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7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope


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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.

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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.

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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.

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Just a Minute

Hats off to the eagle-eyed folk who man the Boryspil border guard. Last week they managed to foil an attempt by an Italian citizen to smuggle a thirteen year old girl out of the country by pretending he was the childs parent. The Italian was due to fly to Prague and told guards the girl was his daughter, but they became suspicious when she answered their inquiries in perfect Ukrainian. The man later confessed that he had been planning to hand the girl over to a woman. Border guards meanwhile have identified the victim as a Kirovograd native whose family had told her listen to the man and all will be well. Border guards have thwarted over 2,000 similar people-smuggling attempts so far this year alone, a figure which suggests that the actual number of people being trafficked out of Ukraine and sold into slavery is far higher.


The Gongadze trial, which was allegedly a matter of honour for Orange Revolution hero Viktor Yuschenko, has been postponed once more, this time due to the ill health of one of the trail judges. Up to fifty witnesses were due to take the stand, and one witness reported that since agreeing to cooperate his home has been robbed, with the thieves apparently only interested in documents relating to the trial. The investigative journalist was murdered in 2000, causing popular protests over alleged government involvement in the slaying. This most recent delay is the eleventh to have beset the trial since it got underway in 2005, leaving pro-democracy activists speechless.

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The few hundred skinhead fools who saw fit to attack Scottish football fans on Maidan and at the Kyiv railway station during the Tartan Armys visit last week. These morons didnt manage to spoil what were some of the most memorable few days in recent years on the Kyiv party scene, but they did leave a nasty taste in the mouths of many visiting Scots and the publicity the events generated will have done disproportionate damage to Ukraines international image and its chances of hosting the EURO 2012 finals jointly with Poland.


The park is located on the banks of the Dnipro river. The closest metro station is Metro Dnipro. The copper monument in the centre of the park features a flat boat nine metres in length and supporting the figures of the four founders of Kyiv, who are about 4 metres in height each. According to legend the brothers Kyi, Schek and Khoriv and their sister Lybid founded the city in 482, which is now named in honour of the eldest brother. This monument was erected in 1982 by Ukrainian sculptors Boroday and Feschenko. Every day dozens of newly-weds gather here and pose for photographs. It is one of a number of monuments around town that traditionally feature in many Kyivite wedding albums.


Scottish footballer Gary Caldwell was the toast of the highlands nation last Saturday night when he netted the only goal in an extraordinary win over World Cup finalists France. He is now also the toast of Kyivs bar and restaurant owners, not to mention airlines as his goal has meant an estimated extra two thousand Scottish fans made the trip over to Kyiv for Wednesday nights tie, bringing millions of hyrvnias with them. Cheers, Gary!


Russian president Vladimir Putin could reasonably expect to challenge for this title on almost any given week of the year, but seeing as last week was his birthday we decided he should at least get it just this once. First of all came news that Russian schools were being forced to provide lists of all children with Georgian sounding surnames in the wake of the Tbilisi spy scandal. Then on Putins big day itself leading investigative journalist Anya Politkovskaya was gunned down in her apartment building in Moscow in an apparent contract killing. Politkovskaya had reported on human rights abuses in Chechnya and the slow slide back towards totalitarianism in Putins Russia. With international bodies condemning the killing the Kremlin remained ominously silent in the following days. Charming.


According to recent statistics Ukraine is one of the most accident prone countries in the world. Whether its dropping a lit cigarette butt near to a major military ammunition dump or causing a nuclear meltdown by unnecessarily stirring the tanks of a power station, Ukrainians are at the forefront of the haplessness stakes. The top ten most accident prone countries (figures reflect number of people injured in accidents per 100,000) according to Britains ZOO magazine reads; Estonia 102.8, Latvia 101.4, Russia 100.2, Ukraine 83.0, Lithuania 75.2, Hungary 58.6, Moldova 56.7, Finland 52.8, France 52.8, and Belarus 51.7


The increasing Chinese presence is evident in many daily aspects of Kyiv, nowhere more so than over at the capitals acclaimed Musical Conservatory. Chinese students make up approximately 20% of all students at the Ukrainian National Tchaikovsky Academy of Music, and account for roughly 90% of international students. The international life in the Music Academy is very disproportionate, admits Boris (student/composer), the sole Croatian.


The second Treaty of Pereyaslav was concluded on October 27, 1659 between Yuri, the little known son of famous Ukrainian hero Bogdan Khmelnytsky, and the Russian tsar, and drastically limited the hard-won autonomy of Ukranianian Cossacks. The original treaty had been one of more or less equal UNI0N between Muscovy and the Cossack lands in Ukraine, but those gains were now largely forfeited. This second treaty came in the aftermath of the treaty of Hadiach (ugoda hadziacka in Polish) dated 16 September 1658 between the Cossacks and Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which granted many privileges to the Cossacks and thus threatened Muscovite influence over Ukraine. Thus Ukraine had attempted to play Russian and European neighbours off against each other, and ended up losing out. Sounds familiar?


Kyivs magnificent and controversial Rodina Mat monument (known to many as the Iron Lady) is the fourth largest free-standing figure in the world, towering over the Dnipro at 46 metres in height. New Yorks Statue of Liberty comes in third at 46.5m. while the Mother Russia monument in Volgagrad (Stalingrad) is second at 52m, but far and away the largest figure in the world is the Buddha of Tokyo who is over 120 metres tall!



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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.

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