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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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Whats Up?

Man Dies in Yulias Money Give-Back

It never pays to underestimate Prime Min− ister Yulia Tymoshenkos skill in raising a ruckus. But the woman whos been called Europes best rabble−rousing politician might have achieved a new level of effec− tiveness this weekend, when a man actually dropped dead of a heart attack as the result of one of her initiatives.


Okay, that might be overstating the case, but it remains the case that some poor fellow keeled over with cardiac failure in Zapori− zhia, where he was waiting on a long queue to get money back from the state−owned Oschadbank. Elsewhere two Oschadbank employees got fairly seriously beaten when they tried to restrain the agitated crowd making a run on their branch. Oschad is the legal successor to Sberbank,

 The biggest critics of the move are likely to be in the Kremlin, which wasnt particularly happy when Lithuania and Kazakhstan did the same thing in the past

 the state−owned Soviet bank into which the USSRs citizens placed their savings back in the communist era. When the Soviet UNI0N collapsed those savings disappeared into thin air (or perhaps some well−connected pockets), exacerbating the total economic meltdown that afflicted Soviet citizens who didnt see it coming. The Sberbank disaster is one of the important reasons that its hard to find an old person in the former Soviet UNI0N who approves of the USSRs demise. What it meant in practical terms, as far as theyre concerned, is that they lost what sums theyd managed to put away. Now Tymoshenko is trying to partially rectify matters more than a decade and a half later, using the state budget to pay back some of the money to those who lost it. Ukrainians are getting up to 1000 hryvnya, or approxi− mately $200, for their lost accounts, with one Soviet ruble being equivalent to 1.05 hryvnyas. If you had the ruble equivalent of more than 1000 hryvnya in your old Sber− bank account, youre out of luck for the mo− ment, although you might get more money later, or else vouchers for utility bills and consumer goods. By Monday morning more than 150,000 people had applied for gov− ernment cash. Needless to say, while the pay−back has its supporters, who point out that the $1.2 billion being paid out really isnt that much money in the scheme of things, not every− one is happy about it. Like much of what Tymoshenko does, the initiative is at once fundamentally just and brazenly self−pro− moting (its difficult to forget that more elec− tions in Ukraine are coming up not too long from now). Supporters of the most extreme− ly liberal economic regime possible for Ukraine are already lining up to deride the move as populist, which seems to be the worst epithet that such people can think up, and we can imagine what the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and so on are going to say about this. These critics have a point, however, when they insist that the sudden cash infusion into the economy could add to this countrys already rampant inflation. The biggest critics of the move, however, are likely to be in the Kremlin, which wasnt particularly happy when Lithuania and Ka− zakhstan did the same thing in the past, paying back those financially victimised by the USSRs fall. The last thing the Rus− sian government wants is to be forced to start paying back money to all of its citizens who have it coming. Annoying the Russians, needless to say, is something that Tymosh− enko has enjoyed doing over the course of her career. Its with this move under her belt that the trouble−making Ukrainian politician will travel to Moscow, as she apparently will do in the nearest future. When she gets there shes also expected to bring up the ques− tion of Ukraines gas deal, and in particular try to see if she can get the allegedly shady companies RosUkrEnergo and UkrGazEner− go, against which shes long fulminated, out of the picture. And as if thats not enough, Kyiv has signaled that it wants to start talk− ing with the Kremlin about getting the Rus− sian naval base out of Sevastopol, Crimea. These two things should drive Vladimir Putin and his colleagues to new fits of anti−Yulia hatred. One thing that can be said is that if you voted for Yulia in the expectation that shed start shaking things up after the long slum− ber of the Yanukovych−Yushchenko era, you cant be disappointed.


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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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