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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 9

16 March - 22 March

Ukrainian Style!
Glamour Galore as Kyiv Fashion Week Celebrates 20th Anniversary

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From THE EDITOR - Editorial

The Annual US State Department report on human rights came out last week, and on the whole the Ukrainian section provided cause for guarded optimism. It portrays a nation moving in the right direction, with the endemic corruption and abuses of the country tempered by a rising tide of democracy and press freedoms. While progress has clearly been made in such crucial areas, the report contains some quite literally appalling statistics on the continuing widespread habit of wife-beating that casts the unreconstructed femininity and old school gender politics of today’s Ukraine in an altogether darker light. Apparently almost fifteen thousand women are dying every single year in Ukraine as a result of injuries sustained after being beaten by their husbands (see page 6 for details). That figure represents around forty deaths a day, which by my reckoning makes this an epidemic of abuse that for a variety of reasons remains very much beyond the public eye. There are various cultural precedents for such a disgraceful state of affairs, not least the well-known folk saying, ‘If you beat her, it means you love her.’ The very fact that Ukrainian friends tended to snigger when I asked them about this phrase would suggest that at the very least some serious public awareness programme would be in order alongside a concerted effort among law enforcement officials to bring abusive husbands to justice. If the government is serious about improving Ukraine’s dire demographical situation, this is one subject they ignore at their peril. After all, in light of these levels of marital abuse is it really any wonder that so many Ukrainian ladies appear to have decided that their best chance of a brighter future lies with a foreign man, or by not starting a family at all? 

 Peter Dickinson,

Police in ‘Traditional’ Show of Strength as Political Tensions Rise - Whats Up?

’Many media commentators linked this very public demonstration of strength to the recent comments by pro-Yanukovich MPs threatening to order Interior Ministry troops to blockade all government buildings in the event of attempts by the President to dissolve the current parliament and provoke new elections’


US Human Rights Report Highlights Abuse of Women - Whats Up?

The US State Department released their annual human rights report last week with Ukraine’s assessment praising the country for its breakthrough 2006 parliamentary elections and expansion of press freedoms but drawing attention to the country’s continuing failure to deal with high levels of violence against women and human trafficking. “The elections for the Verkhovna Rada in March 2006 were the freest in the country’s fifteen years of independence and the media continued to consolidate post-Orange Revolution gains in freedom of speech and expression,” the report stated. However, the annual overview detailed numerous attacks on members of the press, particularly in the regions of the country where support for Prime Minister Yanukovich remains strongest, and went on to outline a continuing trend of marital abuse that suggests the problem is one of the most pressing social concerns facing Ukrainian society.


MEPs Call for Holodomor Genocide Recognition - Whats Up?

Three members of the European Parliament have come to together to call on the international community to acknowledge the 1932-33 terror famine in Ukraine as an act of genocide perpetrated by the Soviet authorities. Ukraine’s parliament passed a controversial bill last November referring to the famine as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people, provoking anger in Moscow where the nature of the terror famines has long been denied, and now MEPs Konrad Symanski and Marek Siwiec of Poland along with UK Conservative Charles Tannock have tabled a written declaration calling on the international community to follow suit. Concerns over isolating Russia are thought to have put a block on similar calls in recent years, but the three MEPs behind this proposal are keen to deny that the Kremlin has anything to worry about, stating, “this is not directed at Russia but there can be no doubt that this was a Soviet-enforced crime against Ukraine.” A week-long exhibition covering the famine, organised by the Ukrainian mission to the EU, will open next week and run from 26 March. 

Ukrainian Billionaire List Grows to Include Seven - Whats Up?

Ukraine now has seven billionaires, according to the latest annual poll from American magazine Forbes. Top of the list is diminutive Donbass icon Rinat Akhmetov, who according to the US survey is worth a cool 4 billion, making him 214th in the global league table of the worlds richest men. Number two is the son-in-law of former president Kuchma Interpipe boss Viktor Pinchuk, who is estimated to be worth 2.8 billion US dollars. The top two are followed by Serhiy Taruta, Vitaliy Haiduk, Ihor Kolomoyskiy, Hennadi Boholyubov and Yulia Tymoshenko man Kostyantin Zhevago, all of whom are worth well over a billion. This news of the growing wealth of the country’s elite comes in the same week that saw Agriculture Deputy Minister Yury Luzan lament that most Ukrainians remain trapped in utter poverty. “The average Ukrainian spends almost 68% of his family budget on food, whereas in America this figure would be closer to 10%. It is a pity but we are a poor country,” he stated. 

Ukraine’s Joint Euro 2012 Bid Back on Track - Whats Up?

Lovable Ukrainian Football Federation head Hryhory Surkis was in fine fettle last week after the corruption scandal that had threatened to ensnare the country’s joint bid with Poland to host the Euro 2012 football championships appeared to be settled after the Polish government backed down from their threat to sack wholesale the leadership of the Polish FA. “Luckily we managed to reconcile the conflict,” Surkis beamed following the humiliating Polish government climb-down. FIFA had threatened to ban Poland from international competition and Polish teams from European competition if they failed to reinstate the Polish FA’s board of directors, who had been fired as a result of a corruption scandal that went right to the top of the Polish game, but FIFA chief Sepp Blatter announced a compromise on 6 March that would allow all parties to save face. The Ukraine-Poland bid is one of three being considered along with Italy and another joint bid from Hungary and Croatia. The 15-man UEFA executive committee will announce the result on 18 April.     

Klitschko Silences Don King, - Whats Up?

Volodymyr Klitschko, the younger of Ukraine’s two heavyweight champ boxing brothers, gave a deadly demonstrtion of just why he’s the most feared boxer on the block last weekend, demolishing American hopeful Ray Austin of the Don King stable in a second round TKO before going on to express his desire to now face seven-foot WBA title holder Nikolai Valuev of Russia. Don King had sought to inject an element of partisan bitterness into this latest Klitschko title fight, claiming that the Ukrainian fighter was not up to the job of carrying a world title, but the big talk was soon silenced as a couple of telling left hand shots downed the flabby-looking Austin early in round two. The race is now on to see the Klitschko brothers gobble up the existing four world heavyweight titles, with Volodymyr favouring a bout for the WBA title and big brother Vitaly hopeful of getting an April shot at his vacated WBC title, currently held by Russian fighter Oleg ‘Putinka’ Maskaev. The mouthwatering prospect of a ‘Klitschko vs Klitschko’ for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world remains very much on the cards, although such an unprecedented fight would rock the boxing fraternity to its foundations.

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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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