10 Ukrainians, who made the world speak about Ukraine in 2016

Author : Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Source : 112 Ukraine

Singers, film directors, boxers, conductors, and video game developers - they made people speak about Ukraine worldwide
15:31, 30 December 2016

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  1. Jamala, a singer, who won Eurovision song contest.

Jamala just didn't take home the top prize in Europe's Favourite TV Show, she was also one of the winners of the coveted Marcel Bezençon Awards and Eurostory Award for the best line of lyrics. Thanks to the song "1944", dedicated to the mass deportation of the Crimean Tatars to Central Asia in 1944, this year's "Eurovision" gained much attention in the US media. For the first rime, the competition broadcasted in the US. Journalists were mostly focused on Ukrainian-Russian conflict during the competition and beyond it.

Related: Jamala presented “1944” official video

Related: Jamala: ‘If Odesa hosted Eurovision 2017, people would feel like fish in barrels’

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  1. Boxer Vasyl Lomachenko, who became world champion in two weight categories under version WBO.

He was called the best boxer regardless of weight class, leading trainers. He defeated super-champion by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight champion Roman Martinez. Another great victory the Ukrainian has got when defeating Nicholas Walters. Lomachenko was the boxer of the year on the version of Boxing News 24 and the author of the best knockout in 2016 (according to the American sports channel ESPN).

Related: Lomachenko: It’s important for me to fight the best


  1. Film director Evgeny Afineevsky, who without being Ukrainian by birth, was able to show Ukraine through a documentary film about Maidan, which received a nomination for the "Oscar".

A film about the Maidan protests "Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom" was included in a list of five nominees for the "Oscar" in the category of documentary films. This is the first film in the history of Ukraine that is able to compete for the prestigious film award.

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  1. Canadian Ukrainian artist Anna Bucciarelli, whose design won in a competition for the New Year cups of Starbucks.

Anna Bucciarelli (Shynlova) was one of 13 finalists of the competition, conducted in December 2016 by the American coffee company Starbucks. Design of Anna contains unique elements of Ukrainian Petrykivsky painting. Starbucks coffee in the original cups are sold in 75 countries.

Related: Heating via Wi-Fi: Ukrainian startup taught the Germans to save

  1. Ukrainian girl with Down syndrome, who became a celebrity and role model through videos on social networks.

Short video of 7-year-old Sofia Sanchez, born in Ukraine and adopted by the American couple, just shocked the Internet and moved the millions. “It’s not scary; it’s so exciting!” Sofia said, while motioning with her hands.

Related: 2016 in review: Ukraine's main economic results

  1. Jaroslav Azhnyuk, CEO & co-founder at Petcube. He is on the list of “New Europe 100 — changemakers in central and eastern Europe,” according to Financial Times.

Petcube began producing cameras for pet owners in 2013. Product has become an innovation at the international market. Now it is the most popular in the world in its category. Startup was founded by three friends who worked together in the Ukrainian capital. Companies with offices in Kyiv, San Francisco, and Shenzhen, managed to attract $ 3.8 million investment, and now its products are sold in major US retailers such as Amazon, BestBuy, Petco.

  1. The developer of video games, co-founder of Colabee in Seattle, Dmytro Veryovka, whose video game "Forest Song" won the prestigious award.

The “Forest Song,” a mythical fairy tale by one of Ukraine's most popular poets Lesya Ukrainka, comes to life in the U.S., in a computer game set. In order to reliably reproduce the reality of Volyn villages, developers collaborated with the Department of Folklore (Shevchenko University) and visited Ukraine, met with locals, asked about the past, recorded some folklore. "Forest Song" won first place in the competition for the best independent games story.


Related: Cisco and Intel obtained Ukrainian startup

Related: Ukrainian startups boost the Polish economy

  1. The conductor of the National Opera Herman Makarenko, the first Ukrainian, laureate of UNESCO.

The eminent conductor of the National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet of Ukraine, as well as chief conductor and artistic director of the orchestra "Kyiv-Classic" Herman Makarenko received the honorary title "UNESCO Artist for Peace." This title will be bestowed in recognition of his commitment to promote music as a vehicle for dialogue and mutual understanding among people, his contribution to peace and tolerance, notably through the performances of the Kyiv-Classic Orchestra, and his profound commitment to the ideals and aims of the Organization.

  1. Boxer Oleksandr Usyk, who won title of world champion by WBO version in the first heavy weight.

Usyk has defeated the "invincible" Krzyzstof Glovatski and broke the record of the legendary fighter Evander Holyfield: Ukrainian managed to win a championship belt in his tenth pro fight, this is two fights earlier than Holyfield won in 1986.

Related: Boxing: ‘I enjoy what I’m doing’, - Usyk

  1. American director of Ukrainian origin Roxy Toporowych that won the prestigious Film Award in the US.

Roxy Toporowych was awarded with prestigious Gotham Independent Film Awards and a grant from the company Calvin Klein Live the Dream in the category "woman director in the spotlight" of 20 thousand dollars. Julia Blue is the story of love between a volunteer from Western Ukraine and ATO military with post-traumatic syndrome from eastern Ukraine.

Related: Film about Holodomor dirsupted in Ukrainian Cultural Center in Moscow

Related: Free Sentsov action at Ukraine’s film festival in Poland

Related: Johnny Depp supports Oleg Sentsov, illegally detained in Russia


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