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¹7 (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 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.


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

A Year in Review...

January 2013
The year starts off well for Ukraine International Airlines, which takes over a number of flights after Aerosvit files for bankruptcy – because it sucks. A man opens fire on a local café in Rivne injuring eight people, and a loony in Odesa who wants to become the next Anders Breivik goes online with a picture of himself and his gun, saying he has chosen a student dormitory to start his mission. The country introduces a smoking ban in all public enclosed spaces, while Yulia Tymoshenko is named a suspect in the 1996 murder of Ukrainian businessman Yevhen Shcherban and his wife. Ukraine takes its traditional dip in the Dnipro for Khreshchenia or Epiphany and Gazprom slaps the country with a $7 billion gas bill (little do we know at this point that our financial issues only get worse). Bloomberg publishes a list of the world’s richest men, on which Rinat Ahmetov occupies 26th place, and Serduchka splashes out on a new car – Freddie Mercury’s 1974 Silver Shadow Rolls Royce, worth a whopping £74,600! Plus, the lovely Yulia Gritsenko wins the What’s On Face of Kyiv Cover Model 2012 competition!

February 2013
A Ukrainian national is apprehended and charged with human trafficking and operating a brothel in Kiryat Motzkin, Israel. The “Promotion of Homosexuality” law gets binned, three Ukrainian clowns are awarded the Golden Clown – the most coveted prize among the international circus community, and Vitaliy Klitschko is nominated as the united opposition’s single candidate in the bid for mayor later this year (which never happens). Perhaps most interestingly, Viktor Yanukovych says, “EU integration remains a priority,” however, the European UNI0N calls Yanukovych’s bluff, and gives him a deadline of May to get his act together. Clarence Jones – advisor and speechwriter for the late Martin Luther King – arrives in the capital. Magazine Focus is gagged after it releases an issue featuring an in-depth investigation into the president’s three-year tenure, his achievements as well as his massive failures, and probably the best news this month – Darth Vader and a gaggle of Storm Troopers march on the Ministry of Defence in efforts to gain recognition for the Internet Party of Ukraine.

March 2013
Nasha Ukraina, the party that gave so many people hope during the Orange Revolution, makes the decision to dissolve, the country toys with creating a professional army, and though piano voting is outlawed, it doesn’t seem to have any effect on parliamentarians whatsoever. The country attempts to make history in generating the biggest Women’s Day ever, and oligarch Vadym Rabinovich escapes an attack on his life as he leaves his office building in Klovska. Armed combat dolphins escape the Armed Forces of Ukraine Oceanairum in Crimea, editor of Tarasova Pravda – a Vinnytsia newspaper known for its controversial (and honest) reporting, is brutally attacked, and a Mystery British man is kidnapped in Dnipropetrovsk, held for ransom and then rescued by Ukrainian Armed Forces. Adam Lambert stops in for a little concert, as does Sting’s guitarist Dominic Miller. Ukrainian journalist Ankhar Kochneva escapes Syrian captors. A helicopter manned by two individuals tries to break free two inmates from the Petrovskaya Penal Colony in Kirivograd, while Oleksandr Plyshenko decides to spend a year living in his home with his lion to raise money for a rehabilitation centre. It snows, a lot, and the president declares a state of emergency. But Julio Iglesias flies in for a concert, making us forget our weather problems if only an hour or two, while Yanukovych’s closest circle gets a new nickname: “The Family”.

April 2013
The snow melts, resulting in water, a lot. Denys Matvienko is scandalously fired from the National Opera Theatre of Ukraine. Yanukovych pardons political prisoners former interior minister Yuriy Lutsenko, former environment minister Heorhiy Filipchuk, as well as a few other lower profile politicians. The united opposition organise a rally of support called Ukraino Vstavai! (Rise Ukraine), which draws something like 20,000 people to Shevchenko Park. Lord of the Dance step into Kyiv, the new What’s On Face of Kyiv 2013 competition is announced, while Russia continues the gas game, and looks at removing Ukraine from the transit equation completely. A methane explosion occurs in Chaykino mine claiming two miners, Azarov talks of resigning, and Kyiv celebrates 1,025 years since the baptism of Kyivan Rus. Research shows Kyiv has 302 millionaires. A non-confidence vote is not passed, and the Azarov government remains. A 97-year-old babushka hangs onto her a/c unit just outside her window until rescued by firemen nearly an hour later, while Russian TV host Ivan Urgant compares chopping fresh herbs to the slaughter of Ukrainian villages by the Bolsheviks – uproar ensues. Kyiv Conservatory celebrates 100 years, and the month finishes after Rutgers student Mykola Panasenko (27) is caught carrying improvised explosive devices onto a New Jersey transit train headed for New York.

