Ukrainian YouTube Star Calls for Freedom in Home Country, With Help From Richard Branson (Video)

Yulia Marushevska

Yulia Marushevska's viral video "I Am a Ukrainian" has been viewed more than 8 million times -- at least once by the blond billionaire who's bankrolling her U.S. speaking tour.

Yulia Marushevska was instrumental in bringing the plight of Ukrainian citizens to the world during the violent protests in Kiev in February. Her simple two-minute YouTube video I Am a Ukrainian, explaining how her people “want to be free of a dictatorship,” went viral and has been viewed more than 8 million times.

It also caught the attention of some influential figures in the world of media and entertainment, and the 25-year-old PhD student is now in the process of leveraging her social media stardom into an international speaking tour and public advocacy platform. Billionaire Richard Branson stepped in to bankroll her North American speaking tour, and producer-director Ben Moses (Good Morning, Vietnam) helped her produce a new video while in the U.S.

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Marushevska is a PhD candidate at Taras Shevchenko University in Kiev, studying Ukrainian literature and history. Since her video was posted on YouTube, she has appeared on more than 70 media outlets in 35 countries. 

See both her original YouTube hit and the new collaboration with Moses below.