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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.


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¹5 (2009)/2009
20 February - 26 February
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From the Editor (5) - Editorial
The new U.S. president has been in office for less than a month as I write this, but already there’s whispering that Washington’s relationship with Kyiv will change. That is, we Americans might be less willing to support President Yushchenko with that degree of slavering affection with which we’ve supported him since the Orange Revolution transformed him in American eyes into the Ukrainian George Washington, an endlessly admirable icon of goodness. At the same time, Washington wants better relations with the Kremlin. Washington, of course, has long used Yushchenko as a stick with which to jab the Russian bear in the eye. If this whispering is true, and Washington’s post-Soviet policy really is changing, then thank god, because the Bush-era American passion for Yushchenko and the related disparagement of Russia and its interests have not only been bad for my own native country’s interests – they’ve also been bad for Ukraine. Why?


Mayor, Pop Heartthrob for Old Women - Whats Up?
Kyiv’s mayor and an all-around weird guy Leonid ‘Kosmos’ Chervonetsky, the Rolls Royce-riding champion of the city’s pensioners, has apparently cut an album. To be released on an undisclosed date and containing popular and ‘heartfelt’ songs from the ‘80s, the disc comes almost a year after another of the mayor’s cultural productions — his 2008 memoirs Confessions of a Mayor (fans take note: he’s promised more chapters).


Anti-Semitism Reportedly Down in Ukraine - Whats Up?
This is good news: Ukraine has become a safer place to live for its Jewish community. According to Alexander Sagan, chairman of Ukraine’s State Committee on Nationalities and Religion, “statistics” prove that “the level of anti-Semitism in 2008 decreased in general compared with 2006-2007.” That’s a statement that, given a couple of garish attacks on Jews in 2008, recalls the old quip that there are lies, damned lies and statistics, but the statement is being corroborated by local Jewish leaders. Joseph Zissels, for example, the head of the Va’ad of Ukraine, told the press that the number of anti-Jewish publications in this country “has considerably decreased, as did anti-Semitic manifestations compared with the previous period,” and apparently Kyiv Rabbi Dov Bleich agrees.


Yulia Tymoshenko, the New Molotov - Whats Up?
Sometimes, the cosmic, slow-mo fistfight between Prime Minister Tymoshenko and Viktor Yushchenko gets tedious. But when they land a punch, the slugfest can get downright funny. Take the latest verbal volley over Tymoshenko’s dealings with Russia. Ukraine, as we all know, is in dire economic straits, and may not get the next tranche from the IMF. No doubt with these facts in mind, Tymoshenko apparently reached a deal whereby the government could borrow $5 billion from Russia if the situation grew truly desperate.


More Ukrainians Needed, Please - Whats Up?
A new report from the United Nations Secretary General’s Office verifies what everyone’s been talking about when the talk has been Ukrainian demographics: this country is losing people, fast, and the upshot is that there could be a mere 30 million Ukrainians by 2050, down from around 45 million now. Love Ukraine though we do, we have to say none of this surprising, as Ukrainians are famously averse to worrying about their health, and this is the only country we’ve ever heard of where, in this day and age, smoking is getting even more popular. (Salo’s probably not so good for you either, but what’s life without salo?) Of course, falling populations are par for the course for most of the developed world, and there is one consolation out there for people worried about the obvious geopolitical ramifications of this.


Weird Days Here in Ukraine - Whats Up?
Back in the nineties, the phrase ‘sick man of Europe’ (said to have been coined by Tsar Nikolai I to describe the Ottoman Empire back then) tended to get applied to a reeling and chaotic Russia a lot. These days, Russia’s still not in robust health (will it ever be?), but this perhaps overused epithet is starting to be uttered in the context of Ukraine, which just two years ago so many people were praising in the West as a massive success. (Maybe we should look on the bright side: at least people are admitting that Ukraine is part of Europe.)


Tango of Life in Song and Dance at the Operetta Theatre - This Week
Tango of Life, Operetta Theatre (53/3 Chervonoarmiyska), 22 February at 19.00
Tango of Life is premiering this season at the Operetta Theatre, and it represents an experiment for the venue: it’s a dance programme that includes elements of modern ballet. Bohdan Strutynsky, who runs the theatre, wrote the script with the troupe in mind. The plot concerns love, and Strutynsky has said that his aim was to help the busy people of the big city remember their human sides and not become robots.


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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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