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www.wmfd.com - A young Ukrainian woman who shot to fame via social media is on an international tour and she's in the United States right now talking about the violence in her country. }}" />

   
 
 
Ukrainian Social Media Star Speaks In The United States

Story By: Larry Stine

 

 

 
 
 
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  Original Published: 4/13/2014

A young Ukrainian woman who shot to fame via social media is on an international tour. She's in the United States right now talking about the violence in her country. Alexandra Field reports she's drawing big crowds, too. "I am a Ukrainian. I am 24 years-old. My name is Yulia Marushevska." Whether it is the message or the messenger, Yulia Marushevska has an audience. She's the young Ukrainian woman widely recognized as the face of the conflict in her country.

"I have no idea why I'm this person!" says Marushevska. "Like I know thousands, no maybe I know hundreds of people who are more greater activists than I am." But with a YouTube video titled "I am a Ukrainian," Marushevska got the world's attention. In it she shows the violent protests in Kiev this winter and speaks plainly about what she says her people want. "We want to be free."

"When you were making the video, who did you want to see this?" asked reporter Alexandra Field. "Who did you think would see this?" "I never expected such an attention to it," says Marushevska. "I hope someone will see it and maybe like 10 people will change their point of view, their vision of Ukraine."

Since it was made in February, the video has been seen nearly 8-million times, all of a sudden giving Marushevska the kind of reach that, for whatever reason, extends well beyond the Internet. "She really told people how she felt about events in Ukraine," says Oleh Kolidy, a Ukraine supporter. "But her looks and her accent is what made that viral." "It's amazing that Yulia had the courage to do what she did, to make the plight known to the world and we can't wait to meet her," says Rosemary King, a Ukraine supporter. "That's why we're here to meet her."

With international travel. which she says is funded by billionaire Richard Branson, she's drawing large crowds in Canada and is on a speaking tour here in the United States where she's using her social media star power to try and connect with Ukrainians living abroad, and anyone willing to lend their support. There are even plans in the works for a documentary following how Ukraine changes over the next year and how Marushevska's life does, too. " Did you always think of yourself as an activist?" asked reporter Alexabdra Field. "Actually I wasn't involved in politics at all before the protest," says Marushevska. "I am a Ukrainian" was made in collaboration with Ben Moses, the Los Angeles producer whose credits include "Good Morning Vietnam" and more recently, the film, "A Whisper to a Roar," a documentary about democracy activists around the world. He says he was inspired by the young woman's passion for her country and helped her find a platform.

"I know you have a lot of support from people who share you opinions, but since you've become such a public figure, have you felt any fear? Have you felt endangered? Have you felt attacked?" asked reporter Alexandra Field. "I couldn't compare my fear and my threat with what the people on my don did," says Marushevska says. "But are you being threatened? asked Field. "I have some messages, like that's not threatening about life, like 'Hey you American spy,: says Marushevska. "What are you doing?' and a Russian said this video was made in Hollywood and I am an actress or a model or a waitress from Philadelphia, and that I'm sponsored by Prince of Morocco." In reality, Marushevska says she's a PH-D student of modern literature in Kiev, who had something to say and got the people to listen. With all the attention, she now feels a responsibility to keep her country in the spotlight, something she says she was never seeking for herself.

   
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