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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.


Ukraine Today

We Will Remember

It was the worst of times in the Soviet Socialist Republic, literally. Leader of the Soviet UNI0N, Joseph Stalin, had enforced a sweeping collectivisation as part of his Five-Year Plan, designed to strengthen the countrys economy. What it did was commit the Ukrainian nation and surrounding areas to starvation, and death. They called it Holodomor, extermination by hunger.

While the world debates whether Stalin really meant to kill 3-3.5 million Ukrainians in his plan to strengthen the economy, the reality is that thats exactly what happened. Between 1932 and 1933, when the Soviet government increased Ukraines production quotas to such a level, they could not be met. Starvation was widespread. Ukrainian villagers were dying at a rate of 25,000 per day; thats 1,000 per hour or 17 per minute. The Ukrainian population was reduced by as much as 25%, all the while the Soviet Government refusing to acknowledge to the international community the starvation it had de facto imposed upon the Ukrainian people.
Spearheaded by Ukraine on 28 November 2006, a resolution by the Verkhovna Rada declared the event a genocide. To date, however, only 16 countries around the world have followed suit. In an attempt to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Holodomor, and ensure we never forget the atrocities inflicted, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Ukrainian World Congress have collected stories from those who lived it. Posting one account everyday over 80 days leading up to the anniversary on 23 November, the stories speak for themselves.

In 1933, there was such a harvest. You couldnt take a stalk of grain because if you did, youd end up in Siberia. People would die in the streets. People were dying as if they were flies.
Maria Bontey
Winnipeg, Canada
Born 1 March 1923, Yakhynky village, Poltava oblast

I remember in the winter, my mother sent me to the neighbours, with some corn soup for them. I went to their house, but nobody answered. So I opened the door, and went home, and told my mother, Theyre all sleeping. My mother went with the neighbours to take a look, and they were all dead. My mother said, Theyre not sleeping. Theyre in the next world.
Luba Semaniuk
Winnipeg, Canada
Born 1925, Bilmanka village, Zaporizhya oblast

My father realised things would get bad. And he hid grain, and some meat and lard in the forest somewhere. They didnt find it. They came with long rods, sharpened at one end, and prodded the ground, looking for freshly-dug earth. They prodded the hay in the barn; they searched everywhere but they didnt find anything. This saved our family.
Petro Hurskyj
Philadelphia, US
Born 1925, Zhovdaka village, Sumy oblast

They took my father away. He was sentenced to ten years in prison, because we were kulaks. They called us kulaks. My mother went to work on the railroad. About 2 kilometres from Kybyntsi there was a distillery where they made vodka from beets. The mash that was left [after distillation] was poured into a hole. When my mother came home from work she would take a bucket, walk 2km and take that mash. We called it braha. She would bring it home, pour a bit of water in, and cook it. Thats what we ate.
Anastasiya Yeremenko
Philadelphia, US
Born 12 August 1925, Kybyntsi village, Poltava oblast

I was sent to Krynychky to teach third grade. I had 40 students. [Soon] there were fewer students. I could see that they were hungry. Nobody gave them food. They didnt complain to me. They would come [to class], and some were still listening; others tilted their heads to the side and went to sleep. It came to it that in one year, in 1933, there was not one student left in my class.
Ivan Kononenko
Philadelphia, US
Born 6 January 1915, Hryshivka village, Katerynolav gubernia (now Dnipropetrovsk oblast)

Everyone was swollen. I was swollen, the skin on my legs was cracking. We went around and in the spring, tore leaves off linden trees to eat. We would sleep in the school. There was no straw or anything [to sleep on]; we slept on the floor. When we got up, [some of the children] had died. Later, when we started to swell [from hunger] and our skin began to crack, we didnt go to the school anymore, we slept on the side of the road.
Sofia Cilin
New Jersey, US
Born 20 October 1921, Krynychne village, Kharkiv oblast

I was a student at the Kyiv Construction Institute and I was mobilised for the harvest campaign, to assist in the collection of the harvest, because so many [villagers] had died. I was ordered to call [villagers] to work. I had to go from house to house. In one house, I saw a swollen girl. When I said that she had to go to work, she said she couldnt, because she was swollen. I remembered this house, and the next day I brought her my bread ration. I did it again, and what do you think happened? Somebody informed on me to the [Communist] Party man who was in charge that I was feeding [this girl]. He called me in and said, Listen Revutsky, what are you doing? Youre feeding Enemies of the People!
Valerian Revutsky
Vancouver, Canada
Born 14 June 1910, Irzhevets village, Poltava gubernia (now Chernihiv oblast)

People died every day. A lot of people died. I saw this. We had a river in the village, and not a single fish, or frog or turtle was left. Nothing. There was not a single dog or cat left in the village. Nothing. People ate everything. Later there was nothing. Absolutely nothing was left. A wagon went around every day, from house to house, collected the dead and threw them on a wagon. At the cemetery they dug a big pit, about the size of this room, and for two or three days would collect the dead there. Thats how it was. I often think about this, but it is very hard to remember...its very hard to describe, and who can believe that this is what happened.
Stefania Krikun
Edmonton, Canada
Born 14 February 1926, Hrynivtsi village, Zhytomyr oblast

I remember our neighbours in Dzhankoi, the husband was a [Communist] Party member, and he had a job and food. For the Communists there was no famine. Their parents had good jobs and food; they didnt know what famine was. But the villagers, they know. The villagers know.
Paul Morenec
London, Canada
Born 24 August 1924, Cherhen village, Zaporizhzhya oblast

When I came [to Canada] in 1950 I was already living in the house where I live now. I was standing near the window and saw a garbage truck. My son was about one-year-old and had just started walking, and was walking on the couch in front of the window. I began to shake. My husband said, What happened? Are you ill? I said, No, I remembered how when I was young, during the Famine, and people were falling, and they would put them on the truck and cover them with canvas. It was the same way the garbage here was covered.
Nina Kohut
Toronto, Canada
Born 11 February 1924, Odesa city, Odesa oblast

To learn more, or simply to find more stories like these, visit www.sharethestory.ca. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Ukrainian World Congress will continue to upload a new story every day until the official commemoration day on 23 November.

by Lana Nicole

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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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