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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.


What's On Archive ¹ 7

2 March - 9 March

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Celebrating International Women’s Day in Kyiv

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From THE EDITOR - Editorial

Just when you thought the Ukrainian parliament couldn’t get any more childish, the opposition surppassed themselves last week by actually turning the electricity off. Ukraine’s legislative body has long been the domain of schoolboy antics, whether we’re talking about fist fights, fickle friendships or the practice of physically blocking opponents from reaching the podium, but cutting the power represented a new nadir for what is surely Europe’s most infantile elected assembly. This sort of on-going nonsense is particularly hard to take given the efforts ordinary Ukrainians have made over the past couple of years to turn the country into a fully functioning European democracy, and it also serves to remind us all that democracy in itself does not solve anything, but is merely a tool that is as good or bad as those who wield it. If the country’s deputies remain determined to behave like school-age brats then the only solution would appear to be to treat them like errant children and introduce a series of punishments straight from the headmaster’s manual. Under such a system anyone caught bringing a megaphone into the debating chamber, trying to vote on behalf of their absent cronies, physically assaulting colleagues or attempting to kidnap the house speaker could be subjected to various bans and the loss of deputy privileges, or in extreme cases stripped of their precious immunity, leaving them to skulk around stamping their feet and screaming ‘it’s not fair!’ while mulling over the repercussions of their immaturity. The only problem here is the absence of anyone in the country with the authority to enforce such rulings, but if that could be overcome it would be a surefire way of maintaining the public’s flagging interest in the political process!

Peter Dickinson

PM Yanukovich Ready to Take the Helm? - Whats Up?

Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich is likely to run for president in 2009, according to Ukrayinska Pravda. “The Party of Regions will certainly submit its candidacy. It is not difficult to predict whom they will submit – the politician with the highest rating at the time,” he said in an interview with Inter TV Channel, leaving few in any doubt as to who he was referring to. Orange Revolution loser turned comeback king Yanukovich, whose government-backed campaign for the presidency in 2004 was marred by massive press censorship of the opposition, voter intimidation and massive electoral fraud, also suggested that parliament might be asked to elect the country’s next head of state, but refused to be pushed on the subject.


Lennox Denies Rumours of Return for Klitschko Rematch - Whats Up?

Retired British former World Heavyweight Champion Lennox Lewis moved quickly last week to deny rumours circulating in the boxing fraternity that he was planning a comeback of his own to face Ukrainian knockout specialist Vitali Klitschko in a megabucks showdown at the revamped Wembley Stadium later this year. Klitschko announced his plans for a comeback in the new year and is currently in negotiations for a shot at his old WBC world title, currently held by Russian Oleg ‘Putinka’ Maskaev, and last week the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper ran comments from boxing promoter Bob Arum saying that the world’s last undisputed champ Lewis was back in the gym in preparation for a showdown with Klitschko, who is expected to make short work of Maskaev when the two eventually face off later this spring.


Heavyweight Moscow Mayor Heats Up Crimean Cold War - Whats Up?

Outspoken Moscow Mayor Yuriy Luzhkov caused outrage last week when he appeared to call into question Ukraine’s right to sovereignty over Crimea during a visit to the staunchly Russian Black Sea naval base of Sevastopol. The Moscow official, who is known as a hardline supporter of the ethnic Russian minority in Ukraine, addressed crowds of Russian flag-waving supporters and was quoted as saying, “ill-thought out processes tore Sevastopol and Crimea from Russia and left a deep wound that has not healed even today.” Crimea was handed to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic in 1954 to mark the three hundredth anniversary of ties between Russia and Ukraine, but the Soviet government never envisaged a situation wherein an independent Ukraine might end up with control of Crimea, and the Soviet collapse of 1991 left hundreds of thousands of Crimean Russians cut off from Moscow as a result.


Ukrainian Artists Being Reclaimed From Russia - Whats Up?

Throughout Soviet times most of the rest of the world considered the whole of the Soviet UNI0N to be Russia and all its citizens Russian, a misapprehension that still exists to some extent today. Some of modern art’s greatest innovators such as Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Archipenko and Alexander Rodchenko are usually described as Russian, but these painters and sculptors were actually born in Ukraine and considered themselves to be Ukrainian. A museum in New York is making bold moves to set the record straight by hosting an exhibition entitled ‘Crossroads: Modernism in Ukraine, 1910-1930’ and this hopefully will open the door for others to follow suit. There are two exhibitions currently on show at the museum, the other being of traditional Ukrainian folk art with many of the paintings coming from Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko’s private collection. On first sight the two exhibitions seem very different, but as Museum Director Maria Shust points out, a closer look shows the imprint of Ukrainian folk art in the work of the modernists.  

Defense Chief Gets Tough on Female Soldiers  - Whats Up?

Ukraine’s Defense Minister Anatoli Hrytsenko has called for ladies serving in the Ukrainian army to commit themselves to five years in the forces without the right to maternity leave. “There is a problem: Often commanders face a situation where a vacancy is occupied by a female soldier who has actually gone on maternity leave for three years, then without returning to the army she gets pregnant again,” the army chief announced in the run up to this year’s International Women’s Day celebrations. Military service for Ukrainian males is in theory obligatory for all eighteen year old males, but most families pay a bribe to avoid the tough eighteen month stint, leaving only the poorest to serve their country. Females are not obliged to perform national service, but some twenty thousand ladies currently serve in the Ukrainian armed forces as volunteers, which represents nearly 10% of the overall number of troops. 

Ukraine World’s Second Most Depressed Country - Whats Up?

One look at the faces of people as you walk around Kyiv will tell you that Ukrainians are not the most outwardly happy people in the world, but it may surprise you to know that in a recent survey carried out by the World Health Organisation and the Harvard Medical School into depression rates around the world, Ukraine came second to the US. Depression has always been considered a western disease primarily attributed to existential angst that comes about when people start to question the point of their existence when living in comfortable societies where the fight for survival has been eradicated. Hence it is not a surprise to see the US sitting at the top of the list with a rate of 9.6%. What is a lot more surprising is to see Ukraine sitting in second place with a rate of 9.1%, and it appears to have experts flummoxed. The researchers say that the high level of depression in the Ukraine is a striking finding that deserves closer scrutiny. They think the rate may have to do with the transition to a post-communist state and continuing stress related to the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident.

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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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