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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 Travel

Hetman Dream Home

Despite the illustrious history of the Cossacks, few artefacts of the Ukrainian hetmans survived to our time, and those relics that did endure are in museums and private collections outside of this country. Similarly, almost all architectural heritage is gone destroyed by Soviet decossackisation, war or simply neglect. There is one palace, however, that can foot it with some of the worlds greats the Hetman Palace of Count Kyrylo Grygorovych Rozumovskiy.

 It stands testament to the end of an era and its story of survival is remarkable abandoned before completion, subjected to fire twice, damaged in World War II, and the subject of faltering restoration attempts for more than century, the beautiful palace of one of the last Ukrainian hetmans finally stands in all its glory. Kyrylo Rozumovskiy was once lauded by royalty, but his bid to gain more autonomy for Ukraine led to a fall from grace. What does a man who has lost all power do? In this case he builds a palace. Whats On details the palaces amazing backstory and then goes on a tour.

Monumental Self-Indulgence
The former ghost-town city of Baturyn in the Chernigiv region was gifted to Rozumovskiy by Empress Elizabeth in 1750 to allow him to transfer the capital of the Hetmanate (Ukrainian Cossack State) from Glukhiv to Baturyn soon after he was elected hetman. He transformed the city; setting up manufacturing, schools and a hospital with plans to establish a university. Rozumovskiy had grand designs and in 1754, he invited Italian architect Antonio Rinaldi, who had earned great prestige for his construction of the palace of Caserta near Naples, to look at possible designs for the city... But that was not to eventuate.
Rozumovskiys intentions to gain more autonomy for Ukraine were not met with enthusiasm by Imperial Russia and he was stripped of his role as hetman in 1764 and exiled from returning to his homeland. Only in 1794 did he return to Baturyn, his ego appearing unbruised. He still had grand plans and decided to establish a grandiose palace and park for himself. Thus, he commissioned Scottish architect Charles Cameron, a favourite of Empress Catherine II, who had designed palaces in Tsarkoye Selo, Pavlovsk and other places. However, this would be the first and only time one of Camerons designs would be realised in Ukraine. In 1799, construction of the neoclassical 55-room, three-storied palace along with two outbuildings and the park began.

Death, Demise And Resurrection
Rozumovskiy never got to see his dream home completed; in 1803 he died, aged 74. His death changed everything, decoration work on the palace stopped and it was abandoned. And so began its long decline. In 1824, a fire broke out that practically gutted the building.
The issue of restoration was first raised at the XIV All-Russian Archaeological Convention in 1908. Plans to restore it appeared to gain further traction the following year when Rozumovskiys great-grandson, Kamil Rozumovskiy, donated money for restoration with the idea of establishing a folk art museum. In 1911, the palace was placed under the guardianship of the Society for Preservation and Protection of the Architectural and Ancient Monuments in Russia and restoration began an architect from St Petersburg, Oleksandr Bilogrud, oversaw the work until 1913.
But history was to intervene, World War I and the Russian Revolution led to the work being abandoned. A second fire extensively damaged the palace in 1923 and by this time the outbuildings were completely ruined. During World War II, the façade walls and decorative elements were seriously damaged. The second half of the 20th century saw several restoration attempts, which preserved the state of the palace, though none were completed. In 2002, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted the Comprehensive Programme for Hetman Capital Monument Preservation and work began. In August 2009, the renovated palace complex opened complete for the first time in its 200-year history.

Looking At The Dream
Rozumovskiys dream is now realised and it is impressive as we found out when we visited. The palace complex consists of the palace and the rebuilt outbuildings located on both sides of an extensively landscaped park. The main façade of the palace is decorated with a loggia featuring eight columns and offers a magnificent view of the river Seim valley. The opposite side of the façade is decorated with Tuscan columns and a balcony.
Inside the palace, on the ground floor, we are greeted by portraits of Rozumovskiy and the architect Cameron. The interiors are decorated with replicas of Rozumovskiy family portraits and portraits of Alexander I, his wife Elisabeth Alexseyivna and Catherine II. On the ground floor there is also a chapel with an altar and icons from the 18th century. A key part of the display is a priceless heirloom Rozumovskiys own broadsword, which was presented to the palace by descendant Gregor Rozumovskiy at its official opening.
The dining hall is decorated with figures from Greek mythology, a theme we find will repeat throughout the palace. The dining table is huge, seats 20 and is adorned with 11 large candelabra from the 19th century. Its opulent and it is honestly hard to take it all in in just one visit you leave with a sense of awe, not just at the original ambition of Rozumovskiy, but also at the fact this place has risen again like a phoenix from the ashes.
Unfortunately, Ukraine is often too cash-strapped to finance the revival of historical monuments; this palace is one of the few positive exceptions. Hopefully it will become an example to follow.

by  Oleksandra Obushna

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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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