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On the cover
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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Cover Story

The Rise of Lazarev

Sergey Lazarev is an anomaly in Russian pop choosing to sing in English and its something hes unlikely to compromise on. With a career that has seen him negotiate the transition from child star to adult artist without falter, the 30-year-old remains determined to crack the international music market. Whats On catches up with the Russian star on the eve of his Kyiv concert.

With a collaboration with American rapper T-Pain on his track Cure the Thunder this year, that international breakthrough could be tantalisingly close for Sergey Lazarev. Despite an 18-year career, Lazarev maintains that singular focus as he talks about childhood fame in a saccharine kids group, surviving a boy band and going it alone.

Youve taken a path similar to acts such as Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera. From childrens group Neposedy, through to Smash!!, then solo. Can you describe what it is like being in the public eye for so long?
Neposedy was my first professional experience and where I started when I was 12. When I and my friend Vlad Topalov grew out of Neposedy we created Smash!!, a duet that brought us fame. When you grow up on stage its a huge responsibility and kind of tough. However it made me disciplined.

You went down the boy band route becoming a teen idol in the process, what was it like?
When we were in Neposedy we really wanted it to grow into something big. We dreamed of becoming popular, wanted to see our videos on TV, and people to come to our concerts. When the first band, t.A.T.u. came out of Neposedy and became popular it motived us. And when we sang Belle from Notre Dame De Paris, even before we had the name Smash!!, wed signed a contract with Universal Music in Russia. In 2002, we took first place at Jurmalas New Wave song contest and it blew up from there.

Smash!! bandmate Vlad Topalov admitted to being a regular user of cocaine and ecstasy and says this was the reason Smash!! broke up. Was the pressure too great?
There are many reasons why Smash!! broke up. We didnt part on good terms, but now everythings okay between us. We were really tired after three years of working, we wanted to be stars but we were still kids and the transition from Neposedy to Smash!! happened too quickly. We were turning into robots. All decisions were made for us but we wanted to be heard.

So to your solo career, your debut album Dont Be Fake, was predominantly in English, yet only marketed in Eastern Europe. Can you explain why you chose English?
When we signed the contract with Universal, we were aiming at the international market. We were following t.A.T.u. whod already become popular worldwide and we recorded the album in English to sell it abroad. We had the same strategy. After releasing our first album we had a big promo tour in Asia, and were number one in Korea. Thats why in my solo career Ive decided to persist with English.

English featured on your follow-up album TV Show as well as Electric Touch and Lazarev, can you talk about success in the English-speaking market.
A couple of singles were released in England and played in nightclubs. Because of the crisis it all stopped for a short while. Thanks to the Sony contract everything is back on track. Recently we released Cure the Thunder in cooperation with American rapper T-Pain. Finally we have the fourth album selling on iTunes. Thanks to the Internet its easy to go international nowadays.

Do you have any plans for a Russian-language album?
Its hard to find lyricists who write what I need in Russian. All my lyrics are written by foreigners and the level of foreign music is higher. Besides, people are used to me singing in English.

You juggle music with theatre to some acclaim, can you talk a little about acting and any plans to move from stage to screen?
I graduated from Chekhovs Moscow Art Theatre and in 10 years of acting Ive played four lead roles at Pushkin Theatre in Moscow. Now Im getting ready for The Marriage of Figaro where Im playing Figaro. Theatre is my second profession. I dont have a great desire to play in films; I dont like the shooting process. Theatre is enough.

And what about your future in music? Is there a new album in the works?
I dont have a new album planned. Lazarev is still fresh and were focusing on promotion. It went gold in Russia three months after release. I think any new album would be completely different as Ill be 33 or even 34 by the time I release it. The music will change as much as I will.

Sergey Lazarev (RU, pop)
20 October at 19.00
Tickets: 150 1,200hrv
October Palace (Instytutska 1)
279-1582

by Jared Morgan

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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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