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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 40 (2007)

¹40 (2007)/2007
2 November - 8 November

Making it Big In America
Ukrainian star DJ Eva is becoming very popular in the US

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From THE EDITOR (40) - Editorial

Finally, four weeks since the country went to the polls, the results have been officially announced. President Yushchenko dissolved the parliament way back on 1 April due to the alleged buying of lawmakers by the Party of Regions who hoped to exceed the three-hundred plus one majority needed to overrule the president's veto. Since then the country has been operating without a government. The Ukrainian Cossacks, often regarded as the founders of the country, were mostly made up of outlaws and those seeking freedom from the state. It is therefore mildly ironic that this great nation, hundreds of years later, can continue to function without a government for such a lengthy period of time, and in so doing it seems unable to shake off its delightful attachment to an anarchistic philosophy on which it was originally founded. Of course, one would hope that this final result will put an end to the political tug-o-war which has been going on for what seems like forever, but unfortunately the margins are tight. The results show that the Party of Regions won with 34.37% of the vote giving them 175 seats. Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc received 30.71% of the vote (156 seats) followed by the pro-presidential Our Ukraine-People's Self Defence bloc with 14.15% (72 seats), Communist Party with 5.39% (27 seats) and Lytvyn Bloc with 3.96% (20 seats) - the country breathed a huge sigh of relief that the Socialist Party headed by turncoat Moroz did not make the 3% necessary and is out. Total seats, therefore, held by the likely coalition of BYuT and OU-PSD amounts to 228, only 3 seats above the 225 needed. If Lytvyn's party joins them then that would make a far more secure majority, but he seems quite content to go it alone as he is in the comfortable position of holding the balance of power. With only a 3 seat majority, and the Party of Regions alleged penchant for buying seats (at the bargain price of $10 million each), this, yet again, is unlikely to lead to a stable government, which is really what the country needs right now. We all hope that the result will be agreed without too much fuss, and the parliamentarians can take their seats again in the Verkhovna Rada some time soon, and keep them for a while. But it is perhaps something of a blessing that the country's past is somewhat rooted in an heroic anarchy, and is quite capable of existing, and thriving, without it.

Neil Campbell, Editor

Angry Reaction to Catherine - Whats Up?

Last weekend saw another chapter written in the story of Ukraine’s struggle with its complicated national identity as nationalists violently protested the erection of a monument to Catherine the Great down in Odessa. Actually, it was a re−erection. The city − which is heavily non−Ukrainian ethnically, has deep cultural and histori− cal ties to Mother Russia, and votes solidly blue and white along with the rest of the Russian−speaking south and east – put back a monument to the Russian empress that the Soviets had taken down eighty years ago. News reports say the protests led to minor clashes with the police, who are typically a patiently stone−faced presence at events such as this. The protestors describe themselves as the spiritual heirs of the Cossacks, and say that a monument to Catherine, who conquered southern Ukraine for the Russian Empire, is an insult to the idea of Ukrainian nation− hood.


Dynamo Hits New UEFA All Time Low - Whats Up?

When ‘Dynamo’ Kyiv lost to Manchester United last week, the fact that the game was preceded by mass brawling between local fans and English visitors wasn’t the only notable thing about it. Kyiv’s loss also set a new anti−record, as the team has now lost 37 Champions League games in a row. ‘Dynamo’ has twice won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, in the 1974−75 and 1985−86 seasons, beating Ferencvarosi TC in Basle and then Club Atletico de Madrid in Lyon. They’ve also reached the semi− finals of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup on three occasions: in 1976−77, 1986− 7, and 1998−99. But this year they are coming off reverses against all the clubs they beat back then, including ‘AS Roma’ and ‘Sporting Club de Portugal’. It’s about as bad as anyone’s ever done in the tournament, the Ukrainian mass media was report− ing last week. And judging by how Kyiv is playing and their upcoming schedule, it’s likely that ‘Dynamo’ will just keep adding to the record. Anyway, the Turkish club ‘Galatasaraj’ is right behind ‘Dynamo’ in terms of number of losses, with 36. Norway’s ‘Rusenborg’, Portugal’s ‘Portu’, and Holland’s PSV ‘Eindhoven’ have 35 losses each. To recap the Kyiv−Manchester game, Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice for the English side as United cruised to a comfortable victory, making it three wins for three in the UEFA Champions League Group F and moving to the brink of qualification. ‘Dynamo’ fans are hoping for revenge in the 7 November rematch.

