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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.


Whats Up?

Police in ‘Traditional’ Show of Strength as Political Tensions Rise

’Many media commentators linked this very public demonstration of strength to the recent comments by pro-Yanukovich MPs threatening to order Interior Ministry troops to blockade all government buildings in the event of attempts by the President to dissolve the current parliament and provoke new elections’

The police came out in force last week in the Ukrainian capital for a high visability demonstration of strength that was being viewed by commentators as a direct response to the political tensions currently threatening to divide Ukrainian society and which suggested that whatever the outcome of current political battles may be, the end result will not be disorder on the streets of Kyiv or a repeat of 2004’s people power demonstrations. The day after police had been called on to prevent bloodshed between rival nationalist and pan-Slavic supporters in Shevchenko Park at the annual Shevchenko Day memorials thousands of troops marched on Khreschatyk and Maidan Nezolezhnosti, the scene of the 2004 mass demonstrations that brought down the old regime, with special forces marching past armed with attack dogs and Kalashnikovs. Ukrainian media outlets characterised this unexpected performance as a show of strength to emphasise the readiness of the Internal Ministry’s troops to deal decisively with any mass demonstrations or popular unrest. Many media commentators linked this very public demonstration to the recent comments by pro-Yanukovich MPs threatening to order Interior Ministry troops to blockade all government buildings in the event of attempts by the President to dissolve parliament and provoke new elections, while others saw it as a response to the perceived threat posed by populist politicians Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuriy Lutsenko, who are both thought to be capable of rallying large numbers of pro-democracy demonstrators and were both leading figures during the Orange Revolution. The Deputy Interior Minister Vasyl Fathutdinov claimed that the demonstration merely signalled a return to solemn militia traditions dating back to Soviet times. “Maidan and Khreschatyk are the centre of the Ukrainian capital where we can demonstrate the power of of our glorious police,” he commented, borrowing heavily from the lexicon of the Soviet era. However former Interior Minister and current leader of the National Self Defence Movement Yuriy Lutsenko, who is organising a series of protest rallies across Ukraine this spring, has claimed that he suspects special forces agents are actively preparing to target him and his movement, which boasts of being outside the control of any of Ukraine’s politically active oligarchs. Lutsenko said during a rally in Ivano Frankivsk that he suspects political enemies from within the Interior Ministry, where he was minister until being ousted by pro-Yanukovich forces in December, will attempt to discredit him in the coming weeks. “They will call me an agent of Zionism and a fascist,” he told journalists. Lutsenko, who since being ousted has been hit by twenty six criminal cases relating to his time as Interior Minister, also claimed that his successor Minister Vasyl Tsushko is training squads of Interior Ministry special forces charged with the task of breaking up future street protests. “They are being trained for street fighting. Tsushko personally authorised the purchase of 30 million hryvnia worth of riot police gear in the past month alone.” The power struggle between President Yushchenko’s pro-European forces and the parliamentary majority has raised fears of civil unrest in Ukraine, and the renewed Orange Alliance has demanded the removal of Tsushko as part of a seventeen point ultimatum presented in Parliament on 13 March that also called on the government to maintain the pro-European foreign policy ushered in by the Orange Revolution.

Anatoli Artemenko

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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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