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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.



Dear Viktor Fedorovych,

It appears to us here at Whats On that youre having a few public relations disasters at the moment, and that you may be in need of some help. Together with the Tymoshenko debacle and the Russian gas dispute, it seems that youve managed to alienate just about everybody who matters on the world stage, to say nothing of the electorate back home. Whilst we here at Whats On hold no PR qualifications, were worldly-wise, and if you take our advice, youd struggle to do a worse job than you are currently. With that in mind, dear Viktor, we urge you to read on.

The most pressing issue is of course Tymoshenko. Her blonde braids and angel eyes are now behind bars, and this master media operator has made sure the world knows. America and Europe are on your case, and they mean business. Your card has been marked and your credibility battered. Trade agreements are now being questioned and international voices are starting to call you a dictator. In a word, youre buggered, but dont worry theres a way out of this. 
First it requires that you recognise the PR reality of the situation. She is the good-guy to your bad; the beauty to your beast; the golden-haired, tower-trapped damsel to your terror-intending twisted heart. Think Hollywood, think Disney this is classic movie material, and in the movies, the good guy always wins; especially if America has anything to do with it.
Within the predicament lies the solution. People love a happy ending, and this story is waiting for one. Everyone knows that it requires a white knight to come riding in. If that white knight isnt you, Viktor, then youll be immortalised as a villain on the world stage. What are you waiting for? Get that slender frame into your shining armour, aboard your trusty steed, and get thee hence to the tower, to slay the bad-guys and rescue brave Yulia. The (new) bad-guys have already been conveniently lined up, in the form of the justice system and an antiquated legal framework. This will clearly be a messy slaying, so make sure the cameras are rolling.
With Yulia now free and Europe off your back, youll need to turn your attention to Moscow. You were recently shown walking with Mr Putin and Mr Medvedev, but the body language of the terrible twins was such as to shut you out and make you look desperate. This cannot be allowed to happen again, Viktor! Youre bigger than both of them put together, and cannot be made to look like a bodyguard. But fear not, the answer is easy.
Next time you go for a walk in the park with them, take a mobile phone. If they start to do that closing-you-out thing again, pretend to take a call. This way the cameras will make you look like you were too busy and too important to talk to them face-to-face, and theyll look like theyre being made to wait until youve finished your conversation. Simple is beautiful, Viktor. Simple is beautiful.
After youve sorted out the terrible twins, youll need to get over to America and meet Barack Obama. Youve only been photographed meeting with him once, and it looks like youre asking for an autograph. Youll need to go again, this time with a White House invite. Most world leaders tour the big American TV stations and chat shows during their trip, with a bit of Oprah and/or Larry King. Hows your English coming along, Viktor? 
After all that, youll have to return home, because you wont get re-elected on good looks alone. Youre first priority is the countrys finances, because the PR situation in this area (to say nothing of the financial one) is looking desperate. The IMF is ignoring you, China is only cherry-picking assets from a distance, and your oligarch backers have been handed most state assets worth stealing. Add to that the request that you remove state subsidies for gas (a vote loser if ever there was one) and the situation really does look grim.
Fear not, dear Viktor, the answer is at-hand. We understand that land prices are still quite high, and that Russia is rather wealthy at the moment. Given that Crimea is a semi-autonomous region of Russian militarisation anyway, it seems strange for Ukraine to keep hold of it for the sake of ownership. Why not sell Crimea to Russia! Youd earn a fortune from it, and you could still go on holiday there. The nations financial headache would be cured in a heartbeat. 
Of course, as with all our letters Viktor, the advice is provided on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, and is only designed to help. However, we strongly feel that the above represents your best chance of PR success. Good luck, Viktor. God knows you need it.

Yours sincerely,
Whats On

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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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