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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

Relationships? In Ukraine, it’s Complicated

As the festive season retreats into the background for another year, scores of Ukrainians are still clinging to the resolution they made at New Year – to find Mr or Mrs Right in 2014. However, in Ukraine, Mr or Mrs Right often comes with the suffix “Now”. Ukraine’s divorce rate is the highest in Europe, and with studies showing Ukrainians marry young and for “emotional” rather than practical reasons, we decide to delve deeper into relationships here.

So what do Ukrainian men and women want? What makes someone a “keeper” ahead of a stop-gap measure until someone better comes along? To answer these questions we go straight to the horses’ mouths, as it were, to understand what would make for a life of domestic bliss instead of becoming another divorce statistic. Perhaps unsurprisingly the guys didn’t really want to tell us what criteria their potential mate should fulfil in terms of long-term relationships, equally unsurprising was the fact girls were more than willing to reveal their checklist. The path to true love may never be smooth and for the girls it might be rough indeed.

The Girls
Respondent 1
Our first female respondent underlined that a man’s appearance is not so important to her, as the main traits she looks for are reliability, activeness, openness, caring, and a dash of charisma. She says: “A man with these traits will easily fend off any Prince Charming.” Of course, for a lasting UNI0N she confirms his pay packet matters, due to the fact she loves her “creature comforts”. While she earns enough herself to be comfortable, to stand by her man there is no sexual equality – she is adamant he should definitely earn more and where “more” is concerned there’s no limit. In answering how to keep the fires of passion burning after rings are exchanged, she says a relationship should be dynamic as moods change day-to-day. Looking further in her future, she is confident her family life in five years will resemble a white picket-fenced American dream.

Respondent 2
Our second female respondent is very specific. She says her future husband has to be at least a couple of inches taller than her, and should be “older than me by at least 12 years”. Her list goes on. She says: “I don’t like shy boys. I don’t like moustaches and hairy armpits. It’d be nice if he let me flirt with other men from time to time, and he wasn’t too possessive.” Money matters to her, as she tells it: “He should be making enough to ensure a VERY comfortable lifestyle...for both of us.” As if her ideal mate would not be tired enough just fulfilling the previous criteria, when it comes to sex she expects him to be ready, willing, and able to answer the (ahem) call of duty. She is frank in her demands: “Constantly hard. Sex is one of the most important things in a romantic relationship. It has to be passionate and my partner should be ready 24/7.” In addition, this demanding lady says the father of her kids should be caring and wants him to not only provide for children financially, but to give them time and attention. Mr Right or Mr Multi-tasker?

Respondent 3
To our third respondent, the actor Sasha Roiz is her perfect man, however that is likely to remain a fantasy. Still, it’s a fantasy she has spent some time thinking about. She imagines the popular actor as well as any number of other suitors to be kind, emotionally strong, and someone who takes care of himself by being “well-kept but not gay!” Speaking of money she says income shows how single-minded a person is, and concurs with our other respondents in saying the money he earns should be enough “for him and me, me and once again...me”. In terms of sex, respondent 3 says her husband should be adventurous, but mainly to show that he is the man and “of course, have endurance”. In five years, she sees herself having two children – a son and daughter, parented by a happy couple.

Respondent 4
The fourth respondent appreciates care, leadership, honesty, passion, understanding and generosity, and dreams her ideal man will possess all of these qualities in abundance. His salary matters too and he should earn as much as she does or even more. All the qualities mentioned above, being a natural “family-man” will turn the perfect man into the perfect father for respondent 4’s children. “As parents (we) should be a good example to our kids and we’ll definitely have lots of fun inside the family circle,” she says. In terms of sex life she shows more restraint than previous respondents, paring her answer back to “active, leading, fun and experienced”.

