den” (Sumy).
From 1993 to 1996 – journalist of the newspaper “Radoslav”, magazines “Viisko Ukrainy”, “Dilo”, collaborated with the German agency “M2-Agentur”, media outlet OstInvest.
From 1996 to 2002, he was a correspondent of the Ukrainian Radio Svoboda service. Afterwards he worked as an editor of the policy department of the weekly “Dilovyi Tyzhden-FT”.
1999. Serhii Rudenko at Radio Svoboda studio. Photo from the archive
In 2005-2014 he was the editor-in-chief of the newspapers “Seichas”, “Hazeta 24”, Internet sites “PIK”, “Glavred”, “TVi”.
In 2013-2015 – TVi TV presenter.
Since 2015 – chief editor of the Espreso site, Espreso TV presenter.
Serhii Rudenko – presenter of the Espreso TV channel
Author and presenter of the programs “Dossier with Serhii Rudenko”, “Politics”, “Debates”, “Verdict”.
Author of weekly columns on Deutsche Welle.
Since 1993, he is the founder of the Creative Association “500”.
In 2008, together with partners, he founded the book portal “Bukvoid”.
“Zelensky Without Make-Up”, the world’s first book about Volodymyr Zelenskyi
In 2020, Serhii Rudenko wrote a book about Zelenskyi. As the author confides in numerous interviews, he was interested in learning the maximum about the sixth president of Ukraine. “I was collecting Zelenskyi’s profile. And at some point I realized that this could be interesting to other people. That is how the idea of publishing a book about the president was born,” he says.
Cover of the Ukrainian version of Serhii Rudenko’s book “Zelensky Without Make-Up”
After the project was completed, Rudenko at his own expense funded the preparation and publication of the book, which saw the world in January 2021 in the “Summit Books” publishing house.
In March 2022, Serhii Rudenko received an offer from the German agent Thomas Wiedling to publish a book in Europe. An updated version of the book was presented to Western publishers in April. The right to its publication was bought by publishing houses from 24 countries.
The first translation was released on May 10, 2022 in Portugal.
The first translations of “Zelensky Without Make-Up” in Poland, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and in Georgia
On May 18, the book appeared in Holland.
On May 30 – in Poland (together with the Ukrainian version).
On June 1 – in Georgia.
On June 25 – in Spain.
On July 1 – in Great Britain.
On July 15 – in Italy.
On July 25 – in Germany.
In Germany, Serhii Rudenko’s book was published in the famous Hanser publishing house
Since then, dozens of publications about the book and the author’s interviews have been published in the press.
“I am not Zelenskyi’s biographer. And I never sought to be one. I just wrote a book about the sixth president of Ukraine when no one believed that in 2022 he would become one of the main figures in world politics,” Serhii Rudenko says. He then adds, “Unlike other books about Zelenskyi sprouting in the West like mushrooms after the summer rains, in my book there is the real Zelenskyi. No make-up. The way he was before going to politics. The way he has become in three years of presidency.”
"Battle for Kyiv" is the story of the unconquered
In 2022, Serhii Rudenko wrote the book "Battle for Kyiv". This is the history of the defense of the Ukrainian capital in February-March 2022. With the beginning of the great war, millions of people came to the defense of Kyiv.
This is a story about a heroic confrontation with the Russian enemy on the approaches to Kyiv. Among the heroes are Igor Lapin, Akhtem Seitablaev, Dmytro Linko, Andrii Khlyvnyuk, Tetyana Chornovol, Serhii Kryvonis, the Klitschko brothers, Yevhen Spirin, Roman Bezsmertny, Roman Ratushny, Max Levin and others.
Rudenko calls the 17 chapters of the book "rounds", because this is the story of a struggle that is still ongoing. In each round, there are turning episodes, backstories of events and personal, sometimes tragic stories of heroic figures who took up arms.
The right to publish Serhiy Rudenko's book has already been bought in Finland, Georgia, North Macedonia, Albania, and Georgia.
In Ukraine, the book was published by "Fabula" publishing house.
Finnish edition. Tammi, 2023
Books about the entourage of Tymoshenko, Yushchenko and Yanukovych
In 1994, together with Maksym Rozumnyi, he became the author and compiler of the anthology of poetry “Young Wine”. In 1995, together with the writer Andrii Kokotiukha, he compiled the anthology “Texts”.
