|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 27|
20 July - 26 July
From the Seven Wonders of Crimea to an in-depth look at the challenges posed by the returning Tatar population
|From THE EDITOR - Editorial|
The world has only relatively recently discovered Ukraine itself, so I suppose it is no big surprise to note that the plight of the Crimean Tatars remains very much out of the international spotlight. This in itself is a huge pity, as the situation has all the requisite ingredients for a modern-day tragedy in the making, with the Muslim Tatar returnees an increasingly vocal minority facing the resurgent might of Russian chauvinism strengthened by a potent dose of post-imperial paranoia. For the time being the confrontation remains restricted to the level of barroom brawls, public protests and courtroom battles, with moderate forces currently able to keep a lid on things, but unless a far more proactive approach is adopted by the central government here in Kyiv it is surely only a matter of time before things come to the boil. The thorny issue of Crimea’s ties to mother Russia plays a major role in the current conundrum, and one wonders whose interests are served by the endless stream of nationalist propaganda to which the ethnic Russians of the peninsula are treated, but regardless of the sympathies of the Russian language residents of Crimea, and autonomous status not withstanding, this is ultimately a problem for Ukraine to deal with, and one that could very quickly develop an international aspect if mishandled. The irony here of course is that Crimea should in any normal circumstances be the pearl of Ukraine, a jewel of unsurpassed natural beauty and historic splendour that is more than capable of becoming one of Europe’s top destinations. It would be cruel and unforgivable if thanks to political cowardice and neglect it were allowed to descend into the darkness of ethnic and religious conflict, and the dangers this could pose to the stability of Ukraine hardly need emphasising.
|So Near, So Far for Crimean Tatar Returnees - Picture Perfect|
This Crimean Tatar couple stand outside the house in Simferopol from which they were deported in May 1944 during Stalin’s wartime purges. Although they possess ownership documents for the property the couple have never set foot inside the building since their return to the peninsula in the 1990s. The Soviet government deported the entire Crimean Tatar nation during WWII and gave land and properties over to mostly Slavic settlers, forcing post-Soviet returnees to search for new homes amid an environment that is often characterised by ethnic prejudice and mutual suspicion.
|Ambassador Vlada! - Whats Up?|
We have already witnessed the dubious spectacle of celebrities and pop stars in the Ukrainian parliament, so the news announced last week that Ukrainian supermodel and beauty industry high priestess Vlada Litovchenko is to enroll in the Diplomatic Corps should probably come as no surprise. While there is no doubt that What’s On favourite Vlada would be more than capable of brightening up a wet weekend in Whitehall, the jury is still out on whether her trademark evening wear would constitute a breach of diplomatic protocol. The lady herself played down the prospects of a future career in international diplomacy, saying that she was simply looking to further her education and found that of all the options available in Ukraine a course in international relations offered the best chance at adding to her talents.
|Twelve 12th Century Skeletons Found in Podil - Whats Up?|
An important archaeological site was uncovered last week in Podil as foundations were dug for a new construction project on Poshtova Ploscha. 12 skeletons and sections of ceramics were found dating back to the middle of the 12th Century or even further, on what is thought to have been sacred ground, possibly a church. The area where the new building is being constructed is designated ‘reserved’ meaning that under Ukrainian legislation the ground should have been made available for archaeological research prior to commencement of building works, but this did not happen which could mean the specific nature of the find and its historical importance could be lost forever. Archaeologists have been given only a few days to examine the site before construction work recommences resulting in a rather hasty research programme. “Using chronology and stratum methods we believe the ceramics and skeletons date to the middle of the 12th Century,” says Mikhail Sagaydak, President of the Kyiv Archaeology centre, who goes on to admit that many questions cannot be answered accurately at this stage as they have not had the time to attain accurate data.
|Ukraine’s Second Most Expensive Footballer - Whats Up?|
Shakhtar Donetsk announced the signing of fluid forward Christiano Lucarelli for a reported 11 million dollars on Friday 13 July, the second highest price ever paid for a player by a Ukrainian side after the 18.2 million dollar purchase of Brazilian midfielder Francelino Matuzalem in 2005, also by Shakhtar. 31 year-old Lucarelli will be the first ever Italian to play in Ukraine’s top league, and he will be receiving a reported 5.6 million dollar salary for his services. The transfer became official on 16 July, just one day too late as far as Shakhtar fans were concerned as their side faced a critical match against arch-rivals Dynamo Kiev the day before, the result of which was a 1-1 draw.
|Yanu Flies Wrong Flag! - Whats Up?|
The birthday of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich was spoiled this year by a blunder which marred the launch of a new biographical book entitled ‘One Year in Power’, an event which had been planned as the highlight of the Donbass overlord’s big day. This latest literary tome, which follows on from 2006’s ‘One Year in Opposition’ covers his last eleven months in the PM’s office after Yanukovich staged the comeback of the decade by returning to power just over a year after his Orange Revolution humiliation, but the effect was somewhat spoiled by the fact that the book cover featured the Ukrainian flag printed upside down! The embarrassing slip was soon noticed and the offending copies removed, with the new launch date now set for 4 August, making this essential beach reading for all conscientious Kyivites this summer high season!
|80% ready for Elections - Whats Up?|
An opinion poll conducted 20-30 June across Ukraine by the Public Opinion Fund revealed that 78.1% of Ukrainians are now committed to participating in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, brought on by President Yushchenko’s 2 April ouster of the Ukrainian VR. Polls initially suggested the move was widely unpopular among the electorate, but three months later it now seems that the vast majority of Ukrainians appreciate the need for fresh elections if the country is to hold onto the democracy gains of the past two years and consolidate its position as a potential EU candidate country. There had been fears that the snap elections may suffer from a low voter turn-out in the wake of threats from various parties to boycott the process, but the stage now appears to be set for a showdown at the polling booths between the country’s political forces.
|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.