Respondent 5
The fifth lady we talked to says finding common ground is important, just not too much. “Some common interests, for sure! But you CAN’T be too much the same or else you’ll go nuts...” Respondent 5 is also more reasonable in her demands. The financial question elicits the following answer: “He should be working towards a career he loves; doesn’t need to have everything but should have moved out of his parents’ basement. At the very least he should not be lazy and unwilling to meet career goals that would support a family,” she says. In terms of sex she is vague: “He shouldn’t be terrible at it, for sure, but it’s more the sensitivity/romantic stuff that puts a woman in the mood so he has to have that figured out...and be cuddly afterwards.”

Respondent 6
“Mr Right should look like someone who cares about himself enough to take care of himself” – our sixth respondent starts out with. She continues: “My long-term partner doesn’t have to be a millionaire, but should earn enough to take care of himself and his family. He should also support his wife’s ambitions and dreams, and still be sweet and romantic even after years of marriage.” For her sex is very important in a marriage/relationship: “Otherwise you’re just roommates!”

Respondent 7
Respondent 7’s perfect match is a kind of “every man” – the average, however she underlines two things: he must have “a men’s hands. And not fat!” His salary should be at the minimum not less than hers. In sexual life, both partners should match perfectly. She says: “It is very important to feel each other and satisfy all expectations without any compulsion.” Having tested the waters in the past, she is now on her third husband, and has been with him for six years, admitting: “I still love him, maybe even stronger than before.”

Respondent 8
Respondent 8 agrees with much of what has been said by the other girls and says her Mr Right should also care about people in general because it means he is not self-centred and egotistical.
He should earn enough to give her, himself, and eventually his family security. In terms of sex the lady says: “He needs to be available – always, and be considerate when I as his partner is unwilling. After all we are women!” After being married for many years, Respondent 8 sums up her love-life in the following way: “Although my dream man was tall and dark...I married a blond man of average height. So there is no dream man, it just happens that you find that right someone. And, to have a good marriage one must work hard.”

The Guys
Respondent 1
For a long-term relationship Respondent 1 is looking for someone caring, respectful, loving, listening and compassionate. About her income he says: “Nothing, as long she does what her heart feels is right and is a caring example for our children.” Those statements alone make him sound like the perfect man for the ladies we talked to earlier. In terms of sex, Respondent 1 says his Mrs Right should be able to create time and space for love. Sweet, isn’t it? And in five years their life will look like this: “One dog, two kids, and a house. We grow our own crops, and do many things as a family. Myself as the husband and my wife work part-time and share responsibilities at home.”

Respondent 2
Our second male respondent wasn’t very talkative, however did provided some intriguing answers. He started with his description of his Mrs Right saying: “Three foot high, no teeth, can breathe through her ears and a flat head to put your pint on.” At the same time, in bed she should: “Always take care of business.” Adding to this, a perfect mother for his kids should just be “a quiet one”. Respondent 2 earns the award of the grumpiest man in the list.

Respondent 3
“A woman who does not NEED a man to make her happy, a woman who can handle her own affairs, a woman who can love one man and will never stray, and a woman who is willing to share in life’s responsibilities through good times and bad times,” that’s what Respondent 3 is looking for. In terms of sex she should be willing to please and to be pleased. Add to this the fact that she should be: “a mother who puts her child first above all else in life, a mother who will sacrifice anything for the child and loves unconditionally,” and you get a portrait of his Mrs Right.

Respondent 4
Mrs Right for Respondent 4 has to be pleasing to his eyes, only. As he says: “Many men, many minds, so she might not be beautiful to some, but very special to me.” She should also have a good heart, be a good mother and wife. In sex he appreciates ladies who are eager, spontaneous and giving.

So what can we take from this little round-up? Well, ladies of the modern age seem to want to be taken care of as well as, ahem, fully satisfied. While men, at least those who took the initiative to answer, seem to have mixed feeling about their perfect Mrs Right. Does this mean women will be forced to look for mythical creatures, sending their male counterparts into relationship oblivion? We really hope not.

by Vadym Mishkoriz

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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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