Serhii Rudenko’s first books about Ukrainian politicians
Author of a series of books about Ukrainian politicians:
“All the President’s Men. Viktor Yushchenko’s entourage from A to Z” (Kyiv: Summit Books, 2007);
“All the Prime Minister’s Men. Viktor Yanukovych’s entourage from A to Z” (Kyiv: Summit Books, 2007);
“All the Yuliia’s Men. Yuliia Tymoshenko’s entourage from A to Z” (Kyiv: Summit Books, 2007);
“Government of Yuliia Tymoshenko” (Kyiv: Summit Books, 2008);
“25 rich people of Ukraine” (Kyiv: Summit Books, 2009);
“Men of Yuliia Tymoshenko” (Kyiv: Summit Books, 2010);
“Pantheon of Classics” (Kyiv: Summit Books, 2011);
Awards and Prizes
Diploma holder of the international literary competition “Hranoslov” (1998).
TOP 20 “Best Ukrainian Book 2008” (according to the magazine “Korespondent”): “All the President’s Men”, “All the Prime Minister’s Men” and “All the Yuliia’s Men”.
In 2009, the book “Government of Yuliia Tymoshenko” was recognized as one of the best books according to the magazine “Korespondent” (3rd place in the nomination “Opinion journalism”).
In August 2022, the German translation of Serhii Rudenko’s book “Zelensky Without Make-Up” became a bestseller on Amazon and entered the list of bestsellers according to the Spiegel weekly (31st position).
On July 31, 2022, Amazon users opted for the book by Serhii Rudenko
Serhii Rudenko’s Youtube channel
Since 2021, Serhii Rudenko has been leading his own channel on Youtube, to which 58 thousand viewers have already subscribed.
The Western press about Serhii Rudenko and his book “Zelensky Without Make-Up”
Zelensky: A Biography by Serhii Rudenko review – from voice of Paddington to global giant, The Guardian, 26.07.2022
Volodymyr Zelensky behind the mask, The Statesman, 28.06.2022
The first English-language biography of Zelensky reveals what Ukrainians really think of him, The Telegraph, 27.06.2022
Zelensky: A Biography; Putin: His Life and Times reviews, The Guardian, 29.06.2022
5 new books to read in July, Fortune, 1.07.2022
Zelensky: A Biography by Serhii Rudenko – a ‘quirky and fascinating’ book, The Week, 8.08.2022
The many lives of Volodymyr Zelensky, The Economist, 7.07.2022
The triumphs and blind spots of President Zelensky, The Times, 10.07.2022
Who is the real Zelensky?, Prospect Magazine, 21.07.2022
Zelensky biography the best guide available to understanding resistance hero, Business Post, 13.07.2022
Zelensky: A biography by Serhii Rudenko, The Irish Times, 3.07.2022
Different Zelenskys: the story of a man who opposed Putin, El Independiente
New Zelensky Biography Reveals First Meeting With Putin: 'Bundle of Nerves', Newsweek, 30.06.2022
Newly Published, From Joseph Smith to Salmon Farms, The New York Times, 13.07.2022
The best new books to read: Top releases, updated weekly, New York Post, 29.07.2022
Zelensky’s path from floundering president to wartime leader, The Washington Post, 15.07.2022
From comedy to war: Zelensky’s ascent to the year’s most admired leader, The Sydney Morning herald, 5.07.2022
From showman to statesman: the rise of Zelensky, The Australian, 24.07.2022
Recensie: ‘Zelensky. De biografie’ van Serhi Roedenko, Het belang Van Limburg, 11.06.2022
Buch der Woche, Freitag
Der Kriegspräsident, Deutschlandfunkkultur, 23.07.2022
Selenskyj: Die Biografie eines ukrainischen Präsidenten, die nach dem 24. Februar gründlich überarbeitet werden musste, Leipziger Zeitung, 24.07.2022
Buchautor über Wolodymyr Selenskyj :„Er ist ein Mensch, kein Denkmal“, Tagesspiegel, 24.07.2022
Viele Namen, viele Leerstellen, TAZ, 23.07.2022
Автор новой книги о президенте Украины: Путин недооценил Зеленского, Deutsche Welle, 25.07.2022
Kenntnisreich, aber eine vergebene Chance, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 25.07.2022
»Selenskyj hat den Krieg nicht für möglich gehalten«, Spiegel, 30.07.2022
Vom Komiker zum Kriegspräsidenten: Der Weg des Wolodimir Selenski, Handelblatt, 30.07.2022
Volodomir Zelenski is niet brandschoon, wel dapper, Trouw, 9.07.2022
Nee, Zelensky’s zieltje is niet wit als dat van de kleine Jezus, NRC, 28.07.2022
Sergii Rudenko. "Zelensky renasceu como Presidente", Observador, 12.05.2022
“Zelensky não tem o direito de cometer erros”, diz biógrafo, Publico, 21.05.2022
Putin e Zelensky. Retratos do "brutalíssimo ditador" e do líder que ajudou a criar, Diario de Nolicias, 22.05.2022
Zelensky: o Presidente que se “revelou verdadeiramente” com a guerra já tem um “lugar na história da humanidade”, Expresso, 16.05.2022