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Ļ7 (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 EuroMaidanís three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countryís 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 Ė 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.


Ukraine Today

Honey-making and beekeeping are extremely popular in Ukraine; in fact, the related crafts make Ukraine famous throughout the whole world. Officially Ukraine is one of the worldís leading five honey-producing countries. Recently beekeeping has become something of a high-profile craft, as President Viktor Yushchenko has made it no secret that itís one of his favourite hobbies. But whatís it all about?
Itís an open secret that Ukrainians are big honey fans and even connoisseurs Ė all around the country at this time of year you can see old women selling big pots of honey at the side of the road. Honey is sold all around the country; there are numerous honey fairs and even special markets for the stuff. The question is, what sort of honey is best and where can you buy really good honey for an optimal price?

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Bringing Little League Baseball to
Ukrainian Orphans
It is a well-known fact that Ukrainian orphanages are drastically under funded, and the kids that live there are lucky if they have a decent pair of shoes. While there are many charities trying to help the unfortunate children who live there with clothes, hygiene materials and even food, one man is trying to bring a little quality to their lives, American style.
Basil Tarasko, a US citizen, born in Germany to Ukrainian parents, has been coaching baseball here in Ukraine since 1991, and over recent years has been trying to introduce Little League to childrenís homes throughout the country. This year, if he can raise the money required, he will be staging the first every Little League baseball championships for orphanage teams.

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Constitution Day is coming up! Jumping up and down with joy? If youíre not, itís because celebrating Ukraineís constitution might be much a little much to ask given the massive confusion that has surrounded that document over the last few years. But Ukraineís constitutional road has been a long, strange one.

Patriotic Ukrainians often boast that their country has a deep, ancient tradition of constitution-writing, starting with the ĎRuska Pravdaí of Kyivan Rus leader Yaroslav the Wise, which delineated the basic rights of subjects in his medieval Slavic state, and proceeding to Pylyp Orlykís famous 18thcentury constitution, which some claim even outdid the existing European constitutional traditions at that time.

One of the trends we Ukrainians have recently borrowed from the West is a concern with a healthy lifestyle and an extreme preoccupation with health. Nonetheless, we still havenít gotten to the point where people are rushing into clinics for another breathless, hypochondriacal check-up.
I donít know whether itís a question of the now sky-high prices in the private clinics, a fear of catching a bug in a state facility and getting even sicker, or merely a reluctance to subject yourself to the mercenary attitudes of some private clinic doctors, who are always willing to Ďfindí some more Ďillnessesí in you that they can expensively Ďcureí.
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A decade ago the idea that Russia could still produce political refugees would have sounded funny. Not anymore, as the Russian government clamps down on civil liberties and dissent. The ominous atmosphere in Russia is sending numerous free-thinking Russians abroad and some of them are ending up in Kyiv. Philip Pishik is one of them.

President Yushchenko proclaimed this year as one devoted to adoption, but Ukraineís orphan problem is one the government canít solve on its own. Great Ukrainian gymnast Lilia Podkopaeva is leading the charge to help the countryís needy kids, and we met up with her to talk about her work.

With summer almost here, what better place to escape the hot city than in what might turn into Ukraineís newest, weirdest nature preserve: the Chornobyl Alienation Zone?
History is full of ironies, and one of them is that the Alienation Zone around the Chornobyl reactor might in some ways be among the countryís cleanest places.

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In 1993, two fresh-faced young lads from Scotland turned up in Kyiv with a view to opening a business. For them, it was an exciting prospect, but they were well aware it was a high-risk proposition. 15 years later, however, the massive gamble Robert McNeil and Stuart McKenzie took, has paid off, and the business theyíve built along with third partner Mark Wright, employs more than 2,000 people and operates all over the country.
The first things that strike you about Stuart McKenzie when you meet him for the first time, aside from his cheeky grin, are his uncurbed enthusiasm and love for his business, and that love and enthusiasm extends to the country in which that business operates.

Finding good English-language (or French-language or German-language or any-language) books can be one of the prime challenges of ex-pat life here in Ukraine. Local book merchants are doing their noble best, but good as they are, the lover of reading always wants more. Amazon is one solution to the chronic local foreign literature shortage. A cheaper one, however, is the Ďbookcrossingí trend thatís taking off in the West (to some authorsí chagrin) and that really ought to come to Eastern Europe soon. Ksenia Karpenko explains it all for us.

Once again itís the season for the Eurovision Song Contest, pop musicís gaudiest, kitschiest, and most lovable spectacle. Can Ukraine chalk up another successful year?
Itís Eurovision time again, and these days Eurovision is less an influential music contest than a glossy, overwhelming show. Eurovision has had its big moments in the past, giving rise to the careers of such massive pop artists as Celine Dion and ABBA, but more recently itís been an open question: what does a singer get from winning Eurovision, except for the minor nationalistic thrill of seeing his or her country get to host the event the next year?

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Ukraine Truth
Rights We Didnít 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 Univer≠sal 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 donít understand the meaning of these words.

Kyiv Culture

Pulling Strings
Located on Hrushevskoho Street Ė the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades Ė childrenís 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. Whatís 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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