Features News Events Interviews Take me out Competitions RSS
On the cover
7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope


more...
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 EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys 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.

more...


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.

more...


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.

more...


Editorial
?.29/2006
Years ago when the government wanted to distract the populations attention from the mass protests sparked by the Gongadze slaying they organised street parties to be held in tandem with the demonstrations, thus providing observers with the high farce of Kuchma effigies being set alight right beside happy weekenders slurping on ice cream and soda. Other ruses included setting violent anarchist groups and other government hired goon squads on the small tent city which lined Khreschatyk in a bid to create as much chaos as possible. It was a surreal time all right, but at least we could show our disgust by offering support for the protesters, many of whom went on to form the nucleus of the Orange Revolutions Maidan tent city three years later. The spectacular victory of people power on that particular occasion should have taught the authorities a lesson, and unsurprisingly it did namely that the only way to neutralise the whole people power phenomenon is by paying stooges to form rival crowds supporting your side, thus canceling out the impact that large groups of righteous demonstrators could otherwise have made. Weve seen it a hundred times since the dawn of the Orange Era, and today Kyiv is awash with professional protesters getting their 30hrv a day for standing around with the flags and banners of whichever party is paying (see page 10 for details). Honest protesters, of which there remain many, tend to get lost in the middle of it all. The real tragedy here is that all the cynics who dismissed the crowds on Maidan during the Orange Revolution as paid off impostors will no doubt now consider themselves fully vindicated, and that is a huge kick in the teeth indeed for the thousands who suffered freezing nights and risked their lives back then on the strength of their convictions alone.

Peter Dickinson, Editor

?.27/2006
East is east and west is west, and Ukraine has never been more divided, right? Well, if you were to casually peruse the latest international press coverage of Ukraine's schoolboy politics this would certainly be the overwhelming impression, but scratch a little deeper and there is cause to hope that the country's very public wounds are slowly beginning to heal. It may not be a particularly optimistic time for many Ukrainophiles, but if one applies a little perspective it is not all doom and gloom. For example, according to a recent poll a surprisingly high number of East Ukrainians actually preferred the Ukrainian language version of the latest Disney blockbuster to its Russian counterpart (see What's Up? on page 6 for more). This may not represent a major landmark, but it is undeniably progress along the road to national reconciliation and bodes well for the future. It also fits in with reports of a lessening of polarisation across the land, something I encountered first hand down in Lviv last weekend, where I found a wide variety of attitudes towards the current crisis on display, almost all expressed unselfconsciously in Russian. The self-styled bastion of Ukrainian nationalism remains a proud city, but it appeared to be far from the partisan place it is so often portrayed as. Then theres Mondays football match between PORA and the Regions, unheard of just two years ago (see p.4). None of this amounts to much when viewed in isolation, but when bound together they create an impression of a nation gradually coming to terms with its own diversity, albeit very gradually indeed! Perhaps the logical conclusion to this thaw will be a moderation in the country's political direction, with the all-or-nothing Russia or Europe arguments replaced by a more reasoned middle ground, but that might be a little bit too much to hope for right now.

Cheers,
Peter Dickinson, Editor

?.26/2006
If you had wanted to pick the one political figure that represented the majority of decent Ukrainians trying to live a better life, it would surely have been Oleksandr Moroz. I remember him leading the 'Ukraina Bez Kuchma' protests during the Gongadze scandal in 2000 while Yuschenko kept his head down and backed the authorities, and then led the opposition movement of the following years. He forced the constitution through in the teeth of Kuchma's machinations back in 1996. I also hear he lives in a relatively humble apartment with his wife. There are no billion dollar gas transit fortunes hidden away at the back of his closet, no expensive dacha palaces in his name. In short, he has long stood out from the corrupt crowd as a decent and principled fellow, always ready to champion the little man and apparently devoid of personal greed. So in many respects Moroz was absolutely the last figure anyone would have expected to have gone against the Orange forces and cut a pact with the Donbass clans, but that is exactly what appears to have happened. A more damning development is hard to imagine, and news of this latest nadir has come as a kick in the teeth for anyone who hoped Ukraine had genuinely turned the corner and was on the road to reform and European integration. The political drama will continue to play out for the coming weeks, no doubt, but I fear that the damage to Ukraine's embryonic democratic culture has been done, with the end result being a landslide victory for political apathy. The really sad thing is that this is nothing new. From the time of Kyiv Rus onwards Ukrainian history is full of examples of such petty in-fighting and betrayal, and it is one national trait that the country could well do without.

