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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.


Picture Perfect

Lviv got its massive Euro 2012 preparations underway in good time last week with the start of reconstruction works on the Ukraina football stadium, which will host group match ties during the June 2012 tournament. Work− ers are currently installing an undersoil heating system to help the stadium maintain all−year quality playing conditions ahead of 2012.

Photo: UNIAN

Last week saw a renewal of the recent political rallies featuring demonstrators bussed in from some of Ukraines most impoverished regions. With temperatures soaring in the May sunshine many participants took advantage of the Independence Square foun− tains to scrub themselves clean after sweaty overnight cross country journeys. They mob did not manage to keep the square itself clean, however, leaving it literally cov− ered in litter every evening and doing little to improve already frayed relations between Kyivites and the coachloads being brought to the capital.

Photo: UNIAN

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War gamers embrace in Zaporyzhya last week after having participated in a reenactment of a WWII battle as part of celebrations to mark the 62nd anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany.

Photo: UNIAN

Former US President George Bush offers a light to British Prime Minister John Major during the funeral of Russias first ever elected president Boris Yeltsin last week in Moscow. Both Bush and Major were in power when the Soviet UNI0N collapsed in 1991 and played significant roles in attempts to introduce democracy to the former totalitarian state. Since Yeltsin left office on New Years Eve 1999 his successor Vladimir Putin has been widely accused internationally of backsliding on democracy and reverting to a more authoritarian style of government. Domestically Putin enjoys enormous popularity as a result of the relative stability his rule has brought when compared to popular perceptions of the chaos of the Yeltsin years.

 Photo: Andriy Mossienko

Political tensions were briefly forgotten last week when news broke that Ukraine had been chosen to Co-host the 2012 European football championships with neighbours Poland. The success of the joint bid was partly down to a team effort from Ukraines most high-profile sportsmen and politicians, with a little help from Ukrainian football federation chief (and UEFA executive board member!) Hrihory Surkis. See Kyiv Today overleaf for more on Ukraines biggest international success to date! Photo: UNIAN

Ukraines political crisis finally boiled over into open hostilities 2 April following a series of mass rallies in Kyiv over the preceding weekend which succeeded in pressuring President Yushchenko into issuing a decree dissolving parliament and calling for new elections on 27 May. Parliament responded with an emergency all-night session in which pro-Yanukovich deputies voted through a batch of legislation attacking the office of the president while coalition supporters bussed in from the regions held a vigil from their tent city in adjacent Mariyinski Park. Rumours of possible military intervention circulated throughout the Ukrainian capital as many commentators likened the constitutional crisis to the attempted coup in Russia of 1993, which was resolved following a tank attack on the Russian Duma. Opposition leaders meanwhile promised to recreate the mass demonstrations in central Kyiv of 2004 and called on supporters to assemble on Independence Square.

 Photography: UNIAN/Maria Bykova

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Competitors from all over Europe gathered at Kyivs downtown ski resort over the weekend 3-4 March to participate in the latest international contest to be held in the Ukrainian capital. The Protasyv Yar Ski slope is only a few hundred metres in length but has been on the receiving end of constant improvements in recent years and now regluarly plays host to internationally sanctioned ski and snowboard events.

Photography: Roman Nesterovsky

Russian pole-vaulter Olena Isinbaeva was presented with a giant bar of gold (actually 40kg of chocolate as well as 1kg of solid gold worth approx. twenty thousand dollars) in Donetsk last weekend after breaking the world indoor ladies pole-vaulting record during an international tournament with a leap of 4.93 metres. Ukraines legendary vaulter and multiple world record holder Serhiy Bubka is also from East Ukrainian industrial stronghold Donetsk, and is honoured in the city with his own monument, but he was never presented with such a sweet-toothed treat!

 Photo: UNIAN

Viktor Yanukovich tried to sell Ukraine as the leading investment opportunity for 2007 at last weeks Davos Forum of world leaders in Switzerland but was met with a somewhat muted response, largely due to persisting concerns over the Yanukovich governments commitment to keeping Ukraine on the path to democracy and European integration. Support came from the unlikely quarter of former former American president Bill Clinton, who sent a taped address in which he argued, Gaining membership of the European UNI0N is an important and attainable goal for the Ukrainian government., that has the potential to create a stronger Europe, but many European observers including EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn remained skeptical. Despite the widespread uncertainty over Ukraines current direction, the attention given to the country at Davos nevertheless illustrates the countrys rising international profile.

 Photography: Andriy Mossienko

One adventurous young Kyivlanka stands by as her prince takes the plunge on the Water Blessing annual Orthodox holiday down in Gydropark. Unseasonally warm temperatures meant that the usual ice flows were missing on this occasion, but it was still cold enough to prevent all but the hardiest of people from taking to the river!

 Photo: Maria Bykova

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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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