Meet the Face of Ukraine's Protests

Video with 'Yulia' has nearly 6 million hits

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 21, 2014 6:22 PM CST

(Newser) – A deal is in place in Ukraine to end the bloodshed, though whether it will stick remains an open question. In the meantime, the Daily Beast takes a look at the woman it calls the "viral heroine of the Maidan," referring to the area in Kiev where protesters have gathered. She is identified only as "Yulia," and her anti-government "I Am A Ukrainian" video on YouTube now has close to 6 million views, most coming in the last week. "I want you to know why thousands of people all over my country are on the streets," she says in the video over images of violence. "There is only one reason. We want to be free from a dictatorship."

If the video looks slick, that's for good reason—it's from American filmmaker Ben Moses, notes the BBC. Moses, probably best known as the producer of Good Morning, Vietnam, tells the Huffington Post that he came across Yulia in Ukraine while working on a film about democracy. She "personifies the vast majority of the people on the streets in the country, and speaks to the heart of the protest," he says. Yulia tells the Daily Beast's Deborah Stambler via Skype that she "doesn't feel happiness" about the video "because the price is too hard. I dreamt to create something else, not this." She is no longer in Kiev because of her family's concerns about her safety.

A screen shot of the video featuring the woman identified only as Yulia.
A screen shot of the video featuring the woman identified only as Yulia.   (YouTube)
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The video had nearly 6 million views as of Feb. 21.   (YouTube)

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