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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 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.


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.


Ukrainian Culture

Ukrainian Geographic

The worlds most non-political and environmentally-aware magazine National Geographic has launched a Ukrainian edition, taking the number of languages the magazine is published in to 39. Appearing on shelves in April, people were soon hunting for the debut issue across Kyiv, snapping up the famous yellow-framed magazine in kiosks and supermarkets. The first-issue fever proved there was an appetite among Ukrainians for a magazine devoted to geography, popular science, history, culture, current events, and photography that speaks their language.

For 125 years the first issue appeared in 1888 in the US, National Geographic has been a byword for high-quality photography and text. Focusing on global topics and exclusive scientific research, the magazine covers a diverse range of topics with forensic accuracy, yet presented in a way that is easy and accessible for the reader.
National Geographic is the official journal of the National Geographic Society. The same Society that has been involved in some of the most significant and sensational discoveries on the planet, such as the first explorers to the North Pole, the discovery of Tutankhamens tomb in Egypt, numerous underwater expeditions conducted by Jacques-Yves Cousteau and even the discovery of the wreck of the RMS Titanic. Today, the National Geographic family produces magazine editions in nearly 40 countries, publishes six additional and complementary magazines alongside its flagship masthead (National Geographic Kids, National Geographic Traveller, National Geographic Adventure and so on), and includes television in the form of the National Geographic Channel.
In 2007, NatGeo created a new Global Media group that does everything from publishing books, maps, atlases to producing music, films, and digital content. Even though digital media is eroding printed media, National Geographic magazine remains in high-demand and that demand is sustained and increasing. The fact the magazine launched four localised editions in 2012 (in Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania and Mongolia) followed by the Ukrainian edition is proof of its enduring popularity. Whats On meets the editor-in-chief of National Geographic Ukraine Olha Valchyshen to talk about the Ukrainian version of the magazine, the initial response of readers, and upcoming and exclusive Ukrainian content.

Ukrainians have finally got the magazine theyve been waiting for intelligent, non-political, visually beautiful and in the Ukrainian language. The release however took two tries...
You are right; initially the launch of National Geographic was planned for 2008. All negotiations with the main office were complete, but due to the financial crisis, Sanoma Media decided to postpone its publication. When I was offered the position of chief editor I agreed immediately I subscribed to the magazine for two years when I was studying in the States and fell in love with it. At the main office in the US, editors working at NatGeo say its the best work in the world and now I know its quite true.

National Geographic is among only a handful of foreign editions under a global masthead published in the Ukrainian language, the rest are of course published in Russian. What is the position of National Geographic when it comes to localised language editions?
The National Geographic Society leaves the language question up to the local publisher to decide. In this case, it was the decision of Sanoma Media Ukraines general director Yulia Stefanyshyna she had a feeling a Ukrainian language magazine of this type would be in demand. It is obvious the market lacks editions of publications in Ukrainian language and the first issue of National Geographic proved the decision to publish in Ukrainian was the right one.

There has been a lot of scepticism, however, as to whether a Ukrainian-speaking audience can afford to buy the magazine.
Well, the sceptics may have to change their tune now. Of course its too early to speak about the success of the magazine after only one issue, but we have witnessed great interest, a boom even our subscription department can barely cope with the amount of subscribers. It is really very inspiring.

Both our and your readers are probably interested how editorial decisions at National Geographic are made which specific topics do you choose to run in the Ukrainian edition?
We have access to all material produced by National Geographic and we can use any material we like in our edition. NatGeo has long-term forward planning so we already know what the American edition is putting in its August and September issues; we are trying to plan exclusive Ukrainian material ahead as well. Taking a certain article for the Ukrainian edition we make sure it has a global impact, like global warming, or the topic of aging, which is the cover-story of our April issue.

Is there a possibility that exclusive Ukrainian material would be interesting for National Geographic in other countries?
There is a possibility, if the topic is global enough. In the April issue, we took a different look at Chornobyl not as an abandoned zone, but as the place where the most colossal building project (the new reactor shelter) is in process. The Chornobyl issue is global enough, so we hope it interests other editions as well.

Can you talk about the fundamental principles and the philosophy of National Geographic?
Apart from global impact, which is a must for all material that appears in NatGeo, its fact-based journalism that National Geographic demands. We look at the mainstream of scientific thought, making sure the majority of scientists concur in this way we keep away from pseudo-scientific theories. Material for National Geographic takes years to get ready there is no place for unproved, semi-scientific theories. Another thing we have at our disposal is a pool of consultants they are professional scientists in their specific fields who read through articles making sure the terms and ideas are interpreted correctly.

Photographs are another thing National Geographic is famous for. Have you already found high-profile Ukrainian photographers?
Its definitely a great challenge for Ukrainian photographers, because National Geographic demands we illustrate different periods of the life of wild birds, for instance. That takes time and much effort. We would even reject a topic if there was no way to illustrate it properly covering all aspects.

Were you surprised at the uptake and response in Ukraine even children loved the issue and the story about manatees. Can you talk about some of the feedback youve received so far?
Indeed, children love National Geographic my three-year-old son loves to look at the pictures. The magazine is very inclusive; it attracts all age groups regardless of sex. As for comments, I was very much surprised to know one of our readers thought the magazine has too much advertising! In fact National Geographic has very strict rules adverts dont intrude into the material inside the magazine. Most pleasant was to read the feedback from Ukrainian scientists they rated highly the content in Ukrainian National Geographic.

Kateryna Kyselyova

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Read also:
  • When Walls Can Talk
  • Rights We Didnt Know We Had
  • The Path to Europe Begins Here...
  • Documenting Life
  • Head into 2014 Healthy

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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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