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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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Active Kyiv

Fast Crossing

Its part of human nature to be adventurous and seek out new experiences. And it doesnt really matter whether that experience is good or bad, because either way you can chalk it up to, well, experience. Whats On goes whizzing across the Dnipro at 60 to 100 kilometres an hour, 50 metres above the water for an experience thats gone in 60 seconds.

 It hadnt yet been set up, but that didnt stop me from both to-ing and fro-ing about it all winter. Im talking about the Kyiv Trolley, a 600 -metre zip line across the Dnipro, that, depending on what you read, is claimed to be the longest of its kind in Ukraine. The launch site is based on a track below the Arch of Friendship of Nations, the wires run across the Dnipro alongside the pedestrian-only Park Bridge taking you at breakneck speed over the water to a 12-metre tower set on the beach on Trukhaniv Island. My biggest fear is my procrastination will mean the zip line is closed before I find the will to decide to simply do it. In the end, I force myself.

Fast And Efficient
My sister Irina and I have no trouble finding the launch site, thats the easy part; its the thought of travelling at the speed of gravity with very little between myself and the drink thats the difficult part. And my pre-conceived ideas have done little to assuage my nerves. I thought there was just one wire rope stretched from one bank to another, but it turns out for the 2013 summer season the zip line has been upgraded. Now two lines cross the river for human cargo, while a third is set up to carry luggage. I guess if youre desperate to tuck into picnic grub or to set up camp, it serves a purpose. However, we havent picked the best day. Its the Day of Kyiv and the heaving crowd waiting to cross shows not only did many other people have the same idea as us, but also this attraction is hugely popular.
However, Kyiv Trolley knows its business well, mustering people into harnesses and sending them across the water with an efficiency that impresses us. Actually, it reminds me of a well-working conveyer-belt: people are dealt with clinical efficiency and it suddenly begins to feel less extreme and more production line. So engrossed am I in watching people hurtle over the edge like lemmings, I fail to notice my sister is already up on the launch area, harnessed up and ready to go. In the blink of an eye shes already crossing the river and by the time she has reached the other side I too am standing on the edge, harnessed and wearing a helmet. My bag wasnt big and so it is to accompany me, it turns out the luggage line is more practical than I thought and Ive already seen peoples bags sent separately if they are too heavy. Im told to hold my legs close to my body Im about to go.

Bird On A Wire
Its surprisingly peaceful and time appears to slow down. While the crossing only takes about a minute, it still gives you the opportunity to see a beautiful panorama of Kyiv from an unfamiliar perspective. And those views are almost 180 degrees, because the supervisor sets you on a gentle spin as you launch. Podil is on your left with its old architecture, to the right on the Pedestrian Bridge you realise the only view people are taking in is you as people stand agape as you whizz by. Meanwhile, the Dnipro stretches out on both sides of you and you see the waters too from a completely new viewpoint. Its like a major artery bisecting the city and from this height it is an impressive river. The Arch of Friendship of Nations remains behind you, as do most of Kyivs most recognisable landmarks, as you make the crossing but all the while you are losing height as you approach Trukhaniv Island; so while the view may be great you might get the same view from the Pedestrian Bridge. Then its over.
At the end of the line, the automated-like efficiency continues. I am slightly giddy with adrenaline but theres no time to share it with anyone, no time for small talk. The supervisor simply helps me take off the equipment and sends me on my way. It does seem though my crossing is more of a success than some. Not everyone makes it to the end of the wire, as is the case with my sister, there are those who simply run out speed and steam metres from the tower. For them its a case of so close but so far and they are left hanging helplessly until they are rescued by zip line workers who drag them to the finish line.
Summing up my ride its a worthwhile experience, but I label it a more relaxing than extreme experience. Extreme is a term best reserved for skydiving or bungee jumping. However, maybe that makes it more appealing its an attraction for anyone of almost any age.

Kyiv Trolley (Zip Line)
The season runs from May to October
Admission: 150hrv (250hrv with a child less than 35kg)
Hours: 10.30 21.30, 361-6080
www.troll.in.ua

by Alina Smolina

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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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