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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.


On the Sofa with...

An Extraordinary Athlete

Were always on the lookout for new faces to feature in our On the Sofa segment, and this week, an athlete from Donetsk caught our eye. With nine Ironman triathlons under his belt, Viktor Zyemtsev is the most lauded triathlete in Ukraine. We caught him shortly before he took off to Hawaii to compete in the Ironman Triathlon World Championship later this month.
While triathlon competitions in Ukraine often take a backseat to football and other crowd-pleasers, the world of triathlons is not without its own fanbase, and its athletes are just as impressive as any footballer.

Completing the longest triathlon race, Ironman, is an impressive feat of individual discipline and strength: a full Ironman race consists of a 3.9km swim, a 180km cycle, and a full marathon (42.2km). And that's a lot. 

A Running Start
Although he is nearly 40-years-old in a field where many athletes hit a hard expiration date, Viktor says he still strives for victory every time he hits the track. And with 17 years of competitions to his credit, this veteran says he feels well-equipped to win the Ironman World Championship for the first time this year. 
Viktors career began 22 years ago, when he was finishing up his military career and first learned what a triathlon was. He was new to the sport, but hed already had a running start. At the age of 16, Viktor began running the 1,500 and 3,000m dashes on the local runners circuit, which explains why Zyemtsev regularly excels in the final running portion of his triathlons. He pragmatically points out, however, that it is sometimes very hard to realise your potential in the last round due to weariness. 

A Man Tempered by Iron
When I ask him what his training strategy is, Zyemtsevs answer is simple, Motivation helps a lot. But I have no idea where it comes from. Other than that, I try to not to train in my strongest discipline, and focus instead on the areas I feel weak in. This prepares me for all three rounds of the race. 
Usually training in the US, as this is the country where many of the Ironman races are held, he believes that an athlete should train where he competes and where the conditions are best. Crimea is also a beautiful place for training, but there is a lack of good swimming pools and its pretty expensive. Plus, its cheaper for me to work in the US. However, Im Ukrainian and I always come home, he adds with a smile. 
Of his myriad victories, Zyemtsev is proudest of three races in particular. They are his Ironman victory in Klagenfurt, Austria in 2002; his win at the International Triathlon UNI0N (ITU) race in Denmark in 2005; and the Ironman 70.3 Augusta in 2011. He believes that these are the races that shaped him as an athlete and imbued him with the confidence to pursue his latest goal: the gold medal at the World Championship at Ironman Hawaii on 13 October 2012. 
He recently earned his spot at the final Hawaii race by completing the Ironman Coeur dAlene in Idaho on 24 June of this year, finishing the whole race in 8 hours and 32 minutes, a full 10 minutes faster than his 32-year-old runner-up!

Victory and Strength 
He laughs off reports that call him the strongest man in the country. It is wrong to say that I am the strongest man in Ukraine. Every sport has its own special requirements, as do triathlons of various distances. I doubt I would do well in a shorter distance triathlon, let alone other sports. Plus, there are so many strong athletes in the history of Ukraine. Serhiy Bubka, for example.  
But it is not all fun and games. Viktor admits that he pays a price for all this glory. Training, recovering, and competing take up the bulk of Viktors time, though he tries to make time for his family. Sport is sport. Im fighting for victory 24-hours a day! Along with promises to bring home a shiny gold medal, these are his parting words as he prepares to board his flight to Hawaii.

Vadym Mishkoriz

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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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