Odessa home to Ukraine's Vader
While Star Wars fans have waited 10 years for the next film instalment in the franchise – Star Wars: The Force Awakens is due in theatres next week – residents of the Ukrainian port city of Odessa have become used to regular sightings of the original films' arch villain, clad in his famous black helmet and cape.
Darth Mykolaiovych Vader officially changed his name
He also caused a stir in October with a run for the Odessa mayoral office. At one point a supporter, dressed as Chewbacca, was kicked out of a polling station and then arrested for failing to provide the appropriate documents at a traffic stop. Ukrainian police posted this photo to their Instagram account:
Chewbacca's detention made the rounds on Twitter, too
However, Vader lost the mayoral race
Darth Mykolaiovych Vader's popularity may be less a result of any significant support for the Dark Side among average Ukrainians than a sign of public frustration with the political status quo amid an economic crisis and a violent separatist conflict.
In October, Lenin was toppled and replaced by Vader
Some Odessa residents, meanwhile, clearly prefer the evil Galactic Empire to communism of the past. In October, artist Alexander Milov refashioned a monument to Soviet revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin into a statue of Darth Vader. Darth Mykolaiovych Vader attended the unveiling.
Vader took the loss hard but still holds hope for a top job
In an interview with Reuters in December, Darth Mykolaiovych Vader said he was taking things slowly after his recent election loss, but had not abandoned hope of gaining a top government job.
When not campaigning for public office, Vader enjoys embroidery, home improvement and caring for his golden retriever in the apartment he shares in Odessa with his wife and children.