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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

They Changed the Country

Throughout our illustrious past, there have been many influential people whose names have been cast into the books of Ukrainian history. It goes without saying that almost all of them were Ukrainian, but there are also many foreigners who have had a tremendous impact on the development of this country. Some of them pushed the nation forward, while others caused deadlock. Rather than focus on the bad, lets take a look at those who done good.

We begin our journey with a historical figure, who is said to first mention the city of Kyiv in his addresses to the people. According to biblical theory, Apostle St Andrew travelled a lot, once visiting the territory now known as Ukraine. Born in Bethsaida as an ethnic Jew, he made a long journey from his motherland to preach Gods message to the pagan people of Eastern Europe. Whilst doing this, he saw the hills surrounding the now booming metropolis of Kyiv, and said that a mighty city named Kyiv would be built on the very spot. 
Supporters of this version of the birth of Kyiv assume St Andrew as the real founder of the city, and that Kiy, Shchek, Khoryv and their sister Lybid are just transformed symbols from legend. Kiy, for example, might come from the Old Russian word for crook, something St Andrew carried with him on his journeys. Likewise, Khoryv is a name for Mountain Sinai and is mentioned many times in the Bible. Then theres Shchek, which might come from the Hebrew Shekina, meaning the dwelling of Gods presence. And finally, Lybid is also the name of the river that could have been poetically interpreted as a girls name. All of the aforementioned supports the theory that the original founder of Kyiv might indeed be Jewish St Andrew, a man with a talent for writing beautiful prose. 
If the authenticity of the previous legend is to be doubted, lets look at another, which features four western foreigners. Some claim that Kyiv was  indeed founded by Kiy, Shchek and Khoryv along with their sister Lybid, but that the siblings were Polyany (modern Poland) tribesmen, thus making them Ukrainian progenitors. Other legends state that the brothers came from Iran, or even that they were of Scandinavian origin. No matter from where the brothers originate, they were seen as strangers to these lands.

From Far Off Lands
Throughout the ages, Ukraine and its capital Kyiv have continued to develop into the beautiful region we see today. With regards to the capital itself, its a known fact that many of the citys most picturesque and well-known landmarks were constructed by insightful foreigners who helped embellish the once modest town. For example, St Andrews Church on Andriivskiy Uzviz was finished in 1754 under the careful direction of Italian architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli. Later, he also worked on Mariinskiy Palace. Even though he was Italian, Rastrelli managed to capture the essence of the Ukrainian land, which explains why his works fit Kyiv so perfectly. 
Ukraine had a difficult life throughout all these years. There were many natives and foreigners who selfishly wanted to grab a plot of land for themselves without thinking about its people. Another vivid example of a foreigner who had a great impact on the history of Ukraine is Karl XII. By his treaty with Hetman Mazepa and Catherine the Great, he rid Ukraine of the Zaporizhska Sich and Cossack oppression.
It is also important to point out those whose social politics truly helped the nation. In 1861, Oleksandr II continued his fathers reforms and cancelled serfdom, which had previously acted as a sore thumb on Ukraines history for many years prior. According to the statistics, before the reign of Oleksandr II, more than 50% of citizens of the Russian Empire were born slaves. It meant they were under rule of their masters until their death, and, incidentally, were paid far less than that needed to live sustainably. Oleksandr I cut the rate of serfdom by half, while his son, Oleksandr II, cancelled serfdom completely, introducing a far more European approach towards labour. 

Here at Home 
In 1828, having visited the south of Ukraine and been so inspired by it, German prince Duke Friedrich Ferdinand von Anhalt-Köthen breathed life into one of his ideas. He began a sanctuary project called Askania Nova to conserve the beauty of Ukrainian wildlife. The sanctuary continues to exist today, covers over 333km2, and represents thousands of biota species, including those that are now in the Red Book. Unfortunately for the Duke, the Red Army seized all of his lands and belongings in 1919. 
In 1869, Welsh entrepreneur John Hughes arrived in Ukraine to buy a plot of land and start a business here. His steel plant grew rapidly, and very soon turned into a village, and then a town that was then named after him Yuzivka. While it was renamed Donetsk in 1924, Hughes plant remained an instrumental part of the region. Having introduced a wave of new technology, it quickly became the countrys key industrial centre. 
Another famous figure in Ukrainian history, born and raised in Russia (even though the two countries were one during the mid-20th century), is Mykola Amosov a talented prodigy in his field, who saved many lives with both his hands and intellect. After graduating from Archangelsk Medical Institute, he headed the Kyiv Medical Institute. Thanks to his innovations and techniques, heart surgery became much safer and more widespread, allowing patients necessary treatments without endangering their lives.   

Vadym Mishkoriz

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Comments (2)
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ydtsfdlbnpt | 20.10.2012 00:40

xknAPB czaifiopfbur

Norm | 19.10.2012 13:59

Was toatlly stuck until I read this, now back up and running.

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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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