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On the cover
7 (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 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.


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.


Ukraine Today

Young Ladies Learn How to Get Hitched

As the old song puts it, For every 10 girls there are always nine boys. The competition to find a husband is intense in Ukraine, giving Svetlana Mitrofanova, head of the Kyiv Brides School, a market opening. Whats On looked into the Schools how-to-get-yourself-hitched programme.

Ill teach you how to successfully marry a man, read the brochure from an outfit calling itself the Kyiv Brides School that arrived at Whats Ons offices not long ago. Curious as to what the school had to reach, I decided to take its three-day training course, at a cost of 350 euros, and learn what I needed so that I could land my Prince Charming. Svetlana met me in her office in Bessarabka Ploscha two days before the programme began. She, by the way, is not only gorgeous, but has been married for 13 years and has a son, which suggests she knows what shes talking about. She asked me point blank whether I was involved in a serious affair with any guy. I said no. I mean, there are guys that I go out with, but I havent taken those relationships to heart. Good for you, you dont have a boyfriend now, Svetlana said. Usually after a woman in a relationship takes this course, the couple breaks up, because youre going to change a lot and you wont want to stay with him.

 Going Home Depressed
Besides me there were six other girls in the class. They turned out to be of all different professions and had different interests and temperaments, but one thing united them: the desire to get married.

 All told, we all walked out of the programme feeling rosy about our futures. But that was the result of hard work, which was definitely part of this class

 Most of them seemed to be approaching that mythical marriage-age deadline in Ukrainian culture: 25, give or take. After that, youre an old maid. I met the manager of a huge agricultural corporation, a PR agency director, a masseuse, and a woman who sold books. Being extremely anxious about their non-married status, all of them had paid a pretty penny to come here and hopefully get directions to the lost key that would open up the castle of happiness. Each class in the programme had its own theme. The first day was dedicated to our most recent affairs and to getting to the bottom of them. Youll never start any new relationship without finishing

 I went home pretty depressed about how much time Id spent trying to build my dream castle, and how the project had been doomed because I myself hadnt changed

 the old one, Svetlana instructed us. This was a challenge, as none of us seemed to be sure whether we wanted to be involved in more future relationships we were all a little bruised. Nonetheless, we wrote on our pieces of paper, I forgive you for and then made our own lists. Next we talked about common problematic romantic situations, and God knows there was a lot to talk about. The fact that these bad situations are so common means that we never learn our lessons. On the programmes second day we discussed our imperfections, which was sometimes very difficult to take, as we realised how many wrong steps wed all made. I went home pretty depressed about how much time Id spent trying to build my dream castle, and how the project had been doomed because I myself hadnt changed. The third day was the most fun. We got tips about how to attract positive energy and thus the lives we wanted. Theres nothing mystical about this, it was just about understanding what we wanted, and lacked, and constructing our worldviews accordingly.

 Do You Need a Crutch?
All told, we all walked out of the programme feeling rosy about our futures. But that was the result of hard work, which was definitely part of this class. For example, Svetlana had had trouble making us understand that before we started looking for a future mate, we had to change our attitudes. While filling out the hypothetical wish list Svetlana made us complete, one girl said that her number one aim was, flatly, to get married. This was no big surprise under the circumstances. But Svetlana asked her why she wanted that. I want somebody to love me, to take care of me, a man I can rely on, she answered. Hardly had she finished than Svetlana challenged her. Do you mean that you need a crutch to carry you? All of us laughed. In this needy environment, even I started thinking that I might have been doing something wrong in my relationships, given that I still dont have a potential husband around me. The reason that young women cant find somebody to tie the knot with is more obvious than ever: in the culture of choice we live in (but that our mothers and grandmothers certainly didnt) girls often just dont know what they want, except that their man should be caring, loving, attractive, and young. But all those things are superficial. Instead of dreaming of such things, it might be better to think about what combination of good and bad qualities would suit you in a future husband. That might be more realistic. Lots of interesting stories circulated during our three-day class. One girl said that she reacted negatively to all the men she met. Theyre all males and theyre all polygamous, she said, which amused her listeners. Shed been through a number of short relationships that had mostly ended in broken hearts, as each guy seemed first to confirm her theory and then dump her for someone else. During one class we discussed what Svetlana called the Pyramid of Logical Levels. The idea was that you would say who you are, what skills you had, what actions you could take to achieve your goal, and what your life would be like after youd achieved it. The last step is the most important, because thats where you learn that what youre working for might not be right for you: you might be killing yourself to get married to a man who doesnt square with your lifestyle and your values. The Bride School made a lot of interesting points, but it didnt really tell me anything I didnt already know, and at 350 euros per person it seemed more to be taking advantage of female fears than providing a concrete and worthwhile service. The reality of the situation is we all have different likes and dislikes when it comes to men, and we must understand ourselves and what we want before we are likely to make a happy marriage. The course may have focused my mind on this fact, but it was something I already knew.

 Anastasiya Skorina

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Comments (3)
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hjjbpmoxif | 29.07.2012 10:50

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Mwangi | 26.07.2012 16:52

It was nice to read an article about Olympic games in London next year.I am adore your eenmgnaegt in Ukrainian art life& Igor Haidai exibits. By the way it was fun to remember my personal expirience to pant few pictures for British Embassy include the portrait her Majesty the Qveen.Best regards. Alex Lerman.

beast360 | 30.01.2008 01:30

maybe she can also teach women how not to divoce so easily, since we have a 70% divorce rate!!!

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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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