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Her job as a teacher, her real name, and her beloved abroad. Maryna Poplavska's sister tells about little-known pages in her life

Maryna Poplavska

Popular Ukrainian actress, educator, and prima donna of the Diesel Studio projects Maryna Poplavska would have celebrated her next birthday today, March 9. She would have turned 54 years old.

Five years ago, in October 2018, the artist's life was cut short by a terrible accident. In an interview withOBOZ.UA, Liudmyla Poplavska, Marina's younger sister, revealed unknown pages from the life of her dearest person.

"In my sister's passport, her name is Marianna, which is how my mother named her," says Liudmyla. "She once told me that this was the name of a French figure skater she really liked. She said before the birth of the child: if it's a girl, it will be Marianna. My mom and dad always called her at home very tenderly – Maryana. They loved us, their two girls, very much."

"Our father's parents are Polish," says Liudmyla. "When she gave interviews, Marianna often mentioned our paternal great-grandmother Fania, who lived for 96 years. She said that she taught her Ukrainian and Polish songs, prayers, and Polish. Our father and mother were married in a church. My sister and I were baptized in a Catholic church. However, at home we celebrated holidays according to both Catholic and Orthodox traditions."

Her job as a teacher, her real name, and her beloved abroad. Maryna Poplavska's sister tells about little-known pages in her life

"On March 9, my sister's birthday, we had a lot of guests at our house. Even when she was already studying at the Ivan Franko Pedagogical University, my parents would organize warm gatherings for her friends. My mother was a bread-and-butter hostess. She cooked very tasty food, despite the fact that she was an amateur cook and a doctor by profession. There was always a lot of fun at her birthdays, singing songs – my father loved it. He was the head of the popular Polissia Falcons band and an active member of the Union of Poles in Zhytomyr Oblast. For many years, he sang in the choir of a Catholic church, the one where Marianna was buried after her death. By the way, she also went to the choir at the university – she had a very beautiful voice."

Her job as a teacher, her real name, and her beloved abroad. Maryna Poplavska's sister tells about little-known pages in her life

"When my husband and I got married, Marianna, of course, hosted our wedding. She performed so well – she parodied Pugacheva, Gurchenko, and other famous artists. I don't know if I should talk about it, because I don't know how people will react. The war with Russia – who could have thought of that... Marianna loved to make up parodies since school. Even teachers, for which she got in trouble more than once. She was very active and energetic. When we went for a walk in the city together, it was an evening of laughter. Her humor was sparkling. In addition, she read a lot – she was an encyclopedia. Sayings of famous people, quotes from books and feature films, jokes – all of this is like a "good day" for her.

"Later she became a godmother to my older daughter. And the younger one also addressed her exclusively as 'godmother,'" Liudmyla continues, "There was not just love between them, it was a relationship on the verge of adoration. They had their own secrets, and constant phone calls. Marianna used to say: your children are my children."

"When she became very famous, we didn't see each other as often as we would have liked, but we were always in touch. In her phone, I was recorded as 'my Liudochka', she was 'Marianna Frantsivna'. She laughed so much at this: 'You're a prankster. Once we had an important conversation, and she said: I have you, and you have me." Once I found one of her interviews on the Internet, where I read the following words: "Even if everyone turns away from me, I will be loved by the little hearts of my two nieces and my sister. And that will be enough for me. For me, this is the whole world. And I will be happy."

Her job as a teacher, her real name, and her beloved abroad. Maryna Poplavska's sister tells about little-known pages in her life

Not all of her fans knew it, but the brilliant actress Maryna Poplavska had another profession that she considered her main one: she was a teacher at a school in Zhytomyr. "She worked there until the very end," says Liudmyla Poplavska. "I personally took her workbook from the school afterward. If she hadn't been a teacher, there probably wouldn't have been an acting profession. Her entire career began at the Pedagogical Institute, where she graduated with honors. It was only over time that I was transferred to a quarter-time position, and resigned from classroom management, but she categorically refused to leave the profession."

Interestingly, Marianna Frantsivna graduated from a Russian-language school, but she applied to the pedagogical institute to study Ukrainian philology. According to Liudmyla, their family always spoke Ukrainian.

"She had a clear division: stage life and school," adds the actress's sister. "She once said in an interview that she was a picky teacher. She said that her biggest fans were primary school children. When they saw her, they ran to hug her and take pictures. The older ones were more reserved. However, they respected and loved her very much, and it was mutual. By the way, I had the honor of attending some of her classes - she gave many open ones. She also participated in the Teacher of the Year competition. Marianna often said: "First and foremost, I am a teacher.

If she came to Zhytomyr or returned from a concert through the city, she always stayed with her relatives: "We were waiting for her at any time of the day. She would call: I'll come over, but I have to be in Kyiv in the morning. We had everything arranged in this regard – we had an agreement with a local driver who took her to work. All her things in our house are still in their places – clothes, jewelry, books. My younger daughter took a liking to two of her rings and is wearing them. I love one pair of earrings – Marianna gave them to me, and I cherish them."

