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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 Cars

Take a Ride In The Mini Cooper Clubman

Kyivs a city where people love their SUVs. But if youre in the mood for a more elegant and supple little car, which also has the virtue of being able to zip in and out between all the houseboat-sized off-road vehicles on the local streets, then maybe a Mini Cooper Clubman is for you.
The first thing we thought about this car when we saw it waiting for us was that it was even more cool-looking than we had expected. Mini Coopers are some of the hippest cars around extremely well-designed and colourful little nuggets of style but the Clubman model takes the cake.

Its simply a slightly different car than the Mini Cooper hatchback youre used to seeing, with a longer wheelbase (25.4 centimetres longer) that gives you more room on the inside. This gives the car a slightly elongated profile its a little as if the original Cooper got married to one of those old Woody wagons, and this was their child. In addition, there are rear access doors so that you can slip into the back seats more easily and a rear cargo door that get this is vertically split. It opens like the doors of an old-fashioned milk wagon. (There are also twin wipers on the back doors.) Now, this car isnt radically bigger than a regular Mini. You get an extra 6.3 centimetres in rear legroom, plus a little more than an extra cubic metre of cargo space. The back seats fold down for ease of cargo access, and thats really nice: you might not be able to fit, say, a surfboard in here, but then, you didnt expect to. Sub-floor storage space accommodates the little stuff. Plus theres a bit more room for your head. Were both tall, so every bit counts.
Needless to say, this car gives you that classic Cooper style in terms of design, both on the outside and the inside. Our hot chocolate model was an elegant brown on the outside, with two nifty white stripes down the bonnet and a white roof, plus white trim in other places. Inside, the retro-styling knocked us out. With its chrome-trimmed, circular dials and lots of dark-brown artificial wood, the interior of this vehicle reminded us of a restored classic vintage airplane. As much as we hate to admit it, however, its possible that this gorgeous dashboard and control panel looks better than it performs. For example, the round, oversized speedometer is mounted in the centre of the console, above the gear shift. Interesting, right? It is indeed, until you learn that its a big unnatural to have to glance to your right to see how fast youre going. Presumably you get used to it after a while, but still. The RPM gauge, on the other hand, is above the steering wheel.
Anyway, we settled into our Clubman, pleasantly surprised by how well the two front seats accommodated our tallness and luxuriating in the brown leather upholstery, and headed for outside the city. It was time to see how the creature handled itself on the road.

A Tiny Titan
It handles itself well. Its like youre driving a go-kart. Yes, thats a compliment. You feel the road in this thing; youre in tune with the driving experience. The car feels like an extension of your body, and the power-steering makes turning the wee car with the extra-thick wheel even easier than it would be, although one of us, whod driven the conventional hatchback Mini, said that the conventional one turned more handily. But then the Clubman is bigger, and therefore more stable. The spring-strut front suspension and the multi-control-arm rear suspension perform their tasks admirably. The suspension is tight, which might be less than ideal on Kyivs often crumbling streets.
Out on the Left Bank, we opened the Clubman up (well within the bounds of the framework of the law, of course) and were as impressed as we expected to be. In addition to the classic British heritage behind the thing, youve got the German engineering, courtesy of BMW. The 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine makes this a wonderfully powerful little midget, and we loved the way that it took the turns on its slightly oversized tyres. (Which might give you little bit of drift on rough surfaces.) And while we would have preferred a manual transmission, rather than the six-speed automatic that we had, we could tell that this is a car that will satisfy people who love cars and love driving. Hit the gas, and the Clubman simply jets right forward. (It goes from zero to 100 kilometres per hour in 9.8 seconds, to be exact.)
In sum, this is a great car. In some ways, its the ultimate car for Kyiv. The chicks will dig it, for one thing, and its fast-accelerating zippiness will make it useful for navigating through the momentary spaces that form in this citys traffic jams. Heck, not only that its so small that you can probably drive down the sidewalk without anybody noticing. In addition, its got great mileage (5.5 litres will move you 100 kilometres), so you wont have to be as personally reliant on Russian energy supplies, which is a good thing.
On the other hand, and even though we know that small, maneuverable cars like the Mini are statistically safer than the whale-like SUVs, it might be intimidating driving a Mini around a city where almost everybody seems to be in the biggest SUV or Hummer they can find. What if they run into you? And what do you do about the heaps of snow that Kyiv gets? Mini Coopers are originally products of England, where snows not much of a problem. This is a wonderful vehicle, but it might be better to keep it at your dacha down in Crimea, if you have one. If you dont, get one!

Alexey Karas and Mark Sabchuk

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Comments (1)
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Chika | 16.02.2013 10:57

I used a 24 volt Kilovac coil from?? HPEVS for about $110. The first one buzzed from the PWMing of the pack votagle down to 24 volts but HPEVS sent me a replacement free of charge which is quiet and working fine.


 
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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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