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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 Travel

Europes Wild Wild East

If youve got the big city blues after a relaxing summer holiday on a deserted beach the perfect antidote lies in southern Ukraine on the Kherson oblast steppe for centuries one of Europes last wild frontiers. No longer the domain of Cossacks and slave-raiding Tatars, today this remote region plays host to one of Ukraines most naturally stunning nature reserves, Askania Nova, where you can find everything from wild horses to buffalo!

While this spot is naturally rich in exotic plant life and has been home to a wide range of beasts since time immemorial, the nature reserve dates back to 1889, when German landlord Friedrich Eduard Falz-Fein established it as an acclimatisation centre for wild animals, birds and flora from across the globe.
Confiscated from the family by the Red Army in 1919, the last owner (the mother of Friedrich Falz-Fein Sophia-Louise Bohdanivna (Gottlieb) Knauff) refused to vacate the property. Her punishment? Summary execution by two Red Army guardsmen.
In 1921, in the wake of the Bolshevik seizure of power, the nature reserve was nationalised and it has ever since been divided into two elements zoo safari and flora parks.

The Last Frontier
Today, the park serves as a reserve to preserve and study the environment of the virgin steppe. Among the more unusual elements of the Emerald Oasis flora park is a small island featuring one of the oldest hydroelectric mechanisms still operating in the world today, which serves to power the plant watering operations. You will also find a wide range of plant life here that features in the Soviet era Red Book, which is not a collection of Stalins wisdom, rather a selection of endangered species as designated by the Kremlin.
However, the real highlight of any trip to Askania Nova is the abundant wildlife, making this one of the finest safari parks this side of the Rift Valley. Two-hundred-and-ninety-five different species battle it out for the Askania Nova stamping ground, with zebra and antelope rubbing shoulders with lamas and deadly water buffalo, while 120 ostriches from Australia give the park a sense of speed. Overhead you may see the highly symbolic steppe eagle soaring across the sky, or a flock of flamboyant pink flamingos coming to rest in any one of the reserves lakes. And youll also want to keep an eye for the largest group of Przewalski horses kept in captivity running across the plain.
With a total area of 825 square kilometres, the reserve boasts an acclimatisation zoo, arboretum and virgin steppe sanctuary the last of its kind in Europe. Protected by UNESCO since 1985 and becoming one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Ukraine in 2008 has kept it from getting into the hands of the wrong oligarch, so as yet there are no plans to build a second dacha palace for any mistresses here, but you can never say never in todays Ukraine.
As one of Europes last great untouched zones it is well worth the trip and open for excursions until early November, your next weekend away just got a whole lot more exciting. Travel south and enjoy the continents last great frontier before it closes for the season.

Askania Nova Nature Reserve 
(Frunze 13, Chaplinski region, Kherson oblast)
Excursion season: 1 April 10 November
055-386-1286

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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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