Award-winning Ukrainian pop star Ruslana [Ruslana Lyzychko], who spent months hosting and singing to pro-European protestors from the Maidan stage in Kyiv, even helping to end a tense standoff with riot police one night, has been honoured by US First Lady Michelle Obama for her bravery.
Ruslana Lyzychko was one of 10 women who received the 2014 International Women of Courage award from First Lady Michelle Obama.
March 6, 2014 Washington, DC
Sources: https://www.facebook.com/usdos.ukraine, http://www.skynews.com.au/showbiz/article.aspx?id=955580, http://www.bbc.com/news/26439801
On a day when Secretary of State Kerry was in Kyiv to conduct a meeting with the newly-appointed government and to express full support for Ukraine, the award ceremony of the State Department, held in Washington, DC, had a special meaning this year for Maidan. The Secretary of State Award for International Women of Courage rewards women in the world who have shown exceptional courage and leadership skills, speaking for the rights of women and providing them with support, often even at the expense of security. One of this year’s winners, Ruslana, was awarded this honor for unwavering commitment to peaceful resistance and national unity in the fight against corruption in government and human rights violations. The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv stated: “She put forth the protection of the rights of all Ukrainians to a peaceful demonstration and to request more from their government and we are pleased that her bravery and dedication were noted. She is one of the bravest people on Maidan and throughout Ukraine. The Embassy welcomes Ruslana’s obtaining an award of distinction which she receives at the hands of First Lady Michelle Obama and wishes her continued success in upholding justice and peace.”
Ruslana, is a World Music Award winning, and MTV Europe Music Award nominated artist, and the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2004, holding the title of People’s Artist of Ukraine.
“It’s very important to be here right now as a voice of my country,” Ruslana said after receiving the award from First Lady Michelle Obama.
“We fight a dictatorship, and now we can see the face of this dictatorship. Sorry, it’s Putin,” the petite singer said, speaking in English and clutching a blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag which she called her “good luck charm.”
Michelle Obama paid tribute to the 10 activists chosen for the 2014 International Women of Courage award, saying the winners should be an inspiration to women everywhere.
“When we see these women raise their voices, and move their feet and empower others to create change, we need to realise that each of us has that same power, and that same obligation,” Obama said at the State Department ceremony.
The event comes ahead of International Women’s Day on Saturday, March 8.