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7 (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 EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys 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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Kyiv Traditions

Just Who Was Saint Nicholas Anyway?

December 19 marks Saint Nicholas Day here in Ukraine, and the What`s On staff decided to celebrate the important occasion (to kids, anyway) by answering the question: just who was the man at the core of the Jolly Old Saint Nick legend anyway? The story begins, unsurprisingly, with a fellow named Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara, on the southern coast of whats now Turkey and back then was a Greek-speaking province of the Roman Empire.


The young lads wealthy parents, who raised him a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. That left Nicholas rich, and for a pious type in the radical early church, riches were a problem. Taking Jesus words to sell what you own and give the money to the poor quite literally, Nicholas blew his whole inheritance on helping out the needy, the sick, and the suffering. After he pulled off a couple of miracles (on account of which hes sometimes called Nicholas the Wonder Worker) while still a boy, the Christians of the town of Myra (now Demre, Turkey) chose him to be their new bishop. Ensconced in his new office, Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his especial concern for sailors, of whom he remains the patron saint. One of his most famous exploits was offering his own life in place of a man who was to be put to death, an adventure that ended happily when the authorities let them both off the hook. Russian artist Ilya Repin painted whats become a classic depiction of this incident.

 Not that that was Nicholas only impressive saintly deed. Another famous legend about the saint tells of a once-rich man who fell on hard times. He had three daughters to marry off, but in his new financial straits he couldnt come up with good dowries. It looked like the poor girls were destined to be sold into slavery, or become prostitutes. Word of the familys misfortune reached Nicholas, however, who hadnt yet managed to give away all his parents wealth. Sneaking up to the poor mans house at night, he tossed a bag of gold through an open window, then ran away. The gold landed in a stocking left before the fire to dry, where it was discovered with great delight in the morning. The sum allowed the first daughter to get married. Not long after that another bag of gold flew through the window, and the second daughter used it to get hitched. By now the father, anxious to know who his secret benefactor was, was keeping watch during the night. When a third bag of gold finally flew through the window and landed in the house, the watchful father leaped In

 his guise as a gift-giver Nicholas became associated with giving presents to people and especially kids

 up and caught the fleeing donor. Aha, Nicholas, its you! he cried out. Youve saved my daughters from certain disaster! An embarrassed Nicholas begged the man not to spill the beans about his identity, and instructed him to thank not himself, Nicholas, but rather God, who was responsible for all good things.

 After his death, the legend of Nicholas tremendous mercy and devotion to God grew and grew. He was never officially canonised, but became the venerated centre of a cult nonetheless. (His relics, by the way, have long been kept in a church in Bari, Italy.) In his guise as a gift-giver to the daughters of down-on-their-luck rich men and others Nicholas also became associated with giving presents to people and especially kids, which is how it happened that this native of sunny Asia Minor over the centuries turned into the redsuited, North Pole-dwelling Santa Claus of Northern European and North American Christmas lore. Its also how he became the saint of holiday gift-giving among Ukrainians, who have been celebrating his day since Kyiv Rus was converted to Christianity in 988. Here in Ukraine St. Nicholas isnt a fat, jolly chap in a red suit, of course: that would be Ded Moroz, the Soviet version of Santa Claus. But hes still every little kids favourite saint. On the eve of his day, parents put candies or small gifts under their kids pillows or in their slippers while they sleep, generating howls of delight in the morning when the gullible little ones find the precious goods.

Yulia Samus


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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnt 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 dont 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 childrens 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. Whats 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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