Svyatoslav “Slava" Vakarchuk is a social activist and lead vocalist for Okean Elzy, the most successful rock band in Ukraine. As an activist, Slava supported the Orange Revolution and is founder of the non-profit “Lyudi Maybutnyogo” (People of the Future). People of the Future’s programs include: “Knyga Tvoryt’ Lyudynu” (A Book Creates A Man), “Osvita Krainoyu” (The Country’s Education), “3-D Proekt. Dumay, Diy, Dopomogai” (3-D Project. Think, Act. Help.). Alongside members of his band, he actively supported MTV and the UN International Organization for Migration’s campaign “People Are Not For Sale.”
In 2003, Slava became an Honorary Ambassador of Culture in Ukraine. In 2005 he was named a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme and became a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Freedom of Expression and Information. In September 2008, he renounced his seat in the Verkhovna Rada party due to a corrupt political climate. In parliamentary elections in 2007, he appeared as an independent candidate on the Our Ukraine–People's Self-Defense Bloc's list. The Ukrainian magazine Korrespondent ranks him as one of the 100 most influential people of Ukraine.
Vakarchuk, meanwhile, is a cultural and intellectual force—and, though he has attempted to shed this identity, a much-loved political figure as well. In his early thirties, he became a deputy of the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, before renouncing his seat in 2008 in protest of Ukraine’s corrupt political culture. Today, as the country struggles to rebuild amid economic turmoil and a roiling insurgency in the east, many are calling for Vakarchuk to reënter politics. He insists, though, that he can play a more unifying, and more influential, role as a musician, removed from the messy work of government.