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On the cover
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

Kyiv native Serge Lifar is one of the legends of modern dance, a colourful and sometimes controversial figure who became a massive artistic celebrity in France and Europe in the first half of the century. As his birthday approaches on 2 April, we looked into the life of this eccentric artistic dynamo.

On 9 March Ukraine will celebrate Taras Shevchenkos 194th birthday with events going on near Shevchenko monuments in most Ukrainian cities. Whats On looks at the life and work of the most iconic Ukrainian.
Theres no doubt that Taras Shevchenko is Ukraines most illustrious poet and the best-known Ukrainian poet abroad. There are monuments to him in Paris, in downtown Washington near DuPont Circle, and in numerous municipalities in Ukrainianheavy Canada. For that matter, theres a town called Shevchenko in Manitoba. Theres even a street (if a short street) named after him in Manhattans East Village. Nor does South America lack its Shevchenko statues.  His poetry collection Kobzar is probably the most translated Ukrainian text, mainly into Polish, English, German, Czech and Russian.

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On 25 February Ukraine will celebrate the 137th anniversary of the birth of the nations greatest female poet and the third most important figure in Ukrainian literature, after Taras Shevchenko and Ivan Franko. Who was she? Whats On finds out. Lesya Ukrainka, born Larysa Petrivna Kosach in Volyn in 1871, is famous for her drama, poetry, essays, translations, and criticism, all written in a Ukrainian thats both sophisticated and faithful to the everyday vernacular of the Ukrainian people.  She was a leading figure in Ukraines modernist movement and remains a popular author today. Growing up the child of intellectuals she absorbed both Ukrainian literature and the literature of Europe in general.

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January might be the quiet month when contemporary Ukraine sleeps off its holiday hangover, but historically its been an important one for the country. Whats On looked into three dates in January from the last century that proved very important for Ukraine. First there was 25 January, 1918, when the Ukrainian Peoples Republic announced its so-called Fourth Universal, which proclaimed independent Ukrainian statehood. (The document was actually dated 22 January, which sometimes causes confusion.) The Republic, of course, is beloved to the memory of Ukrainian patriots for being this historically subjugated countrys first real stab at ruling itself.

Its one of the worst anniversaries in Ukrainian history: 27 November, the day Ukrainians commemorate the beginning of Stalins artificial terror-famine of 1932-33 the so-called Holodomor that killed up to 10 million people. The famine represents one of the worst crimes against humanity in a twentieth century full of them, and a low point both for the resilient Ukrainian nation and the Soviet UNI0N. In memory of this unhappy anniversary, Whats On cast a glance back at an event the world still needs to know more about.

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Slavic girls are famously popular among Turkish men, but only one of them ever managed to influence the workings of the mighty Ottoman Empire.
That was the legendary Roksolana, the 16th-century Ukrainian slave girl who became the only legal wife of the Ottoman Emperor Suleyman the Magnificent, influencing his policies and becoming his closest advisor and confidant. Its one of the most fascinating, and unlikely, stories in Ukrainian history.  Born 70 kilometers south of Lviv in what was then the Kingdom of Poland, the girl who would become known in Istanbul as both Roksolana and Khourrem was really named Anastasia Lisovska.

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Almost a millennium ago, Turkic people like the Mongols played a destructive role in Kyiv, fighting with the natives and putting an end to Kyivan Rus civilisation. But that was a long time ago, and today Turkey is one of Ukraines biggest trade and cultural partners.

History buffs, Communist leader Petro Symonenko, and a good number of nostalgic Kyiv pensioners toting ragged Lenin banners will remember that 7 November marks the 90th anniversary of the Bolsheviks' overthrow of Russia's post-tsarist provisional government, which initiated the crucial phase of the Russian Revolution,

27 October marks the 45th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis' Black Saturday', when the United States and the Soviet UNI0N came chillingly close to nuclear war over the presence of Soviet strategic weapons in Cuba. What's On talks to a Red Army Colonel who was there.

Some bad apples aside, most Ukrainian hetmans, or Cossack leaders, cared deeply about their countrys well-being and are considered national heroes. In recognition of national Cossacks Day on 14 October, Whats On put together a list of the most influential hetmans in history.

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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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