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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.


What's On Archive ¹ 35

29 September - 5 OctoberSizzling Sveta
TV Star and Pop Icon:
The Rise and Rise
of Ms. Loboda

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Ukraine Explorer
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Holiday Historic Lviv Celebrates Birthday - This Week

750 Anniversary Celebrations of Lviv, Lviv, 29 September - 1 October
Various events will be held this week to mark the 750 anniversary of Lviv. Unlike the majority of Ukrainian cities, Lviv remained outside of Russian for culture for most of its history, being a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire for centuries, a past which is strongly reflected in the city’s Mittle Europa architecture. A cultural hubbub and cradle of the Ukrainian national movement, Ukraine has been home to a host of writers, artists and musicians throughout the years, and continues to produce many of Ukraine’s leading and acclaimed acts. With this tradition in mind it is appropriate that a book festival ‘Nalit’, will be part of the celebrations, with both established authors and aspiring talents coming together to talk shop and present their works. Street theatre, drinking contests, concerts, and the obligatory firework display will add to the merriment.

From THE EDITOR - Editorial

Remont’ is one of the very few Russian words that for some reason all foreigners seem to know, and so it is with great pleasure that I present to you this week’s fully remonted issue of What’s On! We’ve been covering life in the Ukrainian capital for seven years now and seen huge improvements all over town along the way, so it is only right that we should freshen the magazine up and try to keep pace with what is fast becoming one of Europe’s boom towns. While we hope readers enjoy the new-look What’s On the biggest remont of the week is undoubtedly over in Lviv, where huge efforts have been made to spruce up the city in time for its 750th birthday celebrations this weekend. I’m assured that the results are stunning, which is great news for Ukraine’s tourist industry, as a well remonted Lviv has the potential to rival the likes of Krakow and Budapest as a Mittle Europa weekend break destination. Tourism aside, anyone in Kyiv who has never been to Lviv will no doubt associate it primarily with nationalist extremism, which is silly really, for while there is reason to view the place as the heartland of Ukrainian patriotic sentiment there is so much more to Lviv than all those ‘Banderivtsi’ jibes suggest. Such negative stereotypes about one region or another are all too common in patchwork Ukraine and I have lost count of the number of times I’ve heard Kyivites tell horror stories about the dangers of speaking Russian on the streets of Lviv. Having lived there for a year in the 1990s I can confirm that this is simply not true, and it is a crying shame that so many non-Halichians remain quick to point to such perceived prejudices rather than taking pride in what is a sensationally beautiful and incurably romantic Ukrainian city.

Here’s to you, Lviv!
Peter Dickinson, Editor

Playing at Ukrainian Party Politics! - Whats Up?

Think that you can do a better job of running the country than President Viktor Yuschenko? Would you have appointed l’ill Yulia rather Donbass bruiser Viktor Yanukovich as Prime Minister? Well now anybody with a PC can live out their political fantasise thanks to a new game ‘Choose Yourself a Prime-Minister’. Having decided which party or bloc you wish to represent, you then encounter a series of opposition logos which have to be blocked by your own emblem. If you’re lucky, you’ll form a majority in the Rada and be able to form a government, and without the four month delay as is par for the course in real life. Find the game at http://gpu-ua.info/game_about.php. (Staff Journalists)

Russian Deputies Give Up Deadly Car Privileges - Whats Up?

State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov recently announced that he, along with the rest of the United Russia faction which he heads, intend to remove the blue warning light from the roof of his car. The move came less than a week after President Vladimir Putin told Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev to address the problem of cars that abuse warning lights and sirens to justify dangerous driving. Cars with warning lights are reserved for emergency vehicles and federal and regional officials, and as such allow puffed-up politicians to ride roughshod over traffic laws and pedestrians in equal measure in an effort to get to buffets and dacha gatherings on time. Drivers lending the lights to friends or, as happens in the provinces, secretly selling them magnifies the problem. Astonishingly, cars with warning lights have been blamed for many of the road accidents which kill around 30,000 – 35,000 people in Russia every year with 215 accidents, some of them fatal, involving drivers using warning lights occurring over the last six months. Duma deputies have also declared their intention to give up their special license plates, which feature a Russian flag on the right side instead of the number that on normal plates indicates the region where a car has been registered. (ww.interfax.com)

Yulia Stars in German Play - Whats Up?

A political play chronicling the drama of the Orange Revolution has been staged in Germany with Yulia Timoshenko cast as people’s heroine. The drama, entitled ‘Yulia Timoshenko’ is an unabashed eulogy to Ukraine’s political princess, with many other key figures from the popular uprising omitted from the events. “As a dramatic persona Viktor Yuschenko is simply an uninteresting subject. Maybe he is a better politician. Yulia Timoshenko however is a pop star, revolutionary icon, and a person in whom voters invest their hopes” said the play’s director Ansevi Kenig on why the Ukrainian president makes no appearance in proceedings. Kenig together with Anna Lebenski, the actress who plays Timoshenko, also told journalists that it was inconceivable that they would lend their creative talents to a play about German Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying that she fails to inspire the same amount of passion and devotion as Yulia; “I play the part of Yulia with pleasure” gushed Lebenski. (Obkom)

Yanukovich’s Winning Grin - Whats Up?

It seems American spin-doctors do work - the same old Kuchma cronies may be back in power but there’s one major difference; Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich can’t stop smiling! Famed for his frown and hunched bandit-like demeanor the former convict is now in full baby-kissing mode, walking around like somebody has inserted a large coat hanger into his mouth. That somebody could well be the team of American PR gurus brought in by the Party of the Regions head in an effort to improve his image both at home and particularly in the West, where the one time racing driver and street tough has recently been charming gullible European politicians with his glistening display of resplendent pearly whites. Just as former President Kuchma was rumoured to have taken two Ukrainian language lessons a day so as to be able to speak in public without risk of being subjected to ridicule, it is widely believed that strapping Vik regularly practices his winning grin in the mirror at least once a day. (Staff Journalists)

Ex Via Gra Girl.Sizzles on Screen -

Autumn has begun with a bang for sensational pin-up singer Svetlana Loboda, with album and video releases coming hot on the heels of her debut as a television presenter. She took time out of her busy schedule to share her impressions with What’s On readers.




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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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