Maryna Poplavska passed away five years ago. Her life was cut short on October 20, 2018, as a result of an accident on a highway in the Kyiv region. There were 14 actors of the Diesel Studio on a bus traveling from a tour in Lviv to Kyiv. At the time of the collision, Poplavska was sitting next to the driver, and she died on the spot.

"On that terrible morning, my cousin called me," Liudmyla recalls, "and asked how I was. And then: "They say here that Marianna died, but I don't believe it." My arms and legs were taken away from me... Marianna wrote to me around 12 am, saying that they decided to go home after the concert, not to spend the night in a hotel. She wrote: "We are going to Kyiv". There were no more messages. I turned on the TV and saw the news about her. It was around nine o'clock, three hours had passed since the tragedy."

The loss of her sister is very difficult for Liudmyla: "I still refuse to accept the fact that she is gone – it is very painful. I often wonder what she would be like now." Our heroine's mother and father have also passed away: "My father passed away in 2011, and my mother in 2013." Liudmyla Poplavska often comes to the cemetery.

Her job as a teacher, her real name, and her beloved abroad. Maryna Poplavska's sister tells about little-known pages in her life

"The monument that we erected on Marianna's grave was made by a man who used to work with our father," says Liudmyla. We thought about the project for a long time, and he offered several options. Marianna was a person who radiated light, so we decided that the sculpture would be made of light stone. We gathered together to build the pedestal – our family and 11 other women who knew my sister. Among them were close friends, school friends, girlfriends, and even two fans from Sumy and Sievierodonetsk. The woman from Sievierodonetsk even came to Zhytomyr. She has adored Marianna since the days of KVN, when she played in the team "Girls from Zhytomyr". She is a wonderful woman, very similar to our mother, by the way. We met when she wrote to me on Facebook and told me that she had been following Marianna's career for many years. You know, it was such a revelation for me. These two incredible women are my friends. There is another wonderful girl from Kamianske who also came to Zhytomyr."

Her job as a teacher, her real name, and her beloved abroad. Maryna Poplavska's sister tells about little-known pages in her life

"After the tragedy, strangers came to my workplace just to talk about her," Liudmyla continues, "We sat and they told us that she paid for chemotherapy for someone, gave money for surgery for someone. People were thanking her, crying. And I was with them. And so many people came to say goodbye to her. And it was Monday, a working day. The media wrote about hundreds, thousands of people, but in reality there were more than twenty thousand. All the flowers were bought in Zhytomyr. People came and went, standing in long lines."

Her job as a teacher, her real name, and her beloved abroad. Maryna Poplavska's sister tells about little-known pages in her life

As you know, after Marina Poplavska's death, Diesel Studio also ordered a monument that they wanted to install in the center of Zhytomyr. This led to a dispute between the team and Lyudmyla Poplavska. "The Diesel team publicly accused the woman of forbidding them to honor the memory of their colleague. "How could I forbid it?" Lyudmyla is surprised. "It was the city's decision. The Zhytomyr City Council held a public discussion. The majority of respondents did not support the placement of this composition in the city. What influence do I have on the public discussion? I am not against honoring the memory of my sister. But I am against this particular sculptural composition, which turned out to be far from the original and became the embodiment of bad taste."

Her job as a teacher, her real name, and her beloved abroad. Maryna Poplavska's sister tells about little-known pages in her life

Liudmyla admits that she doesn't watch Diesel Show anymore: "I can selectively watch some episodes on YouTube just to see Marianna. Even when she was alive, I mostly watched only what was related to her. I know that a lot of people adored her in KVN. That period was really cool. We joked, sang, and wrote our own lyrics, which is hard work. Nowadays, there is a lot of low-grade humor, but back then everything was at a much higher level."

Her job as a teacher, her real name, and her beloved abroad. Maryna Poplavska's sister tells about little-known pages in her life

There are pages in Maryna Poplavska's life that she was very reluctant to open to the public: "She didn't like to talk about her personal life in interviews." When asked why it happened that such an attractive woman in every sense did not officially have a partner, Liudmyla answered as follows: "You know, when a woman actually lives out of her suitcases all the time, what kind of man would like that? Besides, the stamp in the passport is a stereotype. And she always had supporters – flowers, gifts, like all women." As Liudmyla admits, in recent years her sister had a beloved man who lived abroad: "He called us several times after Marianna passed away."

"Unfortunately, my sister lived a short life," says Liudmyla, "but a bright one: she had family who adored her, many friends, and millions of fans who were in awe of her acting skills and charisma. Many people remember her with a kind word, honor her, and continue to enjoy her work – now in recordings. A person lives as long as they are remembered."

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