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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.


Ukraine Today

The Fight for Freedom

Almost 200 years ago Lord Acton coined the oft quoted phrase: Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Those words capture the reasons for a phenomenon as old as human history revolution. The 20th and 21st centuries have brought more revolutions than in all recorded history. Whats On looks at recent revolutions as Ukraine awaits the outcome of its own.

 You could easily write a hefty tome about revolutions across the globe, especially those of the past three decades, which changed the post-World War II power balances and yet again redrew the world map. Some have been bloodless and some have erupted into civil war. The common thread in all has been people, ordinary citizens who have taken a stand for freedom, democracy and an end to tyranny. Here we look at revolutions both in Europe and the Middle East and find parallels with Ukraine.

The Wall Falls 1989
A symbolic act and the first step toward the fall of communism and democratic freedom for much of Europe was the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. On 4 November, people came out in protest on both sides of the Wall. On 9 November, a representative of the government of the German Democratic Republic Günter Schabowski announced the visa regime would be simplified for East Germans, but it did nothing to quell protests. That evening, as the government bowed to public pressure and opened border crossings through the wall, East Germans took matters into their own hands, tearing down large sections and opening the way for the further emergence of democracy in Europe and the rest of the world.

Romania Revolts 1989
Unlike other Warsaw Pact states, Romania was never slavishly pro-Soviet in the years following World War II, but the peoples republic was to see a Stalinist-like leader in the form of Nicolae Ceausescu who came into power in 1965. Initially a popular leader, he was praised in the West and at home for his denunciation of the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and a brief relaxation in internal repression ensued. That all changed when rapid economic growth gave way to austerity and political repression and the amassing of personal wealth. In the wake of this, which peaked in the early 1980s, the first peaceful protests started. It took protesters nine years to gather enough support and power to finally overrun the existing authority. The revolution started on 16 December 1989 when Pastor Tokes Laszlo, the head of a separatist movement, was kicked out of his apartment and lost his job. Ceausescu acted immediately the same night, allowing the use of water cannons and firearms against protestors. It took Ceausescu less than a week to understand he no longer had power. The Romanian Army took the side of protestors and captured Ceausescu on 22 December as he tried to flee the country. On 25 December, Ceausescu and his wife Elena were sentenced to death for crimes against the people and executed by firing squad the same evening. The lives of 1,104 protestors were lost in pursuit of freedom.

Moldova Harnesses The Internet 2009
The advent of the digital world has allowed civil dissent to spread virally civil action is coordinated via social media and information and events play out live on the web. Yet to the outside world the revolt of 2009 in Moldova went largely unnoticed. The revolution that kicked off in the capital Chisinau was called the Twitter Revolution, as protestors coordinated their actions through social networks. Another nickname came from the weapon used by rebels bricks. The other popular name is the Grape Revolution. The two-day revolution was kicked-off on 7 April 2009 by an opposition dissatisfied by the results of the parliamentary elections that provided the Communist Party with a majority in parliament. Eyewitnesses to the event say protestors were equally focused on looting the House of Parliament and consuming wine obtained at overtaken shops. Still, as a result, a recount of votes and later a re-run election was announced resulting in the Communist Party losing control over the country.

Egypt Falters But Persists 2011 and 2013
On 25 January 2011, Egyptians took to the streets in demonstrations, marches, plaza occupations, riots, non-violent civil resistance, acts of civil disobedience and labour strikes demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak who had ruled the country since 1981. They got what they were asking for on 11 February but at the cost of 846 lives. Subsequently, a military government came to power electing Mohamed Morsi, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, as president. Despite the initial revolution being mostly successful, two years later the political crises caused a military coup. On 3 July 2013, after numerous protests against the president, who had granted himself unlimited powers, Minister of Defence Abdel Fattah took over the authority and gave power to the acting president Adly Mahmoud Mansour. On 26 July Morsi was jailed, however he did not lose his supporters who continue the struggle. On 14 and 15 January this year a constitutional referendum was held, with Egypt adopting new constitution supported by 98.1% of voters.

Bloodshed In Libya 2011
The Libyan Revolution started from their Day of Anger on 17 February 2011. The opposition against the regime led by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi acted quickly taking over control of a number of cities. The conflict escalated and in August the opposition took over Tripoli with Gaddafi escaping. On 23 October, the last of Gaddafis fortresses in Sirte was overrun and the dictator was killed without trial. Twenty-five-thousand people were killed in the conflict.

Syrian Infighting Turns Bloody 2011
The Syrian Uprising grew out of other protest movements in the Middle East, including that of Libya, dubbed the Arab Spring. In March 2011, the massive anti-government protests in Syria turned into a military confrontation, that soon turned to civil war, that continues today. The call to revolt was made on a Facebook page inviting citizens to join their own Day of Anger on 4 February. On 29 March, President Bashar al-Assad stepped back a little and fired the prime minister and his government. The number of victims continued to rise. In May, the EU introduced sanctions against Syria. On 12 April 2012, attempts to mediate failed, and from summer 2012 the international community officially recognised a state of civil war in Syria. Information about the use of chemical weapons started appearing in media in 2013. The number of people killed since the conflict erupted is estimated to be 115,000.

Turkey Protests 2013
Protests in Turkey started on 28 May 2013 because of the decision to demolish Taksim Gezi Park in Istanbul. The authoritys reaction was inadequate. The police used teargas to disperse protestors. Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan seemed not to notice a peaceful protest that evolved into a revolution movement that aimed for the resignation of the entire government, including Erdogan. On 3 July, the court annulled the decision regarding the Park but the situation had already gone too far. From August to December the situation seemed to calm, however on 30 December people flocked to the square again after Erdogan fired 1,700 policemen who were working on corruption cases. Today, Erdogan seems like he has lost all connection to reality, however is still trying to manipulate the situation. It is reported 10 people were killed in the events.

Many of the actions by protestors involved in these movements for democracy have similarities with those taking place on the streets of Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities today. While the revolutionary goals and their results may have been different for each nation, the one thing that unites them all is the trampling of basic, fundmental human rights by their governments and the request of demonstrators that justice to be restored, or in most cases instilled.

by Vadym Mishkoriz

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Read also:
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  • EuroMaidan Celebrities Weigh In
  • Pro and Anti

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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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