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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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Ukraine Today

Whom to Vote For? A What’s On Guide

The elections are upon us and for the main political parties it’s a final sprint for the finish. The conventional wisdom is that four forces – Party of Regions (PRU), the Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defense (OU–PSD) bloc, the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (BYUT) and the Communist Party (CPU) are strong enough to pass the 3 percent vote threshold and enter the Rada.According to the results of the last Monitoring Centre poll, some 27.2% of voters are ready to pull the lever for the PRU, 26.8% for BYUT, and 10.9% for OU-PSD. The CPU is expected to barely squeak over the vote threshold. The Volodymyr Lytvyn bloc, with its centrist strategy and its debatable ‘Ukraine needs Lytvyn’ slogan, is a long shot for inclusion in the next legislative session. Worryingly for many, late runner the Kuchma party is gaining momentum at a frightening rate, and some recent polls already have them out front. Here’s What’s On’s breakdown of the four main forces’ platforms.


Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc
‘Ukrainian Breakthrough’, is the main slogan of the campaign which the Party of Regions is claiming she stole from the title of a 2004 book by Anatoli Kinakh whose party has changed allegiance on a regular basis but is currently part of the anti-crisis coalition.
 Domestic Policy:
Ukrainians will get 10,400 hrv on the birth of their first child, 15,000 on the birth of their second and 25,000 on the birth of their third. Free health insurance. The state will cover health care for those who don’t have access to it and employers will ensure their workers. Give long-term low-interest credit to young families for 25-30 years.
 Economic Policy:
Build oil and gas pipelines: the Odessa-Brody-Plotsk pipeline and a pipeline connecting the Caspian basin and Ukraine. Also, make Ukraine self-sufficient in terms of its nuclear energy cycle.
Stimulate small- and medium-sized businesses. Lower tax pressure. Eliminate the VAT and pass a tax code.
Make Ukraine popular with investors by making apportioning land for long-term use easier and starting a transparent privatisation program. Create a network of regional ombudsmen. Pass laws to standardise Ukrainian practises with WTO practises.
A “building breakthrough”: Lower credit costs, use tax-based stimuli and build living space.
An “agrarian breakthrough”: Stimulate placement of agrarian products on the market, establish a land market, create new jobs by creating an agrarian fund, an exchange, an insurance fund and a land bank. Specific programs of state help should be aimed at producers. Provide credit at privileged rates.
Fighting Corruption:
An “Anti-Corruption Breakthrough”: Create an expert commission for analysing the normative acts governing corruption. Toughen penalties for corruption all the way to life terms in prison. Re-start the Stop Contraband! program. Create a communications centre with a direct line to citizens. Raise the salaries of legal authorities.
Free judges from corrupt influences by having judges chosen by popular vote and raising their salaries.

 Communist Party
‘Socialism is our aim’
Foreign Policy:
Actively work toward deepening ties between CIS countries, with the goal of reconstituting the Soviet UNI0N.
Domestic Policy:
Reassert citizens’ constitutional rights as they existed in the Soviet UNI0N. Eliminate joblessness. Salaries, pensions and stipends should be permanently indexed to inflation. Eliminate non-work-related profit. Initiate mass building of living space and give working people free housing. Foster state support for single mothers and families with many children. Free living space for all officers and young commanders.
Economic Policy:
Bring back social production to the levels at which it was before the “anti-socialist turn.” Recognise land as a common resource, end privatisation, and renationalise privatised enterprises. Change tax policy and reinstitute planned price controls. To achieve these goals, organise strikes, meetings and boycotts and demand referenda for legislation.

Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defense
Started on the platform of cancelling MPs’ priviledges and immunity until the rug was pulled out from under them by the PoR.
Domestic Policy:

Ukrainians will get 12,000 hrv on the birth of their first child, 15,000 on the birth of their second and 25,000 on the birth of their third. Raise pensions by 35%. Abolish pensions for parliament deputies and ministers. Create a single tariff network. The minimum wage will be 600 hrv. The average growth of salaries will be 58%.
Make communal payments fair.
Give graduates of higher education 20,000 hrv and living space if they work in the countryside for at least three years.
Economic Policy:
Conclude Ukraine’s entrance into the WTO. Create free trade zones and simplify Ukraine’s visa regime with the EU.
Increase Ukraine’s energy independence.
Lower VAT to 17%. Establish a single social payment that will be lowered over time to 20%. Establish a tax code in 2008 and eliminate the tax authority. Build stadiums and infrastructure for Euro-2012 and create new jobs by attracting investment.
Fighting Corruption
Establish a fair tax on wealth and luxury. Eliminate corrupt VAT-return schemes. Eliminate parliamentary immunity and privileges. Create a national anti-corruption bureau. Clean up the justice system by having judges elected and by creating an agency that will inspect all judges and see if their incomes are consistent with what they own.

New Kids on the Kuchma Bloc
Constitution, Ukraine, honour, peace and anti-fascism, is the party slogan taking the initials from Kuchma (in Ukrainian of course). The leader of KUCHMA block Olexandr Volkov is convinced they will take 25% of the vote. He claims that they don’t use former president Leonid Kuchma as a propoganda tool but they do want to restore the order he maintained. Their aim is to restore friendly relations with Russia lost during Yushchenko’s rule as they claim Russia is Ukraine’s main strategic and economic partner, and that when the relationship broke down Ukraine lost its stability and welfare.

 

Party of Regions
The Party of Regions have been trying to woo voters on the somewhat dubious platform of political and economic stability.
Foreign Policy:
Foster a foreign policy that’s ‘balanced’ between the West on the one hand and Russia and the other post-Soviet states on the other. Ukraine should be a member of the Common Economic Space, the European UNI0N, and the World Trade Organisation. Ukraine’s entering NATO should be put to nationwide referendum.
Domestic Policy:
Elderly people should get a ‘social guarantee’. Ukrainians will get 11,700 hrv. on the birth of their first child, 25,000 on the birth of their second and 50,000 on the birth of their third.
 Half of the spaces in institutions of higher learning will be paid for from the state budget. Students at institutions at the I-II levels of accreditation will get 400 hrv stipends and students at those with III-IV levels will get 530 hrv stipends.
Solve the housing crisis by selling off land at auction.
Triple soldiers’ and students’ stipends.
Economic Policy:
Foster a transparent and legal market for land by giving citizens state documents for land and supporting the market with appropriate legislation. Write a new tax code. Small family businesses will get a five-year suspension in taxes. Boost the country’s industrial and technological potential and introduce energy-saving technologies.
Fighting Corruption:
Shrink the shadow economy and overcome corruption. Foster judicial reform and independence by letting citizens vote for judges.


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Read also:
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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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