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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.


Special Feature

The Russian Heart of Ukraine

The statue of Lenin stands proudly in Donetsk, in (naturally) Lenin Square. While it would be extrapolating to say that the statue is universally loved, it certainly doesn’t require the 24-hour protection of our own equivalent in Kyiv, at the junction of Khreshchatyk and Shevchenko Boulevard. Actually, they recently erected a new one in the region – the first such in the 20-year history of Ukraine as an independent country. 
Now, of course, a statue to Lenin is not just a tribute to a near-90-year dead Soviet Premier. It is a pretty strong statement of nationalistic persuasion.

And there’s no doubt which side of the Soviet divide places such as Donetsk, Kharkiv, Crimea, Dnipropetrovsk and even Odesa are on. To assess this, I use a 3-point measuring tool:

Do they say ‘pozhaluista’ or ‘bud laska’ in Puzata Khata?
How often are you quoted a price in roubles?
What language are the signs in?

Kharkiv and Odesa fulfil the first two to a greater extent, and the third to a slightly lesser. Having never been to Crimea myself, we’ll leave that out of the debate for now. Dnipropetrovsk I was in back in 2009, so that falls a little outwith this, as things may well have changed in the last three years. Donetsk, where I’ve been most recently, reaches and by some degree breaches all three criteria. If you wait for the ‘nastupna stantsia’ on the bus, you’ll be going round in circles for a long time. Instead you have the Russian ‘sledushaya stantsia’. 
Actually, some in Ukraine have been pointing the finger for Ukraine’s EURO exit not at the rather unobservant assistant referee, but at the fact the team were not sufficiently supported by the pro-Russian crowd. I was in the stadium and would question this assertion. However, there can be no doubting that many there considered themselves firstly Russian (it is reported that 50% or more in Donetsk class themselves as Russian). Perhaps this should not be so surprising in a city once called Stalin, and then Stalino, as these are modern-day Ukrainian residents with little, or no, intention of ever switching over to speaking Ukrainian. 
The Russian heart is certainly still beating in the east of Ukraine, and with that part of the country also providing the majority of Ukraine’s industry and many of its most appealing tourist destinations, those beats continue to reverberate through Ukraine. 

Graham Phillips

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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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