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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.


Kyiv Culture

Charity Group Holds politician doll auction!

On 18 September Arena Entertainment will host ‘Political Doll Parade 2007’, Ukraine’s second charity doll auction. It’s being organised by the Modus Vivendi Women’s Charity Organisation headed by Eugenia Gubskaya, known for establishing the Kyiv health club Favorit and a number of charity programmes for kids. What’s On talked to Evgenia about the idea behind the upcoming event.

This year’s parade carries on the spirit of the first one, which Modus Vivendi’s Margarita Sichkar organised in March of 2006, just before the last parliamentary elections. The event was a great success, so the charity group decided to do it again, crafting humourous doll versions of Ukrainian politicians and selling them to Kyivites of note in a festive atmosphere. Gubskaya is responsible for administering the whole event and delegating authority to Modus Vivendi’s members. “We are 24 women, and I want us all to discuss the ideas and make them come alive,” she says. “One person is in charge of finances, another of marketing, but the doll parade would be impossible without our friendship and mutual support. Besides, we have the noble goal of supporting kids in need and that makes us more kindhearted.”

Modus Vivendi has been supporting charity projects for seven years, during which time the women made a lot of friends in children’s health facilities. The kids consider the ladies to be friends and family, and that inspires the organisation to take on new projects.The doll parade seeks to raise money for the battle against juvenile leukemia. After a conversation with head Kyiv hematologist Olga Stetsyuk, Gubskaya decided to buy Kyiv’s leukemia hospital a Amikus separator that can help a number of children at the same time. The machine costs 190,000 euros, a considerable sum for the doll parade to raise. But Eugenia believes it can be done. In developed countries, 80% of leukemia cases can be treated. But in Ukraine, statistics say, only 20% of sufferers are treated. One of the main reasons is money. Most families here don’t start treatment because they can’t afford it. Modus Vivendi is dedicated to improving that situation and Ukraine’s healthcare system in general. Eugenia says that last year’s parade was surprising, gathering politicians, businessmen and celebrities in one place to have fun and help children’s facilities. She enjoyed the spirited haggling and the interest in unexpected figures. It was a lot of fun when Nestor Shufrich showed up late for the auction and couldn’t buy his own doll, as he expected to do. The man who bought it didn’t want to resell it. Nestor got his consolation prize: a figure of Viktor Yanukovich. “My favorite comment from the parade was, ‘I’m not buying politicians, I make them,’ which Mykola Katerynchuk said after he bought the Oleksandr Moroz figure,” remembers Gubskaya.

 All the 70 centimetre dolls on sale are hand-made, and each puts the politician in question in the guise of a cartoon or movie character. The ‘Comedy Club’ TV show guys will perform as hosts during the auction. The dolls’ costumes are designed by Kristina Gusina, who agreed to provide them for free. Modus Vivendi is thrilled to work with Kristina and Arena Entertainment, who donated their premises for staging the auction. “Because we’re organising a charity event, we don’t have a budget. But most of the women in the club have their own business, that’s why they give money to the organisation. In many cases it’s too hard to do something on our own, so we search for sponsors,” Gubskaya says. “Thanks to everyone who’s with us in this difficult but positive event.” On 18 September she expects to see the politicians whose dolls are for sale, their families, and lots of guests who are ready to help kids with leukemia.

 Natalia Marianchyk

Political Doll Parade, Arena Entertainment (2a Basseina), 18 September at 19.30 For more details and invitation booking call 278-3338

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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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