May 2013
Russia threatens to close the Customs UNI0N to Ukraine forever if it so much as sneezes in the direction of the EU. Synevir – Ukraine’s first ever-3D horror flick – is released and immediately wins at the box office as well as at international competitions. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry promises Brussels it will sign the Association Agreement in November. Michael Bolton treats Kyiv to a concert, Anna Herman “believes in the president’s mercy”, and Kyiv celebrates its 1,531st birthday. The movement Ukraino Vstavai! rises again in what is supposed to be a peaceful demonstration of people walking from European Square to the Verhkovna Rada – it ends with the Adidas Squad, including Vadym Titushko, thumping a couple of journalists. Zlata Ognevych, Ukraine’s Eurovision hopeful places third. Dr Sloop, a foreign elderly man living in Kyiv goes missing without a trace. Oligarch Viktor Pinchuk takes fellow oligarchs Gennadiy Bogolyubov and Ihor Kolomoiskiy to court in London over “alleged breach of contract and trust”, The Offspring arrive, and Kyiv’s first ever LGBT Parade takes place.

June 2013
Hillary Clinton calls the Customs UNI0N “a move to re-Sovietise the region”. A ferret in Illchivsk, Odesa oblast, climbs his way up a toilet to the surprise of kids playing in the bathroom. A 20-year-old man is taken into custody after shooting three prostitutes in Podil and stealing their jewellery and approximately 2,500hrv in cash. Lana Del Rey makes an appearance, a Kharkiv court adjourns Tymoshenko’s trial for tax evasion and embezzlement for the 19th time, and Ukraine signs a decree in the bid for the 22nd Winter Olypmics. FEMEN are expelled from Tunisia. Ukraine’s Vadym Kholodenko wins the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition – “one of the most highly visible classical music contests in the world”. Cirque du Soleil rolls into town. Azarov is “convinced” the AA will be signed because of its “primarily commercial nature”, beer prices go up, and a man is found dead on the Red line of the metro at the Shulyavska station. Ukrainian Nazi Commander Michael Karkoc is found in the US, a homicide occurs in an apartment on Lyuteranska, while ancient city Tauric Chersones is awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. First Deputy Finance Minister Anatoly Myarkovskiy is found drunk on the job. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle says the Tymoshenko case is a barrier to signing the AA. Three Ukrainians are gunned down in North Pakistan, two police officers in Vradiyevka rape and severely beat a 29-year-old woman, while Ukrainian race car driver Vadym Nestarchuk dies of dehydration in the deserts of Qatar. There’s more tragic news when three Iraqi citizens drown in the Dnipro. However, Ukrainian Serhiy Stakhovskiy takes the world by surprise when he wins a game of tennis against Roger Federer at Wimbledon.

July 2013
The country incorporates electronic subpoenas. Due to a massive rise in water levels from melting snow earlier this year, there are only two beaches given the thumbs up for swimming. The Kyiv Zoo has a depressed elephant. Street vendors operating without licences are told to pack it in. Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski is egged during a memorial service in Kyiv. Ukrainian footballer Yevhen Konoplyanka is considered the “Ukrainian Messi”, Ahmetov wants to form a Ukrainian-Russian football league, and two Ukrainian referees take part in UEFA League games. Protestors appear in Kyiv after police try to cover up the rape in Vradiyevka, UN predicts a population decline for Ukraine, while a stuffed life-sized doll dressed in a police officer’s uniform is found hanging off an overpass in the direction of Povitroflotsky Bridge. Ukraine elects a new chairman of the Constitutional Court – Vyacheslav Ocharenko, a buddy of Yanukovych’s. Dorozhniy Kontrol’s Oleh Bogdanov is beaten up by two unknown assailants – the publication is known to report abuses committed by Ukrainian police officers, and Putin graces Kyiv with his presence for the 1,025th anniversary celebrations of Kyivan Rus.

August 2013
First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Igor Shuvalov tells Ukraine it must decide between the Russian-led Customs UNI0N and the EU – it cannot be a part of both. The Forum of Literary Museums held in Moscow names the Bulgakov Museum one of best in the world. The new head of the Central Election Committee is caught sporting a new $50,000 watch – coincidence? The UN World Tourism Organisation calls Ukraine a “cheap tourist destination”, 19-year-old Dmytro Chervonyuk, son of Oleh Chervonyuk – Deputy of Khmelnitskiy City Council, is responsible for a hit and run, while Kyiv begins work on Air Express – a high-speed train that will link the central train station with Boryspil International Airport. FEMEN flees Ukraine, after a hand gun and grenade were “found” in their Kyiv offices, and the rest of the country goes on holiday.

