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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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Kyiv Culture

One for the Road

When I was younger, nobody ever described me as too cool for school. This phrase was reserved for anyone who acted tough like Sylvester Stallone, played pranks on the teachers or just played any sport that wasnt chess. However Im sure if Id got a lift to school on a Harley Davidson motorbike, my school days would have been a lot different.

Harley Davidson has designed some of the most iconic bikes on the road since it was founded 110 years ago in Wisconsin, USA. Now, in its fourth year in Ukraine, Whats On investigates why Harley Davidson bikes are so unique, why bike owners are so loyal and how anyone can get involved.

Closing The Season
First and foremost, Harley Davidson for some is not just a bike; its a lifestyle choice. Even when the bike is parked, Kyivs Harley Owners Group, otherwise known as the Kyiv chapter, organises events such as their end-of-the-season event this past autumn. On 28 September, fans gathered from all over Ukraine for the tradition, which mixes masculinity with community. Engines roared and muscles bulged as awards for the loudest bike and strongest biker were given out, amongst others. Riders reminisced about the season, occasionally toasting to the future, as rock group SerGa played in the background.
There are not many owners clubs like this. Even the pencil and notepad I was armed with was soon replaced by complimentary beer and food; a pretty unusual occurrence for a journalist in Ukraine!

The Men From The Boys
Harleys are relatively new in Ukraine compared to their American counterparts. The spectacle of a bad boy stereotypical biker with a Gandalf style beard, a bandana, leather and lots of skulls is unusual. Saying that, Ukrainian bikers dont exactly dance around in Hawaiian shirts doing the conga. Instead, the movement is becoming more orientated towards the upper-middle class; a new model in Ukraine comes with a price tag of minimum $11,000.
Professionals from all walks of life, including doctors and lawyers, can be seen cruising the streets. Many see buying a bike as buying a piece of American culture, creating a nostalgic feeling. Even George Clooney, Elvis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and my grandma have been among Harley fans. Many riders understand that although traditional Japanese bikes are reliable, nothing replaces the combination of metal and leather, a near must if youre planning to join the Harley team.
There is a set procedure for local membership applicants no matter where in the world you are. Here in Ukraine, the most popular clubs are the MFC Crazy Hohols and MFC Padonki, although there are others. Changing from one group to another can often take several months, as approval is required by the groups leaders before the transition can take place. Par for the course are long-distance; one of the longest for the Ukrainian constituent being a 19-day trip from Ukraine to Cape Roca, the most western part of Portugal. Those riders not affiliated with any bike club in particular, can meet and arrange rides at Kyivs best-known biker watering holes: Route 66, Dejavu, and Docker Pub.

Harley Hotties
Although some classic motorcycle clubs stick to the girls ride on the back tradition, more women are increasingly in the driving seat. Biker chicks are sometimes pretty alluring (if I may say so myself), although they tend to be breaking away from that conventional babe label slowly. More and more bike models are being aimed towards the ladies, and most women dont seem to mind wearing lipstick and high heels while they cruise.
In fact, the Miss Harley Davidson Ukraine beauty contest held throughout the year, and coming to its completion this week, illustrates well how they embody the Harley Davidson philosophy. With 12 of the most attractive and charismatic beauties competing for the title on 11 December, this is going to be an evening you dont want to miss; especially with Ukrainian Playmate for April and Russian Playmate for July Irina Bondarenko making an appearance, along with, Alloise, VV and a fabulous bunch of DJs.

Miss Harley Davidson 2013 Finals
11 December at 19.00
Admission: invitation only
Caribbean Club (S Petlyury 4)
www.harley-davidson-kiev.com.ua

Tom Bell

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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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