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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.


Kyiv Cars

From Mitsubishi A Good, Standard Ride

Times have changed a little bit in the world of automobiles here in the Mother City of the Slavs. For a long time, easy credit and cheap petrol conspired to create a local situation in which the bigger, the better was the operative logic, which means that you couldnt walk 10 metres in the city without bumping into a massive brand-new night-coloured SUV. (Or it bumping into you.) But with Ukraine feeling the squeeze of the financial crisis, thats all over for the moment, and it might be time for Ukrainians to start taking to smaller cars. The new Mitsubishi Lancer X Sportback is precisely one of those cars. We took it out for a test spin.

It was a rather dry day when the two us squeezed into the Lancer X for a drive, which was good: we wanted to head out of the city and open the thing up a little, without worrying about wiping out on the snow and ice that tend to characterise driving out here in Eastern Europe (or used to, until the last several sub-par winters). Squeeze into? Actually, though were both rather tall, thats somewhat of an exaggeration, because the Lancer X actually accommodated our longer-than-usual frames rather nicely. Thank you, Mitsubishi. On the other hand, there were only two of us, and had we had people riding in back, they would have suffered, as this car is not especially made for four people, unless two of them are exceedingly small. But no matter. We inched into the Podil traffic, playing music on the solid, if not brilliant, MP3 sound system, and headed for the bridge.
Between us, we already had a good amount of Mitsubishi experience. We knew that the company created good, solid cars for everyday driving, and this model was no exception. Like the Mitsubishis weve known in the past, this car had a tight, nervous suspension, which we like. Some people might say that they feel the road too much, especially those who are used to floating through Kyiv in flabby sport-utility vehicles, but we rather liked the Mitsubishis effect. It lends a feeling of control thats only intensified by the fact that the steering on the Lancer X is satisfyingly tight and efficient. No, youre not in a Porsche, but you are in a very responsive smaller car that fits around your body and imparts a significant amount of driving pleasure. Meanwhile, the 1.8 litre engine got us going far faster than we should have been going out on the Boryspil highway. Faster than that cavalcade of Mercedes taking some politician out to the airport? Yes, even if not with the same effortlessness. But make no mistake this is a sports car, or what you might call a semi-sports car. Its quite capable of giving you what you need, unless youre one of those maniacal street-racer types that we hear are haunting the local highways late at night.

Squeaky Wheels
Heres a funny thing about this car, if not a negative thing, and its something that characterized the last Mitsubishi of this size that we were familiar with: it sort of squeaks and creaks. That is, the plastic makes a sort of creaking noise as you zip around the city, as if the Japanese makers are using a particularly hard type of plastic in their construction. Is that a problem? Not really, but you might notice it. If youre the sort of person who lies sleepless all night going crazy because the floor of the apartment above you is creaking, this might not be the car for you. Inside, the car is characterized by that stripped-down, no-frills comfort typical of Mitsubishis. You wont think youre in a Bentley, but thats not the point. Technically, youll get from zero to 100 kilometres in 10 or 11 seconds, and you can push close to 200 kilometres per hour in this thing.
One complaint that we had is that the rear spoiler interfered with the mechanism that sprays cleanser on the rear window, which might be annoying if youre out driving in muddy conditions. Also, the rear space for baggage here is very big. Nice, yes. But its also as if this car cant figure out whether its supposed to be a sports car or whether its supposed to be a family truckster, with which to load up on huge jugs of bottled water at the Furshet. Which is it? We cant really tell. But thats a quibble.
In this era of tight budgets, its worth mentioning that the mileage for this car is not great. Youll be getting around 10 or 11 kilometres per litre, if youre lucky. Someone buying such a car might want more. But again, it goes back to this cars identity issues: is this a nice little city car, or a sports car to light up outside the city?
Either way, its an estimable machine. As belts tighten and the behemoth SUVs come off the Kyiv roads through the process of attrition (or because they get repossessed), well be seeing a lot more automobiles of this category around.

Alexey Karas and Mark Sabchuk

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Comments (3)
You are not authorized! Only registered and authorized users can add their comments!
dauliuk | 11.09.2012 17:48

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Easter | 09.09.2012 06:33

Yours is a cevler way of thinking about it.

Francesco | 18.03.2012 12:49

Apologies! this is completely ireelrvant to your post, but neither BBC Sport nor the English FA seem to be open for this topic at present. Namely, the unwise decisions by the FA and Mr.Capello to choose the England team Euro 2012 base before the draw was made; and secondly to make knee-jerk comments sticking to the decision once the draw was made. Local knowledge shudders at the prospect of 950-mile each way Krakow-Donetsk trips, even by air, and Krakow-Kiev not much better also with the Schengen border to cross each time. lease could we have a blog on this topic, with views passed on to the FA and the UK media.

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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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