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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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Ukrainian Culture
Serhiy Zhadan is one of the most well-known and successful contemporary Ukrainian writers of today. His books have a tendency to fly off the shelves as soon as they are published regardless of the many languages they have been translated into and as one of the newest members of the ska band with the amusing name Dogs in Space, the crowds he gathers are always of the most interesting sort. Presenting his newest novel, Voroshylovgrad, at the National Parliament Library of Ukraine just the other day, Whats On got a few minutes of his time in between readings.

10 September is Ukraines day of Cinema. But with the cinematic branch of artistic endeavor in deep decay these days, the question remains what is there really to celebrate? The truth is that unlike many curious kids in most parts of the country, Ukraines loins, when it comes to cinema anyway, have never really been flexed.
Roksolana, filmed in 1996, starring Ukrainian beauty Olha Sumska, promised a very bright future for independent film-makers in Ukraine, but the fate of the movies main character held captive in unknown lands, has unfortunately been an apt metaphor to the reality they too have faced.
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Womens Day, 8 March, is actually a relic of the Soviet era. While some Ukrainian women ignore the holiday and others are happy to receive flowers and chocolates on the occasion, the National Opera House has planned something sophisticated: a concert called the Declaration of Love, dedicated as much to the age-old celebration of the coming of spring as anything. Conductor Herman Makarenko sat down in his rehearsal room at the opera to talk about the problems and delights of working in classical music in Ukraine.
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Any Westerner can you tell the thousand ways Ukraine isnt like home. But the foreigner needs to find what they call an obshchiy yazyk, a common language, with the locals. And what matter is more urgent to foreigners and Ukrainians alike than money and booze? Whats On explains how to talk about both like a local.

Svyatoslav Vakarchuk is hard to get a hold of. Whether on vacation, touring, or recording new albums, the Okean Elzy frontman and well-known Ukrainian is constantly on the go. But with the release of his new album At Night (which came out 1 December), Whats On made sure to track down the former parliamentarian. Ksenia Karpenko met up with Vakarchuk at Volkonsky Cafe to get the lowdown on his brief political career, his new record and why he plays more in Moscow than in Kyiv.

Grygoriy Skovoroda is probably the most mystical and mysterious figure in Ukrainian history and literature a smiling travelling teacher and a freak rebel, all rolled into one. Yet Skovoroda remains an outstanding Ukrainian philosopher. Given his approaching birthday, Whats On decided to take a look at the legends and the facts about Skovoroda.
Back when I was in high school, Skovoroda always seemed to me a boring and incomprehensible thinker. Later, at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, I got a different view of him. At the university I had to undergo the traditional hazing: cleaning the statue of the man on Kontraktova Pl. Students armed with rags descend on the philosophers form on 15 October every year in celebration of the academys founding. Those most devoted to Skovoroda climb a huge ladder brought from the library and shine the statues head.

Ukrainian publishers are ringing the alarm bell. As the financial crisis progresses, the purchasing power of average Ukrainians is falling, and people are starting to try to save money. That means that theyre going to buy less books, which will weaken the native publishing industry even more. Is there light at the end of the tunnel?
The brothers Kapranovy, well-known Ukrainian writers and the heads of the Zeleny Pes (Green Dog) publishing house, have studied the history of their trade in independent Ukraine. In the first years of independence, explains Vitaliy Kapranov, the publishing of Ukrainian books fell dramatically. By 1997, the country was printing almost no books. In that year, there were hardly 600 titles available in the country. In 1998, when Ukraine introduced the hryvnia and inflation was somehow tamed, publishing in the country began to grow.

The year 2008 is officially the year of Vasyl Stus in Ukraine. Had the KGBs labour camps not destroyed the Ukrainian poet, translator and literary critic, he would be 70 this year. In commemoration, the state has released a jubilee coin and a jubilee envelope emblazoned with an image of the man, and over a hundred events in his honour are being held across Ukraine. A look into the life of a great Ukrainian martyr and cultural hero.
Vasyl Stus was born in Vinnytsya oblast on Christmas Eve in 1938. Later his parents were sent to work at a chemical factory in the city of Stalino (today Donetsk). After receiving a diploma as a teacher of Ukrainian language and literature, Vasyl went to work in a school in Kirovograd oblast. While there, he began to publish his poetry in literary magazines, and in 1963 he became a PhD student at the Institute of Literature of Ukraine, which marked the beginning of his prolific Kyiv period.
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The girls of Reflex would seem to have it all: good looks, money, and fame. But despite all that, much of the girls lives is fairly simple: they shop, walk their pets, listen to pop music and go on vacation in the summer. Of course, they vacation in Thailand and Jamaica, and their jobs consist of video and magazine shoots and concerts in posh venues across Europe. It seems that work and play blend together when youre a Russian pop goddess. They were in Kyiv for a video shoot, and met up with us.
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She was called Wagners Prima Donna, The most beautiful and most charming Butterfly, a grand Salome and one of the most outstanding opera singers of the twentieth century. She was Solomiya Krushelnytska, a Ukrainian opera star who made the whole world listen to her.
Krushelnytska was born on 23 September, 1872 in a small village in Ternopil region into the family of a Greek Catholic priest. Her singing talent was evident from an early age and she received her preliminary musical education in a Ternopil gymnasium. At school she performed for the first time in public as part of the student choir.

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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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