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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 29

3 August - 9 August

Cruisin’ in the Capital
Getting the most out of the Majestic Dnipro this summer in Kyiv

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From THE EDITOR - Editorial

Democracy is a sham! Human rights are a smokescreen for Western imperialism! America is an evil empire. Estonians are fascists. The collapse of the Soviet UNI0N was the worst disaster of the twentieth century. Stalin was, on reflection, a great leader who did more good than bad. Yeltsin was a weakling. Criticism of the state is treason. Pro-democracy activists are betrayers bent on reducing the motherland to colonial vassal status. Political repression is a legitimate tool when building a strong government. Concepts of personal freedom are illusionary and the product of hypocritical Western double standards. And so on...This appalling list of propaganda cliches represents the mere tip of the ideological iceberg being served up at last week’s summer camp for the ‘Nashi’ youth group in Russia, an organisation blindly loyal to the Putin regime that has been likened to the Hitler Youth (see pages 46-47 for details). Over ten thousand of these enthusiastically indoctrinated teens attended this year’s camp, more than double the figure for 2006, and they were exposed to a brand of round-the-clock extremist political instruction that would be unthinkable in any other European country. The nature of the ‘Nashi’ summer camp should have been cause for enormous concern throughout the free world, but instead there has been barely an eye-brow raised. And yet it is common knowledge that ‘Nashi’ and other extreme nationalist groups are receiving tacit Kremlin backing, with the growing ranks tempted by the promise of places at top universities followed by lucrative positions in business or the administration. For the tens of thousands who participate in these youth formations and the minorities they terrorise the rhetoric is real enough. The question now is what will it require before Europe’s leaders finally decide to take a stand against the rising tide of authoritarian intolerance emanating from the Kremlin. For front line countries like Ukraine time is of the essence, and the need for outside moral support has never been greater. While the West may be wary of playing into the hands of the extremists by pursuing a confrontational approach, surely the least they can do is unapologetically support Ukraine’s fledgling democracy against those who have demonstrated their contempt for the fundamental freedoms underpinning European civilisation.

Peter Dickinson,

Empress of the Little Russians? - Whats Up?

Cossack Anger Mounts Over Proposed Odessa Monument to Arch Colonizer of the Ukrainian Steppe

What’s On has gained an exclusive preview of the Catherine the Great statue which Odessa City officials plan to plant on a prominent square in the Black Sea resort town. The monument, currently being constructed at a Kyiv studio which specialises in public statues of historical figures, has provoked outcry from Ukrainian Cossack groups who feel it is an insult to their national identity to honour a ruler synonymous with the bloody oppression of the Cossack way of life and the colonisation and Russification of eighteenth century Ukraine.


Via Gra Blonde’s Wedding Signals Final Split? - Whats Up?

The epitome of Ukrainian girl bands with the sledgehammer name Via Gra have undergone more lineup changes than Dynamo Kyiv over the years, but now irreplaceable mainstay Vera Brezhneva has quit in order to marry, casting serious doubt over the future of the band. The blonde bombshell has been dating Ukrainian businessman Mikhail Kiperman for some time now and the couple want to wed, but it is stipulated in her contract that she cannot marry and remain part of the group so she has cast aside fame and fortune for love and resigned from the most popular girl band in the country. While the record company is said to have been prepared to consider changing her contract to allow Vera to stay due to her unrivalled popularity, it is alleged that her future husband does not want her showing her body in public and has asked her to quit her career as a singer.

Ukraine’s Managers Earning More Than Westerners - Whats Up?

A recent study carried out by global management consultancy Hay Group has revealed that managers in emerging markets such as Turkey, Mexico and Ukraine are earning more in real terms than their Western counterparts. The study confirms that managers here in Ukraine are enjoying far higher levels of buying power for their pay than their equivalents in countries such as the UK, US and other Western European countries. In fact, in the Hay Group’s ‘World Pay Report’ the only Western European countries to make it into the top 20 were Switzerland, Germany and Ireland, while Ukraine was sitting proud in seventh place. With cost of living and tax elements taken into account, the average annual salary for a manager here in Ukraine equates to a very comfortable $149,118 disposable income. No wonder there are so many flash cars careening round the streets of Kyiv!

Super Shakhtar Spending Spree Continues - Whats Up?

Rinat Akmetov’s wealth must be approaching that of Chelsea owner Abramovich, and he seems determined to prove it as his club Shakhtar Donetsk announced plans to spend another $21.8 million, this time on Mexican striker Nery Castillo which if completed will make the side one of the biggest spenders in Europe. Castillo, 23, came to Ukraine on Monday 30 June for final talks with the club, and Greek media reported they had offered his existing club, Greek champions Olympiakos, the mammoth figure to buy him out of his contract which runs until 2010. It was further reported that the Mexican was offered a four-year contract with an annual salary of over $2.7 million. The offer follows closely on the heals of Shakhtar’s purchase of Italian forward Christiano Lucarelli for a reported 11 million dollars on 13 July, making the side’s spending power equivalent to that of Abramovich’s Chelsea.

Communists in Denial - Whats Up?

The Crimean Communist craze for moral relativism reached epic proportions last week when they announced plans to open a museum for victims of US imperialism while at the same time protesting against commemorating the millions of Ukrainians who died in the Holodomor orchestrated famines of the 1930s. Crimean Communist Party figurehead Leonid Grach said the museum would consist of a permanent display in Simferopol and a mobile exhibition that would tour Crimea and “present the whole period, starting with the massacre of Native Americans, right up to racial discrimination in America, which continues to this day.” The move appears to be in direct response to the opening of the museum ‘Victims of Communism Memorial’ in Washington on 12 July, where George W. Bush blamed the ideology for the deaths of 100 million people. Communist Party activists also last week staged a protest in Simferopol against plans to commemorate the victims of the Holodomor famine in Ukraine in 1932-1933. “All measures in Ukraine, initiated by President Viktor Yushchenko connected with the 75th anniversary of the so-called Holodomor do not, in reality, come from historical truth but are purely political speculation coming from the USA,” communist leaders were quoted as saying. The recognition of the Holodomor as genocide has been vehemently opposed by the Communist Party for decades, and their outspoken condemnation has reached fever pitch since the Verkhovna Rada passed a law last December officially recognising the famine as ‘genocide against the Ukrainian people’. “Ukrainian officials twist historical facts in order to drive a wedge between Ukraine and Russia. In reality documents prove that the famine occurred in the Soviet UNI0N due to hard climactic conditions,” claimed Volodimyr Lysenko, First Secretary of the Simferopol Communist Party.

 Neil Campbell

Anniversary of the Christening of Kyiv Rus - Coming Soon

Grand Concert, Spivoche Pole (near Kyiv Pechersk Lavra), 12 August at 18.00
Over 1,000 years ago, on 14 August 988 AD, Volodymir the Great converted the great Kyiv Rus nation to Christianity, abandoning the countries pagan past forever, most notably by driving the statue of the ancient pagan idol Perun on a cart down to the Dnipro at Vydubychy, whipping it all the way before tossing it in the river. Kyiv Rus was christened and the era of Christianity commenced for the Slavic people. The anniversary of this great event will be met with a special festival which will focus on cultural, charitable and theological events, and there will also be an open-air concert at Spivoche Pole where bands such as Braty Karamazovy, DDT, and Nino Katamadze will take to the stage. Entrance is free. For more information go to www.unian.net.

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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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