Ms. Ruslana Lyzhychko has been recognized as one of the State Department’s Women of Courage for 2014 for her work as a human rights advocate and leader in the movement for democratic reform in Ukraine. Ms. Lyzhychko gained fame initially as a popstar, winning the 2004 Eurovision contest. Now, ten years later, she has become one of the most vocal leaders of the EuroMaidan protests in Ukraine, with her celebrity status boosting her message of peaceful demonstration to change the course of Ukrainian politics. During a police attack against student demonstrators, Ms. Lyzhychko helped evacuate students, stand guard, and raise international awareness to the ongoing events. Even when security forces moved en masse to subdue activists in Maidan, Ms. Lyzhychko remained on stage to urge activists to stand their ground peacefully.
Currently, Ms. Lyzhychko is visiting a variety of cities around Europe and the United States, trying to raise awareness of the situation in Ukraine. In an interview with Vice News, she said that, while she wants to return to her music, “[t]oday, I am person who would like to protect the Ukrainian image by public events and speeches.”