Anatoli Artemenko

SBU Against Xenophobia - Whats Up?

Ukraine has always enjoyed an excellent reputation as an inclusive country that welcomes people of all na− tionalities, but over recent years the number of racial attacks in Ukraine has been increasing at an alarming rate. Finally, following months of campaigning by the UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM) the government has finally sat up and take notice, and un− der the orders of President Yushchenko, the SBU has set up a special unit on counteraction to xenophobia and national intolerance. For years now the Ukrainian authorities have followed the Russian example by turn− ing a blind eye to such attacks or at best writing them off as hooliganism, but at last there is recognition from those in power that the increasing number of youths adopting an extreme right−wing position is an issue that needs to be dealt with.

More Fatal Traffic Accidents in Kyiv Oblast - Whats Up?

Last weekend was a nasty one for local drivers, as 12 people were killed in car accidents in the Kyiv area. On Saturday night, it’s been reported in the local media, the driver of a Chev− rolet bus ran his vehicle out of control and hit a VAZ vehicle and a Volkswagen minibus, out on the Mynitsya−Fastov road. Seven people died. Early on Sunday, meanwhile, five more people died when a car smashed into a truck idling by the side of the road to Kharkiv. What other incidents added to the weekend’s carnage we don’t know, but it is clear that one seri− ous step could be taken to radically reduce the number of people killed in car accidents in this country: enforce the seatbelt laws, not to mention foster a culture of seatbelt−wearing. The disinclination of local drivers to wear seatbelts in this country is something that puzzles foreigners here. Taxi drivers are even likely to smile at passengers who buckle up, as if they’re doing something eccentric, and you occasionally run into the idea that wearing a seatbelt in city−driving conditions can even be dangerous, given that it can keep a driver from leaning forward, and therefore diminishes his sightlines. Nonetheless, getting people to wear their seatbelts can be done. It was actually done in Western countries: whereas a generation ago seatbelt usage was rare, now everybody wears the safety device, all the time. Ukraine: Buckle up!

Yushchenko Caves on NATO Question - Whats Up?

President Yushchenko pushed the controversial question of Ukraine’s NATO membership down the line last week, saying that the question of whether Ukraine should belong to the defence pact would be settled by national refer− endum – but that that referendum wouldn’t happen anytime soon. The president, who favours Ukraine’s joining what he calls ‘the European model of collective defence’ knows he’s treading on treacherous ground with this issue. Most Ukrainians don’t want their country in the organisation, while for Russia, the idea that its neighbour and ‘little brother’ should be part of a western military bloc originally formed to contest Moscow is worrisome. Rus− sian Ambassador to Ukraine Viktor Chernomyrdin last week made clear that while Ukraine is a sovereign country that can do what it wants, its joining NATO would affect Ukraine−Russia relations. “Is somebody threatening Ukraine?” he asked rhetorically, wondering why Kyiv would want into the pact. “If somebody threatens Ukraine, Russia will defend Ukraine,” he added, no doubt sending chills through the hearts of more than a few Ukrainians. As has been previously reported, the Party of Regions has long collected signatures toward holding a referendum on the NATO matter, with the question to be posed as follows: “Do you agree that Ukraine should not participate in any military blocs?”

Richard Caldwell

The October Revolution and Ukraine - Ukraine History

History buffs, Communist leader Petro Symonenko, and a good number of nostalgic Kyiv pensioners toting ragged Lenin banners will remember that 7 November marks the 90th anniversary of the Bolsheviks' overthrow of Russia's post-tsarist provisional government, which initiated the crucial phase of the Russian Revolution,


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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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