|On the cover|
Tunnelling Towards Hope
|28 February - 6 March 2014|
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.
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.
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 42|
17 November - 23 NovemberDance Deities. Brilliant Ballet with Reworked Classic ‘Blue God
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|From THE EDITOR - Editorial|
The disappointments have come thick and fast since the euphoria of Maidan died away just under two years ago. We have had to suffer behind the scenes deals with the enemy, political betrayals, broken promises, shattered dreams, the return of the old guard, unrestrained corruption, and, worst of all, the price of sugar has gone up. In general it’s fair to say that things didn’t quite work out as everybody hoped they would during those incredible days when Ukrainians fought for democracy in the snow. At the time it seemed that the entire geopolitical landscape had shifted beneath our feet and the road to EU membership and the sunny uplands of Euro-prosperity lay wide open. In retrospect it is now fairly obvious that this ‘orange optimism’ was actually a powerful hallucinogenic. We simply got carried away, and the many millions of Ukrainians who said at the time that no good would come of it must be feeling rather pleased with themselves. The fact remains, though, that even without the benefit of orange-tinted spectacles Ukraine is a very different country today than it was under Kuchma. To mark the second anniversary of the Orange Revolution we’ve taken a look at all the ways in which Ukrainian society has changed in the past two years and found that the Orange Revolution has impacted on everything from people’s interest in politics to the books Kyivites read and way the news is presented on TV (see pages 22-25 for more). We can only speculate as to what the definitive historical verdict on the Orange Revolution will be, but I’d say that for the time being a functioning parliamentary democracy with a vocal opposition, an emerging free press, increased public participation in the political process and a renewed sense of national identity is a reasonable return.
|Ring King Klitschko Keeps World Title - Whats Up?|
Ukrainian heavyweight Vladimir Klitschko knocked out previously undefeated American Calvin Brock to retain his IBF world title at Madison Square Garden 11 November. The 30-year-old Ukrainian knocked out his opponent with a clean right in the seventh round, setting Klitschko up for a potential $20 million defense against former champ Evander Holyfield. Klitschko’s victory once more puts Slavic boxers in the ascendancy, a fact which white supremacist bloggers in America have used to hijack the mild-mannered fighter as the latest in a long line of great white hopes. Klitschko is one of three former Soviet citizens to currently hold one of four versions of the world heavyweight title, and fight fans are now anticipating a mouth-watering series of unification bouts.
|Holodomor Still Divides Ukrainians - Whats Up?|
65% of Ukrainians now blame the Soviet authorities for the 1932-33 famines which killed millions, but although this represents a clear national majority 35% of those questioned this September across the country by the Kyiv International Sociology Institute refused to lay the blame directly at the Kremlin’s door, with 11% still insisting that the famine was result of natural causes. This natural causes theory, long championed by apologist for the Stalinist regime still has supporters in independent Ukraine despite a wealth of evidence to demonstrate the deliberate, centrally orchestrated nature of the tragedy. As part of the Soviet UNI0N’s war against peasant farmers and ‘kulaks’ in agricultural Ukraine Stalin’s regime requisitioned all foodstuffs from the Ukrainian countryside repeatedly throughout the early 1930s, with the highest death toll coming in late 1932 and early 1933 when widespread opposition to the massive collectivisation process of Soviet agriculture led to harsh measures which caused mass starvation throughout Soviet Ukraine.
|Kazakh Language Switch - Whats Up?|
Former Soviet republic Kazakhstan is looking to develop its national language by switching from the Cyrillic to Latin alphabet. A Kazakh government commission will analyze previous experience in making the switch to Latin in countries such as Turkey and work should start on the new version of the Kazak language in spring 2007. The move is seen as an attempt to make the country appear more Western-friendly and accessible to the international community.
|Internet Enemies Named - Whats Up?|
French free speech organisation Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has released a list of ‘Enemies of the Internet’ featuring countries that RSF believes are suppressing freedom of expression on the internet. Three former Soviet republics, Belarus, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are all included in the thirteen country blacklist, which also features Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, and Vietnam. RSF invited visitors to their site to leave voice messages for Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo, expressing their views of the firm’s involvement in China
|Russia Bans Spoof Film - Whats Up?|
Russia has come out in brotherly humourless solidarity for neighbouring Kazakhstan by banning the hit movie ‘Borat’ for poking fun at the little known Asian republic. The jokes in ‘Borat’ revolve around the main character, a fake Kazakhstan journalist’s shocking political incorrectness which extends to sexism, racism, anti-semitism and homophobia. The character is the creation of British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, who claims it is an satire on the bigotry of the world in general and not a direct dig at Kazakhstan, whose officials are nevertheless clearly not amused. One Kazakh diplomat says that the depiction of his country as violent, primitive and oppressive bears no resemblance to reality. (BBC News)
|EU Split over Russia - Whats Up?|
Top secret minutes from a recent EU-Russia summit that were found in a Madrid dustbin last week have shed new light on the dynamics within the EU and its relations with energy superpower Russia. Prior to the summit EU government heads discussed how best to present a united front, but could not agree on priorities, with Spanish PM Jose Louis Zapatero calling on a tough stance to demand Russia show more respect for democracy and less aggression towards Georgia and Ukraine. French president Jacques Chirac was not ready to take on Putin over democracy, however, arguing that ‘the security and stability of Europe depends largely on Russia.’ (El Pais)
|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|
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.