Cheers,
Peter Dickinson, Editor

?.25/2006
Who would have thought that good old Ukraine, land of the Cossacks with their ubiquitous pipes, would be one of the first European countries to impose large scale anti-smoking bans? Not me, that's for sure, but that's just what they appear to have finally done. Last weekend legislation passed in 2005 came into effect, banning smoking in a number of public places, with restaurants and the like forced to make half their venues non-smoking. The Rada has been talking about it for years, of course, but I always assumed that they were playing some game or other with the tobacco barons and never actually intended to implement such an apparently unpopular measure. After all, cigarette smoke is a quintessential aspect of life in Ukraine, whether we're talking about a pack of smokers puffing away while crammed into the end of a railway wagon, the huddles in every office corridor or the random old fella with his evil little snout who gets under your feet in the subway. This is simply a smoker's land, and no mistake. For further proof just look at the relative mania for cleaning ashtrays local waitresses and waiters display in even the meanest establishments, especially when compared with their normal service standards. So on reflection, is this the most progressive piece of legislation to have come out of independent Ukraine? It will certainly take a lot of people by surprise. However, one has to wonder quite how this law will be enforced. When things are left up to the discretion of the local police things have a habit of going astray. In fact you'd have to wonder whether we are in practice about to see yet another pseudo-law which in fact merely facilitates the extraction of bribes. The irony of that would be almost as rich as the smell of tobacco smoke as you first arrive at Boryspil.

Cheers,
Peter Dickinson, Editor

?.24/2006
Ukraine's World Cup adventure continues, for another few days at least. The significance for the country cannot be overrated, and so far it has certainly been a massive success. Ukraine has taken its place among a joyous community of nations, won friends and column inches all over the globe, and despite reports coming out of Moscow of clashes between Russian-language Ukraine fans and the large Ukrainian diaspora contingent, the overwhelming sense of national unity and international friendship is hard to escape. Except, that is, when you listen to all the complaints of gross corruption among the officials responsible for handling Ukraine's ticket allocation. What emerges is a sad tale straight out of the bad old days of the Kuchma regime, with a single tour operator offered a monopoly on all the country's tickets, long-since made bookings cancelled and guests asked to pay up extra upon arrival. Fortunately all this unpleasantness did not manage to spoil the party, but with so much being done to make Ukrainians feel at home in Germany it is a sad indictment of local attitudes that the people who appear consistently most eager to cheat and extort Ukrainians are their fellow countrymen, usually from the relative safety of their perch three rungs up the social ladder. In fairness it should be noted that the whole World Cup ticket allocation business is a deeply unsatisfactory process that has drawn complaints from almost every participating nation, but nevertheless it is interesting to note that debut boys Ukraine should have so quickly proven themselves able to add their own corrupt roof to the existing FIFA structure.

Cheers,
Peter Dickinson, Editor

?.23/2006
I noted with amusement plans put forward last week in Moscow to ban the import of Ukrainian metals to the Russian Federation, with Kremlin officials citing the enormous dangers posed by Chornobyl-infected goods making it into the country. After all, everybody knows that Ukraine's huge metallurgy industry is largely centered around Chornobyl, with some minor subsidiaries in the Donbass region! This is surely the most ridiculous and disingenuous of all the recent bans imposed in Russia, which has seen everything from Georgian mineral water and Moldovan wine to Ukrainian meats put on the black list. What I like most about this clumsy Russian posturing is the attempts they make to present the bans as perfectly rational and justified in their own right, as if they have nothing whatsoever to do with the country's regional bully boy politics. One has to wonder what will be next - presumably Ukrainian bread will soon be labelled as infected with bird flu, and if the Baltics play up their herring exports could well be declared unclean. None of this is fooling anyone, of course, and while slackening trade with Russia will surely hurt the local economy, it might not be a bad thing in the long run if it forces Ukraine to look elsewhere and build international trade relations with more reasonable partners. In the meantime I'll be enjoying a glass of Georgian wine with my dinner, and toasting the geniuses who alerted us to the dangers of radioactive Ukrainian metal!

Cheers,
Peter Dickinson, Editor

?.22/2006
In fifty years time when Ukraine is just one more member of the European super state wise old sages may well sit around in Kyiv and debate which was more important in the emergence of the nation: the 2004 Orange Revolution, or the 2006 World Cup. You may well be tempted to scoff at the mere suggestion that a football tournament could be considered on the same footing as a million strong popular revolution, but when you bear in mind what grabs our attention these days it is no exaggeration to say that more people will be introduced to Ukraine in the next few weeks than bothered to follow the exhilarating but somewhat impenetrable events of winter 2004. Naturally much depends on how well Blokhins boys perform, but already the country has received more than its fair share of international media attention, the vast majority of it positive. Many pundits have put Ukraine down as their outside bet for the title, with talisman Andriy Shevchenkos recent record-breaking transfer increasing the hype. Added to this are coach Oleg Blokhins colourful outbursts, including an offer to allow his players a night of passion with their wives if they reach the semi-finals. I have even read pieces using West Ukrainian patriot and Donetsk captain Tolya Timoshuk as a metaphor for the so-called Ukrainian divide and in the process offering far more of an insight into todays Ukraine than much of the reams written during the Orange Revolution. If the team flops all this will soon be forgotten, but it is not too much of a stretch to say that a good performance could well end up playing a significant roll in the emergence of a new, inclusive Ukrainian identity. As we expats cheer on our home countries, it is worth remembering how much this tournament means to emerging nations like Ukraine.

