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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 Today

Fighting Fashion

Pageantry and colour has always played an important part in military life and the Ukrainian armed forces are no exception, with the defenders of the motherland modeling all manner of awards and crests while marching under numerous banners. Anastasiya Skorina looks at the history of heraldry in Ukraine and talks to the armys head of insignia, who also provides coats-of-arms for wealthy locals looking to add a little pedigree to their family name.





The man responsible for kitting out the troops in natty parade ground attire is Alexandr Muravyov. Though the Ukrainian Army itself is only fifteen years old, these lands have been a home for fighting men for well over a millennium, all of whom appreciated pageantry, symbolism, and a smart outfit to set the ladies pulses racing. The Cossacks provide a particularly rich vein; crimson banners fluttered over the hosts which swept across the plains into Poland and the Tartar outpost in Crimea, and over the fleets which regularly raided Constantinople and other Ottoman Turk strongholds. Historians continue to debate over the significance of the colour but the affection the Cossacks had for it makes it an obvious choice to use in the arms of the current Ukrainian Army, the spiritual ancestors of the ancient defenders of Ukraine. Then there were the communists. The notion of an egalitarian army, with decisions being made not by offices but by the men, went the way of Nicholas II as soon as Trotsky took control of the Red Army, ushering in a new era of professionalism and craze for insignia, banners, and all manner of assorted tin to be worn with pride on the chests of those who had defended the revolution; indeed, the understated style of the Red Army of the 1920s and 1930s made it perhaps the smartest fighting outfit in the world. Soviet political bigwigs and generals had a particular passion for medals, and a common joke during the Brezhnev era was that the Kremlin dinosaur would have to start pinning his awards on the back, as there was no longer any room on the front thanks to his many Hero of the Soviet UNI0N gongs. Banners from the USSR were often baroque affairs, with the austere and often primitive Bolshivik symbolism giving way to gaudy Soviet crests incorporating corn, the hammer and sickle, and pretty much anything else which was ideological acceptable and would fit in the space. As such Muravyov has plenty of history to draw on, though naturally enough any overt references to the communist past are carefully avoided. Hammer and sickles have made way for the age old Ukrainian trident and the cross, with the red flag of socialism being replaced by the Cossack crimson. There are very strict rules concerning the type of coats-of-arms, with only certain colours being used in banners and insignia. The only metals whichcan be used are gold and silver explains Muravyov, who takes pains in pointing out that the disciple he is engaged in is Armory and not Insignia Studies, a misconception which appears to irritate him somewhat. Those who enjoy a good display of martial colour will be in for a treat 6 December, when the nations finest apply spit and polish to their parade uniforms and mark the Day of the Armed Forces with marches and other such events.

 Tsarist Russia of course had an obsession with rank which affected not only the military but society as a whole. Civil servants and even students wore uniform, with the colour of stripe and sash identifying the bearer as either one who should be bowed to and addressed with the formal vye or as a humble nobody whom superiors could kick around, sometimes literally, without consequence. The mightiest barons and landowners had their own coats-of-arms, which would grace the sides of their imported French coaches and make up part of the livery of their footmen and assorted lackeys. Today, wealthier Kyivites are ordering their own coat-of-arms from various heraldry boffins in an effort to add a little bit aristocratic charm to halls of their New Russian mansions and dachas. Initial draughts can cost between 3000-5000hrv, with the finished article costing anything up to $5000. Unlike say Britain and other European countries which have a rich heraldic tradition, Ukraine has no regulations or body responsible for official coat-of-arms, meaning theres nothing to stop an oligarch having a quartered shield featuring a Hummer, helicopter, high-rise office block and a bowl of borsch from hanging outside his front door, or gracing the heading of letters. Those who cant afford their own family crest however, can at least compensate themselves with a gift or two from the spectacularly named Souvenir Produce of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which is also overseen by the busy Alexandr Muravyov where one can pick up anything from breastplates, to replica medals and statues of Cossacks. Anastasiya Skorina


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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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