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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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9 February - 15 February

Where to spend St. Valentine’s Day in romantic Kyiv. Love Struck!

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From THE EDITOR - Editorial

I have lost count of the number of times I’ve heard Ukrainian friends express their admiration for what they like to think of as the decency and loyalty of the professional criminal classes, or wax lyrical about how their strict code of honour and sense of morality are far superior to anything you’ll find in wider Ukrainian society. There is a fascination with the customs, traditions and slang of the professional criminal classes that crosses almost all social barriers and will be on display once more this week at a Kyiv tattoo festival which will feature masterclasses on the complex subculture of prison tattoos and their symbolism (see pages 20-23 for details). In a society where so many people have served time in prison, whether in Soviet-era camps or following the economic meltdown of the post-Soviet years, it is perhaps hardly surprising that an entire parallel world of terminology and symbols should have emerged. The reverence in Ukraine for the ‘true bandit’ goes much deeper than that, where in the absence of any historical traditions of good government or civil rights achievements the only figures to have emerged with much credit over the years have been the professional criminals. These figures are widely celebrated in Ukraine for living outside the corrupt system and, allegedly, adhering to a strict code of conduct that includes echoes of both medieval chivalry and mafia machismo. I personally find this idea of honourable Slavic bandits so much wishful thinking, but there is no denying that there remains a huge amount of romance attached to the criminal fraternity in this part of the world. The effect this has on Ukrainian society as a whole is unlikely to be particularly beneficial, but we can at least be thankful that leading members of the government no longer see fit to use prison jargon when making official statements as was the case just a few years ago, which would suggest that the bandit romance may be in decline in Ukraine. Bez Bazaara! Peter Dickinson, Editor   

Battle of the Viktors Takes to the Big Screen - Whats Up?

It would appear to be open season on Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, with allies turning on the former hero of the revolution and foes gathering to stab the head of state in the back. His Foreign Minister was forced to fall on his sword last week following a long dispute with the Yanukovich government, and things have become so rough on the good ship Yushchenko that he is now being attacked in the cultural sphere where he once reigned supreme. Yushchenko has long made it known that he hopes to stand as patron of a Hollywood blockbuster style movie based on the literary character ‘Taras Bulba’. The Gallic legend Gerard Depardieu has met the president on numerous occasions with a view to starring in the production and has even read the script adaptation of Mykola Gogol’s literary masterpiece.


Global Orange Echoes - Whats Up?

It may well seem like Ukraine’s Orange Revolution was a long, long time ago right now as the political situation moves from unsatisfactory to critical, but the world remembers and the impact of Ukraine’s historic popular uprising continues to be felt. Over in Pakistan the leaders of the Pakistan People’s Party have warned President General Perves Musharraf that if he doesn’t hold free and fair elections there would be an ‘Orange Rvolution; in Pakistan to remove him from power. Across the Atlantic, meanwhile, a candidate running for the post of Kansas City Mayor has announced that his campaign colour is set to be orange in honour of the Ukrainin people’s fight for their democratic rights. The brilliantly named candidate Mark Funkhouser claimed that he would be campaigning on an orange ticket to symbolise his plans to shake things up at City Hall with open, as oppsed to backroom governance.

Ukraine’s New Symbol - Whats Up?

The Ukrainian National Bank announced last week the establishment of a new symbol for the national currency, the hryvnia. The symbol will now be used throughout Ukraine and is being incorporated into a number of Ukrainian software packages. The hryvnia is one of the most stable currencies in the region, and has stood at a rate of around five to the dollar for the past two years.

Press Freedom Threat - Whats Up?

The media freedoms won by the Orange Revolution are under threat according to the annual report on Ukraine by international media watchdog ‘Reporters Without Borders’. After years of wallowing among the most media-oppressed nations in the world the situation was drastically changed by the popular uprising of 2004, which saw national media outlets break with the silence of the past to denounce state censorship. The report cites the failure of the authorities to bring the Gongadze scandal to a close as one of the major failures in Ukraine’s battle against media censorship, also referring to a number of incidents in which journalists were physically attacked in 2006 as indicators of a reduction in press freedoms. Top of the list of violations was the arson attack on the home of Pervaya Krimskaya editor Lilya Bujurova in March 2006, which she said was a response to publication of a list of crime-related candidates standing in the spring elections.

Vitali Kozlovski Enjoying his Home from Home - My Kyiv

Many people say that Vitaliy Kozlovskiy was lucky, that his rise to the top was quick and easy, but his road to fame was not as smooth and simple as people think. Having a deep love for both Lviv and Kyiv, Vitaliy now lives in the latter seeing it as a better base for his career and a more comfortable place to set up home.


The Many Faces of Bogdan Khmelnitski - Kyiv History

In the centre of Kyiv, silhouetted against the eleventh century cathedral of St. Sophia, a stern faced man of bronze sits astride his horse. His mace, the sign of Ukraine’s cossack leaders, points to the East. This is Bohdan Khmelnitski, the most influential of the Ukrainian cossack leaders and a man heralded as one of Ukraine’s great nation-builders. According to a recent survey by the Ukrainian Sociology Service, 70% of Ukrainians have a positive attitude towards the historical role of the great warrior. This week marks the anniversary of his election as the ruler of the Ukrainian cossacks in the seventeenth century, but his legacy still troubles many Ukrainians today and his experience looms large over any discussion of the nation’s historical strengths and weaknesses.


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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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