Peter Dickinson, Editor

?.21/2006
It has long common knowledge that Ukrainian football is often rigged, but even so I never expected to see the kind of flagrant match-fixing that I witnessed a couple of months ago involving Karpaty Lviv. The incident came during a league match and involved an opposition striker equalising in the last minute from an impossible angle. He had clearly not intended to score and rather than celebrate he groaned audibly and held his head in his hands, only too well aware of the complications this late goal could have for his teams fortunes. It was a moment of shear black comedy worthy of a place in any satire dealing with Ukraines post-Soviet existence. Luckily he had nothing to worry about - immediately following the restart the opposition players parted like the Red Sea before Moses to allow Lviv to record a last-gasp win. This farce was so disgraceful that the football association had to take action, and they ended up fining Lviv three points. I still cant quite believe that they thought theyd get away with it, but there you go. Such cavalier attitudes are a fair indication of just how bad things really are. So I was only mildly surprised to see Ukraines football federation head Hryhory Surkis speak out against the ills of the domestic game last week (see Whats Up? for more). His comments are hardly timely, given that Ukraine are about to embark on their first World Cup Finals, but there is no denying the truth of what he says, which is a shame. Football could be a motive force for unity in Ukraine, after all, but instead it remains the rotten domain of the oligarchs. Perhaps a good showing at the World Cup will help, but unfortunately the last person I spoke to swore blind that Saudi Arabia had already paid the Ukrainians off, which shows you how much faith most people have in the credibility of those running the local game. We can only pray that Blokhins boys lead by example and show the rest of Ukrainian football the benefits of a more sporting approach.

Peter Dickinson, Editor     

?.20/2006
I never could understand homophobia. I mean, as a straight man how could I object? Just do the maths yourself - every gay male means one less competitor in the dating game, and frees up more ladies, right? Joking aside, there remain lots of people who for some reason feel terribly threatened by same sex relationships. Just last week in Moscow the mere suggestion of a gay pride parade was enough to bring together an unholy alliance of bigoted babushki and neo-Nazi skinheads, wailing for the perpetrators to be flogged to within an inch of their lives (see this week's What's Up? on page 6). Where is this fear and hatred coming from? Moscow, remember, is a city more awash with drugs, banditism and vice than any other in the northern hemisphere. But a mere gay parade? No way! What is driving these folks? Presumably they would argue that such parades actively encourage the gay lifestyle and could lead to otherwise 'normal' youngsters taking it up. I don't think they have much to worry about. You'd have to suicidal to consciously want to be gay in today's Russia. Is the situation any better in Ukraine? I would say so, but only just. Homophobic abuse is still all too prevailant, and previous attempts at parades here have also met with opposition, but it is not as heated a debate as in Russia. There have been victories, also. Local gays will tell you that the first law passed in independent Ukraine was one decriminalising homosexuality. That is something the country can be proud of. Let's hope it continues. Ukraine may still be a long way from being considered socially progressive, but a quick glance north is enough to convince anyone that it could be a lot worse.

Cheers,
Peter Dickinson, Editor


Pages No.: Previous  1, 2, 3 ... 35, 36, 37

Global news 
Loading...
Events Calendar
«« January 2018 »»
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31

Authorization
Login:
Password:
Remember me
Registration
Forgot your password?

Ukraine Truth
Rights We Didnt 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 dont 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 childrens 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. Whats On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.

more...


Essential Kyiv listings
Airports
Airlines
Car Rental
Bars & Pubs
Catering Services
Cinemas
Courier Services
Education
Foreign Banks
Hotel Service
Internet Cafes
Lost & Found
Medical Care
Language Courses
Nightlife
Personal
Restaurants
Saunas
Souvenir Shops
Sports
Taxi
Travel Agencies
Zoo
Real Estate
Cable & Satellite TV
Fitness Centers
Flowers and Gifts delivery
Food Delivery
Freight Forwarders
Internet providers
Russian/Ukrainian
Translation Services
Veterinarian Clinics
Beauty Salons
Whatson Birdies Party


Useful Links