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¹7 (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 EuroMaidan’s three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the country’s 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 – 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.



Letter to the President

Dear Viktor,
As the new university year begins, it seems a good time to write to you pointing out that the higher education system – like most things in Ukraine – still suffers from corruption. True, it’s not entirely rotten to the core, but there are still too many examples to ignore, with bribes for both admission and grades. The worry is that the system keeps the stupid powerful and the intelligent desperate to leave the country.

Whilst this may very well be intended, Viktor, it means Ukraine may never take its rightful place at the table of success. But you’re in luck: there has never been a better time to put it right, and the rewards for doing so have never been higher. What’s On would like to help.
Let’s start by discussing what’s happening, as opposed to what’s meant to be happening, before seeing what we can do about it. It will help to use two real-life examples:
Olena is 22 and didn’t go to university, despite getting the best marks in her year. She didn’t go because she didn’t pay the bribe, whereas four of her classmates did. Only the top four got in, and for some unknown reason her classmates’ grades were later revised up, meaning Olena came fifth. 
Then there’s Oksana (not her real name). She’s currently studying at a famous university near Shevchenko Park (admission via bribe), admits that she’s utterly useless, and doesn’t care. She doesn’t go to class and does badly in her tests, but she doesn’t mind because she knows her results will be bought, so she just goes shopping instead. When the university tried to expel her, her uncle made a phone-call to his friend in the government, and shortly afterwards all disciplinary proceedings were dropped. She’s still there, skipping class and getting bad marks.
The Oksanas of the country don’t have two brain cells to rub together, yet they’ll continue to get good jobs as a result of their grades and connections, probably at the expense of the more able. It means that the people who you really need running your companies, authorities, projects and teams are either languishing in dead-end jobs or have gone abroad. 
This is important for you Viktor, for two reasons. 
The first reason is money. If you want Ukraine to become your own little fiefdom, then you’ll need it to be rich and generate wealth. Soon you’ll run out of things to sell to your friends, so you’ll need what’s left to either cost less or make more, or both. The people who will bring about these changes will need brains (which a university degree in Ukraine doesn’t necessarily infer) and motivation (which the corruption certainly doesn’t instil). The Olena’s are the ones who will cut costs, improve efficiency, see opportunities, motivate staff and grow profits. In short, it’s the Olena’s who will re-position Ukraine to where it needs to be. Get the Olena’s into the top Ukrainian universities now, doing the subjects they’re good at (not just the ones they can afford) and you’ll have a wealth-generating country within eight to ten years.
The second reason it’s important is power. Everyone knows Ukraine is totally corrupt, and they assume that those who only pay lip-service to cleaning it up (like you, Viktor) are in on the game. Powerful people have both the means and mental capacity to change a system for the better. Powerless people simply work within one, manoeuvring it for their own gain. Change the system, and you’ll have real power. And with power comes respect.
Convinced? Good. Now we need to work out how to do it, and to do that we need to take ideas from a system that works. Because like Ukrainian public money, Viktor, the best ideas are always stolen.
The system we’re thinking of is the one employed by a huge multi-national organisation with a base at Boryspil that employs 2,000 people. They’re hugely successful, with sales of $82 billion per year, and over 300 brands in 180 countries. They’re successful because they employ and promote Olena’s, whilst the Oksana’s don’t even get a look in. They tell an Olena from an Oksana by having a rigorous and transparent selection process. There are interviews and tests galore (so they really get to understand a candidate’s overall performance and ability). All of it is marked and administered by people who have nothing to gain from either the process or the outcome, and the marks are verified by others, also with nothing to gain. The results are published early so there can be no last minute revisions like Olena experienced. 
If you applied this to your higher education system, you’d cut out all those sticky little fingers that grab at students and families along the way. The most able would stand out as such, and university places would go to those most deserving. People would start to regain trust in the system. 
Finally, when choosing your independent people who are removed from the process with nothing to gain, can we suggest they are not Party kleptocrats? Call us cynical. 

Kind Regards,
What’s On

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Comments (2)
You are not authorized! Only registered and authorized users can add their comments!
rlapedmmodu | 31.05.2012 20:59

BLZeEz , [url=http://ahualvhtkvjk.com/]ahualvhtkvjk[/url], [link=http://txbapsyjcqcs.com/]txbapsyjcqcs[/link], http://cdcpjgfqdyvp.com/

Lawani | 29.05.2012 19:12

As an animator, I don't think that this can be cassled as animation, she is nothing more than a performing artist, an exceedingly talented one by the way. Her art doesn't move as in pure animation, the only movement we see is in the creation of still pictures not the movement of the pictures, creating the art and the emotion, that is what lies at the core of art of animation, the ability to stir the emotions. America has been criticized by many Europeans because it has not produced any great painters like Picasso or musicians like Mozart. They seem to forget that America virtually invented the ART of animation, not only invented it nearly 100 years ago but have produced and still produce the greatest works of animation in the world. There is no country or anyone for that matter can compete for pure emotional impact, and that is what we are talking about, than Disney's Bambi or Snow white in 2D or, Pixars 3D Shrek. Great Animators are rarer than rocking horse shit, they are in fact actors, not only are they actors they, are acting in slow motion with a pencil. The worst of it is that they are virtually unknown and unrecognized in there own country, America. To prove my point how many know about or have even heard about the greatest animator as far as I am concerned Chuck Jones, I would be surprised if one in ten did, or even recognized the names of Ken Harris Grim Natwick or Art Babbitt or Preston Blair who did the drawing for the dance of the Crocodiles and Hippopotamuses in Fantasia. This lady is a great performing artist but she is no animator.

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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didn’t 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 don’t 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 – children’s 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. What’s 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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