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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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Ukraine History
To the majority of people in Europe, say the name Shevchenko and most will think of the footballer, but for Ukrainians the name has a much more profound meaning. Taras Shevchenko, the 19th Century writer, is widely considered the founder of Ukrainian literature, and his life and work continues to this day to be an inspiration to the whole country, especially in times of trouble.
Monuments are erected and streets are named after this great man in every town and city in Ukraine, and in many places all over the world; such has been the impact of writer and artist Taras Shevchenko on the lives of the Ukrainian people. His name has become a distinguishing feature of the nation for generations, and will continue to be so for generations to come.
He was a great poet and artist, of that there is no doubt.
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For a long time, Trotsky for most young Ukrainians was no more than a mythic, and often demonised, character in the story of the October Revolution. Then Trotsky appeared as a character in the hit movie Frida (which partly concerns his dalliance with the artist Frida Kahlo), and he seemed a funny old fellow, full of his own, perhaps crazy, ideas. More recently Whats Ons Kateryna Kyselyova discovered that Trotsky had been born in Ukraine, and grew curious about the man.
Appropriately, Lev Trotsky was born Leyba Bronshteyn on the day Communists now celebrate the October Revolution: 7 November, 1879. He was the fifth child in the family of Jewish landowner Davyd Bronshteyn in the province of Kherson (today its Kirovograd oblast). His parents hailed from Poltava, indicating that theyd been in Ukraine for several generations.

Each year on 7 November Ukraines Communist holdovers celebrate the Great October Revolution. In fact, according to the Georgian calendar in use at the time, the revolution took place on 25 October in Petrograd this week, all those decades ago. What did the complex events of the 1917 cataclysm look like from Ukraine, the linchpin of the Russian Empire?
The events of 25 October 1917 have long borne the bias of the Bolsheviks, who called them the Great October Revolution. These days, one can find a more objective picture in history books: it wasnt so much a grand event, as a coup waged by a small band that overthrew Alexander Kerenskys liberal Provisional Government in Petrograd the government that had taken over in the wake of Tsar Nikolai IIs abdication.

He was a legend of Ukrainian history, and all sorts of things in Kyiv and across the country are named after him, including the street on which the Rada is located. His kindly, bearded face stares out from the 50hrv bill. Yet one of the greatest projects of his life ended in failure. A look at the life of Mykhailo Hrushevsky, who would have turned 142 years old on 29 September.

Ivan Franko is probably Ukraines second best-known writer, after (surprise!) the sainted Shevchenko. President Yushchenko might not be trying to get a statue of him put up in every world capital, but there is a Franko monument in Vienna, which isnt bad, and here in Ukraine his works are studied in school from the moment kids learn to read until they graduate. The great man was a novelist, poet, scientist, critic, ethnographer, journalist, political and social activist and more. Franko was born 27 August in 1856 into a peasant family in the village of Naguevychi, in whats now western Ukraine.

Ever driven over the Paton Bridge and wondered for whom that impressive structure was named after? Assumed it was some Soviet-era villain or hack? Actually, Yevgeny Paton was one of the most respected engineers and technicians in Russian imperial history and a member of the Soviet establishment who deserved all the Stalin-era honours he got.


During his 30-year sojourn in Kyiv, the architect Vladislav Horodetsky built more than 30 buildings, becoming the city's most illustrious modern architect in the process, As his birthday approaches, we turned our sights on a Kyiv legend


We all know that Ukrainian troops have been in Iraq and the Balkans trying to help keep order, but we rarely hear their stories. Now two who saw action overseas tell us what it was like.

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Before the Nazis and the Soviets did their grim work, Kyiv was a great Jewish city. But while most foreigners here will be vaguely aware of that, not many remember that Golda Meir, one of the founders of the state of Israel and that countrys iconic fourth prime minister, was born in Kyiv on 3 May 110 years ago.
Its true. Walk along the eastern side of Basseyna, across the way from Palace Sport and the Fortuna cigar store, and on one of that streets facades youll see a plaque, in Ukrainian and Hebrew, pointing out that this titan of 20th century history lived in the building in question until 1903, when she was five.


Pylyp Orlyk was an eighteenth-century hetman of Right Bank Ukraine and yet another in a long line of Ukrainian Cossack legends. He wrote one of the worlds first democratic constitutions, the anniversary of which we celebrate this month. His ideas were ahead of his time. Who was this fellow for whom Ukrainian streets are named?
Orlyk was born on 11 October, 1672 in the town of Kosuta, in whats now Belarus, to a noble family with Czech blood that in fact was spread out over Czech and Moravian territory. Unlike many if not all Cossack leaders, who were a diverse bunch, he was highly educated, graduating from a Jesuit school in Lithuania and from the Mohyla Academy right here in Kyiv.

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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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