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¹7 (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 EuroMaidan’s three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the country’s 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

’Tis the Season

Christmas is more about anticipation than the actual day itself. Across Europe, celebrations begin when the first Christkindlmarkt or Christmas markets open – weeks or even a month before the big day. This quasi-historical festive romp of a German Christmas is now a staple on Ukraine’s calendar of annual events. What’s On samples the festive fare.

They fill cities and towns with Christmas magic, featuring colourful wooden stalls, glimmering lights, fantastic decorations, the spicy aroma of glühwein, or mulled wine, and whet citizen’s appetites for feasting and being merry. And they get bigger and better every year in Ukraine with more and more Christmas markets opening across the country. Let’s take a walk around some of them...

Kyiv Christkindlmarkt
Of course, when it comes to Christmas markets, the capital of Ukraine offers plum picking. This year the Christmas market to be set up in Kyiv’s centre is ‘gonna be’ (as officials promise) nothing short of a fabulous event that will rival (well, that remains to be seen) seasonal fairs in other parts Europe.
The event will take in two parts of the centre. In the first, at least 100 vendor booths will encircle the centre. Designed in Ukrainian style, they will spread along Kyiv’s main drag, Khreshchatyk Street, from Maidan Nezalezhnosti, to Besarabska Square, up Shevchenko Boulevard (the promenade part), take in Opera House Square, as well as Sophiiv­ska, My­khai­liv­ska and Trinity squares (Olimpiy­sky Sta­dium). The market will open from 14 December to 20 January.
Apart from numerous souvenir kiosks selling millions of Christmas must-haves, each separate market will include huts housing both the traditional Ukrainian Did Moroz (Grandfather Frost) and his more Western rival Santa Claus – just a knock at the door and you’ll be face-to-face with the big guns of the festive season in Ukraine! Anyone interested will be able to take part in a variety of Ukrainian folk art and craft master-classes, as well as purchase handmade caramel and other marvellous sweets. More holiday specialties are promised like a skating rink, ice run and ice labyrinth to be built near the Olympic Stadium on Trinity Square. A little zoo and traditional merry-go-round will definitely add to the festive mood of children and adults.

Double-Act
The second Kyiv Christmas market has been dubbed the Gift Arch and will unfold from 14 December to 14 January right under the People’s Friendship Arch (overlooking European Square). Some 80 vendor booths will offer Christmas decorations, ornaments, souvenirs, and handmade gifts, and organisers say the whole affair will take on a very European look. For example, the Gift Arch will welcome one and all to take part in a Christmas Food Festival and try delicacies from across the continent and across the Atlantic – French brioche, English prediction-pie, Swedish gingerbread men, Danish aebleskiver, and American Santa-burger. Those greedy for sweets will no doubt enjoy Spanish doughnuts, Belgian chocolates, German marzipan stollen, Italian cannolli and Viennese strudel.
To wash the food down and get you warmed up, guests are offered some Scandinavian glogg and Austrian gluhwein, two variants of mulled wine. And all this fare is quite affordable – a one-dish course costs 5 hryvnias, while a combination ticket will set you back 50 hryvnias. Some food and drink will be provided free of charge, as organisers reveal, “We are now negotiating with our suppliers on that matter.”
After feasting you can burn off those accumulated calories on a large 500 square metre skating rink accommodating 150 people at once. The rink will stay open around the clock and at night will offer spectacular fire shows and other performances. The Christmas market festivities will also include music concerts, pig races, showmen festivals, and master-classes with stilt-walkers, circus actors, and clowns entertaining attendees all day. To top it off, these are the headquarters of the guy organisers have tagged as the “authentic” Santa Claus, who, along with his flying reindeer, can be found – so children are promised an unforgettable meeting with the man in the red suit.
Ukraine is readying itself for celebrating Christmas and New Year holidays in style. So eat, drink and be merry compliments of the season.

Wider Ukraine
If you are away from the capital, you needn’t fear missing your festive fix. Lviv’s Christmas Festival will open from 10 December and run to 15 January, in the central squares of the city. Traditional drinks and meals as well as New Year gifts of all kinds will be available.
On 25 December, Odesa will start its European-style Christmas market featuring 20 wooden huts erected in the very heart of the city – the legendary Deribasivska Street – selling Ukrainian souvenirs, hot spicy beer, roasted chestnuts and many other things.
Vinnitsa’s exhibition Christmas Gift 2013 will run from 11 to 14 December, offering a wide range of different products, from Christmas tree ornaments to clothes and cosmetics.
Chernivtsi will see the opening of the annual Christmas fair on Soborna Square on 15 December. The closing day is 20 January.

by Anna Azarova

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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didn’t 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 don’t 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 – children’s 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. What’s 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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