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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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Picture Perfect


An Epiphany
During my time in Kyiv, Ive noticed that each Ukrainian possesses two personalities. One has the typical local sitting silently on the metro with a disaffected scowl as the token busker reaches for that high note just beyond his vocal range. The other allows that same person to slug back mouthfuls of cognac and exhaust a shockingly large reservoir of curse words toward beloved Dynamo footballers while igniting all manner of small explosives in anger or ecstasy.

The Ivana Kupala celebrations on 6 July demonstrate just how close this country remains to its pagan past, and when people celebrate the natural world with such fun and fervour, that cant be a bad thing. The most fun part of the day is jumping the fire, and this man has picked a rather big one. We hear he escaped with only first degree burns to his feet.
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Dont worry if all your friends are going abroad in August and youre stuck in Kyiv, because as you know the city is one of the few landlocked places in the world with its own sandy beaches. And now, apparently, theyre all going to be free to use! According to Khvicha Meparishvili the head of Pleso, the state-owned company in charge of looking after the Dnipro River and all recreation spots in its vicinity, it is illegal for anyone to charge people to access any of the beaches.
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These were the last days of Maslyanytsya in Ukraine, an ancient, religious and folk holiday. Known as Shrove Tuesday in other parts of the world, the festival is celebrated the week leading up to lent, and always involves a lot of pancake eating, as can be seen here. The festival is over, and that means that lent is underway. Are you abstaining? And if so, from what?

Last weekend witnessed the so-called Rescue Action event up there in front of St. Michaelss a rally in support of the Ukrainian sailors who have been captured by Somali pirates. The feminist group Femen, which typically protests sex-tourism and exploitation of women, and not pirates, had a hand in the event, which, in typical Kyiv style, turned into a party. Any excuse to have a good time around here, right?

Last weekend saw Lviv, Ukraines gorgeous Galician capital, host the Student Queen 2008 beauty contest, which had the comely contestants hitting the stage in blinding white wedding attire. The young women also modeled Ukrainian native costumes and business wear and at least one of them took to the stage in a military costume. Another week, another beauty contest here in Ukraine, one of pulchritudes world capitals.
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On 22 November Ukraine commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor, and to honour the memory of the innocents who died in the 1932-33 terror-famine, Ukrainians all over the country and abroad placed candles in their windows. In Kyiv, citizens braved the years first snowstorm to bring candles to the Holodomor Memorial on Mykhaylivska Pl. This year, a new Holodomor Memorial opened on Ivana Mazepy as well.

HONCHARA On 15 November one of Kyivs top jazz musicians, Volodymyr Solyanyk, held an openair concert at which he performed his Requiem for Old Kyiv. The concert rallied people who are trying to preserve historical architecture in this beautiful and ancient city. Solyanyks music runs the gamut from ethnojazz to fusion to mainstream styles to blues to new age, and it certainly made an impression on the attendees.Of course, advocates of historical preservation can be cheered by at least one aspect of the current financial crisis: nothing new is being built right now.
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The Days of Europe in Ukraine celebration has become an excellent oppor− tunity for Ukrainians to get to know their big neighbour to the West the EU, which, if fortune is kind, Ukraine will sooner or later be a part of. The event featured a whole bunch of events around town, all organised by the EU and by the member countries embassies. These included debates, language lessons, and other educational and entertaining things, such as an Italian fellow who cooked up Italian food right on the spot. The weather was nice, the people friendly, and the volunteers upbeat. All together now: Ukraine is a European country!

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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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