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On the cover
№7 (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.


On the Sofa with...

The World’s Most Desirable Man (hopefully)

Name: Oleksandr Bogdanov; 
Age: 26;
Height: 178cm;
Languages: Ukrainian, English, Russian, Spanish;
This is the information you will find on the Mr World website about Ukraine’s entry this year. What it doesn’t tell you is how warm, funny, innocent and completely unaware of what a good person Oleksandr really is. Competing for the title World’s Most Desirable Man, he’s up against 47 rather handsome odds. That hasn’t seemed to deter him, however…

How did you first get started with Mr Ukraine?
I first found out about this competition in 2010, and made the decision to participate because I think it’s a little bit underrated in our country. There was already a contestant going from Ukraine that year, and so I called and asked if I would be able to participate at least in the casting for next year. They didn’t know when that would be, so I said I would wait to hear from them. 
Two and a half years went by, and finally I got the call this September. Ukraine didn’t have a Mr Ukraine pageant this year, so they suggested I enter the competition on my own. I agreed because it was something I had been thinking about for a while, and nothing had changed in the interim – I’m still working at school, I’m still not married…

And what do you do at school? 
I am a teacher of Spanish and English at the Ukrainian Humanitarian Lyceum.

Okay, going back, you had no life changes…
Yes, nothing that would be an obstacle for me to participate. So, for example, if I were to be voted Mr World, then I would be able to fulfil all of the obligations. It is a huge process – it is a job! You will be travelling for a year to different countries, working for different charities, and so on. And so it’s important not to have anything that ties you down. 
So, we started the process, and really, it wasn’t that difficult. The only real problem was that I didn’t know, until very recently, that I would even be taking part. It has meant being on a really strict diet, going to the gym five times a week, etc.  

What does your diet consist of now?
Kefir (smiles). 

And that’s it?
No, I’m trying to eat some meat, some vegetables, just trying to keep the portions down. If you look at my pictures from before, you can tell that I am not fat, but I am bigger. Now I’m trying to continue building muscle but losing some extra weight. This month I have already lost four and a half kilos. 

Do you want to lose more? 
A little bit. Just two kilos.

And what do you like to do to keep in shape? 
I like boxing, and the gym, and I like swimming. Plus I like to be healthy, not partying too much. But then, it’s complicated for me to party because as a teacher I should be a role model for my students (smiles). 

What do you like to do in your spare time then?
I like to go to the National Opera Theatre. I really like Swan Lake, and I often celebrate my birthday with a show at the theatre, filling a box with close friends. 

Back to the competition – it’s in November? 
The final is on 24 November. But I’ll have had to be there since 9 November. Throughout this time, we will have had rehearsals, plus we will be filming in different locations. There will also be three competitions under this one umbrella – Mr Top Model, Mr Sport, and Mr Multimedia. These mini competitions will help the judges decide who will be eligible for the grand final. 

Do you feel confident? 
Now I am nervous, but I know that when I am there, I won’t be, because everyone who has made it this far is already a winner – that’s what I say. 

So this is a pretty big deal!
Yes, I suppose so (he says, shrugging his shoulders). When it comes to Ukraine, people know that we have beautiful women, the Klitschko brothers, Andriy Shevchenko and Chicken Kiev. I want people to know that there are also lots of good-looking Ukrainian men too, who are not limited by the borders of this country, but are trying to be international, trying to demonstrate how our country is also part of the European community – this is why it’s important for me to take part in this competition. 

What will you do if you win? 
I don’t want to think about that just yet. It’s bad luck to speculate. This is the goal, of course, but participating is really cool too. 

How do you think it will affect Ukraine if you win?
I think it will be very good for our country and that it will somehow improve the image of Ukraine.

Follow Oleksandr on Facebook at Mr World – Ukraine for the latest updates!

Lana Nicole

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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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