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On the cover
¹7 (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 EuroMaidan’s three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the country’s 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 Abroad

“Kicking Butt” Ukrainian-style

Serge Lifar, Sigmund Freud, Vladimir Horowitz, Golda Meir, Ihor Sikorsky, Joe Dassin...What do these names have in common apart from worldwide fame? All were either born in Ukraine or have Ukrainian heritage. Despite its turbulent history and present economic and political woes, the land of Ukraine has always been rich in natural beauty, mineral resources and, above all, talented people. In this series What’s On focuses on famous Ukrainians living abroad.

Courtesy of numerous appearances in action or science fiction-themed movies, Milla Jojovich has cemented a position as an almost female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Hollywood. She is so ubiquitous with such genres that in 2006, music channel VH1 labelled her the “reigning queen of kick-butt”. Buzz about this Ukrainian daughter-made-good filtered back to her motherland after she burst into world consciousness in Luc Besson’s 1997 science fiction thriller The Fifth Element.

Her role as exotic beauty Leeloo – a “perfect being” who held the key to preventing evil from destroying the world – kicked her film career up a gear. It has been hit-and-miss since, her follow-up collaboration with Besson’s The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc bombed. Still, the Kyiv-born star has enjoyed consistent work in Tinsel Town and juggles movies with modelling, music, and fashion design.
Rewind back a little and Milla (birth name Milica Natasha) Jovovich was born on 17 December 1975, in Kyiv, then part of the USSR, to Serbian paediatrician Bogdan Jovovich and Soviet actress Galina Loginova. Much of Jovovich’s early childhood was spent flying back and forth between England, where her father had a medical practice, and Kyiv, where her mother resided. In 1980, when Jovovich was five, the family defected from the Soviet Ukraine – first to the UK, then the US – in search of a better life. They settled in Los Angeles, and soon after her parents divorced.
It seems adjusting to life in a capitalist country proved a challenge for the family, there was shock from their loss of social status – an elitist family transformed into an emigrant family. The transition was also difficult for Jojovich. Attending school as the Cold War was still being waged she was teased for being a “commie” and a “Russian spy”.

The Catwalk Calls
Following the divorce, her mother’s humble cleaning job became the sole source of income. In spite of the circumstances, Loginova – was determined to make her daughter a star. Thus, at the age of 12, Jovovich left school to focus on modelling, when American fashion and portrait photographer Richard Avedon featured her in Revlon’s Most Unforgettable Women in the World ads. Her appearance in the campaign caused a scandal due to her being underage, but nonetheless she continued as a model, working for L’Oreal, Christian Dior, Versace and other high-end brands.
Leaving school brought no regret according to Jovovich as she “was never, ever, ever accepted into the crowd.” Well, if the crowd doesn’t accept you – stand out from it! That was a credo young Jojovich appeared to follow – in 2004 she made more than $10 million, leading to her becoming the world’s highest paid supermodel. However just as Jojovich’s career was taking off her father was convicted of medical insurance fraud and would spend the next five years in prison...

A Star Is Born
In reality, Jovovich’s passions lay elsewhere – in movies, following her mother’s lead. She had been a bit player up to this point – in 1988 she made her acting debut in the television film The Night Train to Kathmandu, which was followed by her appearance in feature movie Two Moon Junction. Jovovich played her first notable silver screen role in Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991), a sequel to the Brooke Shields vehicle The Blue Lagoon. Alas, the movie was a failure...Six years later and The Fifth Element alongside Bruce Willis earned worldwide fame. Now she is most recognisable as the character of Alice from the Resident Evil franchise adapted from the video game of the same name. From the original through five sequels made and released through 2012, she is a Ukrainian kicking butt on screen and off it.

Top-five movies
Ultraviolet (2006)
Resident Evil (2002) (and subsequent sequels)
He Got Game (1998)
The Fifth Element (1997)
Dazed and Confused (1993)

As EuroMaidan continues, Jojovich has had Ukraine on her mind, posting this on her Facebook page on 30 January:
“I sit watching the news and my heart hurts so badly when I see my incredible, Ukrainian brothers and sisters suffering for what they believe. I pray so much that a peaceful solution will be found. Ukraine, I BELIEVE IN YOU!”

by Anna Azarova

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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didn’t 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 don’t 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 – children’s 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. What’s 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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