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7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope

28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.


Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.


Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.


Ukraine History
Thats what Nestor Makhno would be singing, preceded by the words I am an antichrist if he was around in the late 1970s. He is a man whose role in the history of Ukraine, and Russia for that matter, has been disputed since he first came to prominence during the last years of Tsarist rule. In fact, its easier to say for what he was against than to try and work out who he stood for, and thats what makes him one of the most interesting characters in this countrys long and difficult past.

The words that attempt to better define just what a Cossack is, vary from mounted soldier to adventurer to freebooter to guerilla, with many other connotations in between. They were a mysterious clan who pledged allegiance to few, often living and dying by their sword and even though you can still find them on the streets today, these men from times long past, continue to keep us questioning.
When I was in school, we were taught that Cossacks were the true heroes of our past. One of the best stories I have ever heard about this group relates back to a Turkish battleship in 1492 where having attacked it, the Cossacks then freed the Ukrainians the Turks had usurped; all of whom had been meant for slavery.

During an epoch where revolutions were tearing this country apart, it was an unfortunate circumstance that Mykhailo Kotsyubynskiy, defender of the Ukrainian language and all of its culture, had to be witness to it all. In many ways he is a success and so 145 years later, with the anniversary of his passing upon us, we take a look at this man and his work.

When Neitszhe and Darwin wrote their genius, no one, least of all themselves, could have foretold how their words would be twisted to justify the Nazi attempts to exterminate a whole race of people. But mans ability to turn enlightened thought to justify evil is demonstrated throughout history. As the world commemorates the start of WWII and remembers the victims of the Nazis, the horror of what happened on the Eastern Front remains relatively unknown to many people in the West.

These days we know everything about the moon, and we even know what people from there look like (Leonid Cosmos, our honourable mayor is a good example), but 50 years ago man new very little about our night light satellite. The space race, that peaceful metaphor for the east/west arms race, was already underway, and so was the race to the moon. Everyone knows that the west won out in the end when Neil Armstrong (allegedly) set foot on the surface of the moon, but the Soviets actually made it there first, 50 years ago this week

For more than 250 years, historians have been fighting over theories about who Bohdan Khmelnitsky really was. We dont know a lot about where and when he was born, about who his father was or where he lived and studied before the start of his marvelous career, and no one knows for sure where he is buried.
What we can say, is that he died fighting for his country, that fateful day on 27 July (or 6 August according to the Gregorian calendar) when in Subotiv, his heart stopped beating for his country. It has become an official day of remembrance and a symbol of something great lost to this land.
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The Great Northern War was one of the biggest fights in the 1700s. The two contenders: Sweden and Russia. And the purse they were both after was the hegemony over the Baltic territory. In the end, the Slavs would win, but at what price?
For Ukraine as a nation, its difficult to express any real amount of passion for the victory over the Swedes. At the time, the battle indicated that the great power Sweden wielded over Europe would very soon come to an end, and while this meant something great for the rise of Imperial Russia, it was also the signal of the end of independent dreams for Ukraine.

People spoke about the conflict in Georgias Abkhazia and South Ossetia as though fault rested only on the shoulders of their Russian neighbours. No one took a moment to look back in time to see how Georgias settled minorities felt about their removed autonomous status back in the early days of Independence. And therein lies the tenet that is so poignant in politics today: history has a way of repeating itself. And so if Ukraine as a nation of numerous visible and not so visible minorities is not careful, perhaps Georgias fate could soon become its own.
Ukraine has numerous minorities living within its borders, but none, perhaps, carries such historical resonance as the Crimean Tatars.

Everyone in the West has an opinion on what turned the tide in World War II the Americans will say they saved the day, the Brits will say it was their dogged determination, and the engineering genius of the likes of Barnes Wallis, and so on. But when talking about WWII, schools in the West tend to skim over what was probably the most decisive factor in bringing this fiasco to an end  The Eastern Front.
Here the war is known as the Great Patriotic War, and Ukrainians know exactly how important it was. To help fill in the holes, we have compiled a step-by-step chronology about the days and years on the Eastern Front leading up to Victory Day. We should all know what happened here.
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Its been quite a while since Gogols been around, 200 years in fact. Despite this, beginning with a huge concert on the 11th of this month, people still gather in his name. So while things must have been a different in 1809, the questions have to be asked: Who is Gogol now? And why is he still so popular? While we definitely know who he was a talented Russian writer with Ukrainian roots, a poet, a critic, a dramatist and a publisher youngsters today seem to have a bigger understanding of the man. In addition to the list above, the present Mykola Gogol has been turned into a creative guru of art and music, and to celebrate this, the city of Kyiv once more offers up GogolFest.
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Ukraine Truth
Rights We Didnt Know We Had

Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they dont understand the meaning of these words.

Kyiv Culture

Pulling Strings
Located on Hrushevskoho Street the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades childrens favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. Whats On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.


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