By Sylvie Kauffmann (Davos, special correspondent). 26 January 2014 at 11:26 • Updated 26 January 2014 at 1:29 p.m.
Ukraine: “It’s not a question of Russia, but of escaping injustice and corruption”
Nataliya Gumenyuk, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, said she would return to Ukraine to monitor the protest.
On Sunday, Nataliya Gumenyuk returned to Kiev. At the beginning of the week, when the protest movement on the Maidan recorded its first deaths, and she was at Davos she asked herself: “If she could be away from Ukraine during the critical time?” Finally, her friends, and especially the colleagues with whom she created the independent online television station Hromadske.TV last year, convinced her that at that moment she could also have some impact being shortly away and talking directly to those in power.
Small, thin, her eyes red from lack of sleep, Nataliya Gumenyuk (30) speaks quickly but accurately, as if every minute counts. She was invited to Davos as part of the Global Shapers group, young elites whom the World Economic Forum believes are already shaping the world of tomorrow.
A LIFE OF ‘UPHEAVALS’
On Thursday night, at one of those very ‘Davos’ dinners whose theme was the future of Europe, by chance she found herself sitting at the table of José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission. He listened to her carefully. “I don’t know if your life has changed since last Sunday,” she told him, “but mine has been turned upside down. The country that I will find after I get back from Davos is not the same as the one I left.”
Nataliya Gumenyuk was born in Birobidzhan in the Russian Far East, where her father, a Soviet military man, had been stationed. She was seven years old when Ukraine became independent. Another thing which changed her life, in 2005, was a grant from the Swedish government, which allowed her to do a Masters in Journalism at the University of Örebro, Sweden. When she returned to Ukraine, she was a European. Here is her story: Continue reading