Elizabeth Vasilenko was seen to have betrayed her homeland but after realising her mistake, started donating some of her online earnings to volunteers in the war effort back home
A Ukrainian actress and blogger who moved to Russia to further her career came under fire for stating that it would be better “to die there than back home”.
Elizabeth Vasilenko made the statement in a YouTube interview in March 2021, before Vladimir Putin’s troops descended upon Ukraine.
But, because of long-running tensions between the two countries, her words ended up getting her blacklisted on Peacemaker – a Ukrainian website which names and shames those advocating any pro-Russian sentiments.
And, after the Russian invasion began in February this year, the star of the hit Ukrainian series ‘School’ quickly seized the opportunity to apologize.
Owning up to her ill-chosen words – dubbed a ‘zrada’ or ‘betrayal’ by the website globalhappening.com, the 23-year-old TikTokker admitted to journalist Ramina Eskhakza that she was “ashamed” of what she’d said and claimed that she’d since changed her opinions.
“I’m ashamed and have suffered a lot of hate for this – it’s been following me now for a year,” said the actress, who’s from the Dnieper region of the beleaguered country.
“I only really understood the essence of what I’d said when (war) began.
“I’m sorry. My priorities have changed a lot and I am already a different Liza to the one I was a year ago.”
However, Vasilenko – who’d already been heavily criticised for making the move to Russia in the first place – explained she was willing to take any flak that might be coming her way as a result.
“We all make mistakes but I am ready to be punished if necessary,” she said.
Having attended various anti-war rallies, she informed her fans on Instagram that she then relocated to Turkey with only $8k to her name – “Money, advertising… everything disappeared for me when the war started,” she added.
Currently living in the Czech Republic, she now sends a portion of the money she makes via her OnlyFans account to volunteers involved in the recovery effort back home.
Vasilenko also revealed that her parents still live in Ukraine and had no plans to leave.
“They will be there until the last,” she said.