September 2013
Remember the three guys who beat up those journalists earlier this year? They, including Vadym Titushko (whose name will pop up again later this year), receive suspended prison sentences. Director and son of Hollywood actor Walter Matthau, Charles Matthau makes a stop in Kyiv. An Alchevsk (Luhansk oblast) girl is murdered by a classmate, hooded Ukrainian hoodlums attack English football supporters with a knife in the run-up to the Ukraine vs England World Cup Qualifier, and Selena Gomez cancels her show. Tatu make it though, as do Ukraine’s national basketball team to the quarterfinal round of Eurobasket. Kyiv is named “gayest city in the country” by International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine. China makes a deal to lease 3 million hectares of Ukrainian farmland. At the Yalta Summit, Russian Presidential advisor Sergey Glazyev says the benefits for Ukraine of the planned free trade deal with the EU are “mythical”. Ukraine breaks a record from 90 years ago for rainfall, a Ukraine-Canada trade agreement falters amid a number of “unreasonable” Ukrainian demands, and a woman is hit by a train and dies after she and her partner enjoy a little lovin’ on railway tracks in Zaporizhia. Optimistically, only one in five Ukrainians are ready to vote for Yanukovych in the next election.

October 2013
Kyiv discusses a tariff for driving in the centre. A courier for Eko Market with 500,000hrv on his person is the target of a premeditated attack by three men dressed in black and carrying AK-47s. Kyivtransgas cuts gas pressure in plants five and six of the capital because it doesn’t have the cash to pay their debt to Naftogaz Ukraine. Former European Parliament president Pat Cox and ex-president of Poland Alexander Kwasniewski come to Kyiv to ask Yanukovych to pardon Tymoshenko. Ukrainian Oleksiy Lisovenko stabs a Russian Vice Consul in Panama after he is denied cash, the Svoboda Party march in honour of the 71st anniversary of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, analysts at Standard Bank, including Timothy Ash, are extremely positive the AA will be signed, while European Commissioner Stefan Fule believes Ukraine’s GDP will rise an average of 6% per year once AA is signed. Fashion label Chanel signs Ukrainian model Evelina Samsonchyk. One thousand policemen are sacked for “negative reasons” this year. Pavlo Lapshyn is sentenced to a minimum of 40 years in jail after he s fond guilty of murdering Muhammed Saleem in Birmingham in a hate crime. Vitaliy Klitschko announces he will run for president in 2015. Gazprom wants Ukraine’s debts settled.

November 2013
Movember begins. The Glen Miller Orchestra touches down. Homophobes protest LGBT films at Molodist Film Festival. Ukrainian Olympic Medallist Larysa Moskalenko is arrested for kidnapping. Questions arise as to whether the AA will indeed be signed. The IMF insists Ukraine’s government raise household tariffs for gas and heating. Ukrainian singer Tina Karol is named country’s most “stylish” star. Dynamo Kyiv considers getting rid of current coach Oleh Blokhin, Ukraine jumps ahead 25 positions in the World Bank’s Doing Business2014 report for facilitating conditions for doing business, and France plays Ukraine in World Cup qualifying playoff – France wins. Spanish town Torrevieja names a street after Ukraine. The country commemorates the 80th anniversary of Holodomor. Yanukovych says Ukraine won’t be signing the AA – the country turns out to protest, and are backed by support from around the world. It is rumoured Metallica, Robbie Williams, Justin Timberlake, and Aerosmith will give concerts in Kyiv in 2014. Top Gear stars film an episode in Ukraine. The month finishes with Berkut forcefully, brutally, breaking up a rally of peaceful protestors on Maidan Nezalezhnosti.

December 2013
Kyiv’s Court of Justice bans mass protest action until 7 January. The country disregards this and bands together on 1 December in a massive protest against the current ruling regime and their barbaric tactics of 30 November. A tractor led by provocateurs on Bankova – the street of the Presidential Administration – tears down barricades, after which riot police let loose on protestors, beating numerous people, and arresting nine. Azarov’s government survives another non-confidence vote. The Adidas squad are renamed Titushky, after Vadym Titushko (see May and September). A camp is set up on Maidan dubbed EuroMaidan, and attracts thousands upon thousands of protestors. Yanukovych flies to China in search of money – but is out of luck. Afghan war vets join the protests. The Lenin statue tumbles. March of a Million brings out hordes of people against the current regime. Bratstvo party leader Dmytro Korchynsky is declared a suspect in the assault on Bankova and disappears. Berkut attempt to remove the Maidan protest camp early morning 11 December, only to have it rebuilt stronger than ever. Various international figures express their support for EuroMaidan, such as former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton, and US Senator John McCain. Yanukovych meets with the three ex-presidents of Ukraine – which is a waste of time. Russia says it is ready to negotiate with Ukraine in any format. The nine arrested on Bankova are released. The EU, the US and Canada refuse to place sanctions on Ukraine. The opposition joins a round table with the government with no agreeable outcome – big surprise. Various governmental officials are dismissed due to “involvement” in dispersal of Maidan at the end of last month. Day of Dignity – another massive protest draws hundreds of thousands onto the streets. Re-elections in five constituencies elect Yanukovych supporters, and are proved a farce. Yanukovych flies to Russia and makes an underhanded and downright dumb deal with Putin. While the country lies in wait for the president’s next move, New Year celebrations continue on Maidan and everywhere.

by Lana Nicole

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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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