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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.


On the Sofa with...

Svetlana Loboda

Its pretty much common knowledge now that Svetlana Loboda is going to carry Ukraines hopes at Eurovision this year, the finals of which will take place in Moscow in May. The Ukrainian selection process was a hard fought contest, but svelte-like Svetlana came out on top in the end. Because of that shes a very busy women right now, but Whats On managed to track her down and ask her some pertinent questions.
Svetlana looks cool as usual: a pair of skin-tight jeans, tiny T-shirt and neutral tones on her face. But the lady is in a rush.  Not surprisingly. She is known as a workaholic, and preparation for Eurovision requires even more effort. Her schedule is very tough and she is working with performers from Cirque du Soleil for 3 or 4 hours a day to get ready for Eurovision 2009. And shes learning to play the drums and taking vocal lessons too.

Regarding the competition that brought her to this point, Loboda says, I knew that I would turn out a winner; I had a dream about it the day before the final show. In my dream I was digging potatoes in the garden and at one point I came across a tomato instead. In the morning, I just knew that I would be going to Eurovision. Svetlana wasnt really interested in the rumours and backstage gossip that surrounded the selection process, but she found herself very annoyed by what she calls the tardiness and completely unprofessional nature of the directors at UT (the Ukrainian national TV channel). The way the final was directed was terrible, and the screening itself really got to me, she says, wearing an expression that clearly shows the memory is an unpleasant one for her.
Positive as always, Svetlana doesnt foresee any serious competition in Moscow: she thinks the main challenge will be combating the pressure, because she sees the mission of representing her country at Eurovision as a great responsibility. Its also very important for the international community because in other countries, the authorities often support their representatives; here thats not the case. The authorities in Ukraine have always been preoccupied with themselves and how to maintain their power. We are supported only by our fans, friends and people who are supportive of Ukraine and its stance in the international arena, she says.
Of course, these days the competition is very much about political machinations, but Svetlana thinks that the only way Ukrainian politicians would take an interest would be if Chernovetsky decided to enter himself! And that might not be too much of a stretch of the imagination if you take a look at some of his recent antics.
Loboda is not so quietly confident in her efforts, as well as in her team: We have such a strong and positive crew, that I have no doubts about my success. We are going to present Europe with such a stunning show, the likes of which no one has seen before. Everyone should be ready for the anti-crisis girl, she says, the lack of any irony in her comment making it all the more interesting.
Its no surprise that Alan Badoyev offered his services as the director of her show; they are good friends and really enjoy working together. We have put together some unique scenery that is now being made in Hong Kong. Loboda has also sought advice from previous Ukrainian entries including Andriy Danylko and Ani Lorak. These people have been there and done it. They can help me prepare for the unpredictable, she says. Loboda also, apparently keeps in touch with Ruslana, the only Ukrainian winner of Eurovision. She denies however that she speaks with Ruslana for anything other than counsel on cosmetics: I consult with Ruslana only for her hair-dye!

Running up to the show, its usual that Eurovision contestants go on tour before the final to try and promote their entry, but these days, given the tough economic times, many of the artists prefer to do so on radio or TV. Ive been invited to many countries, but I dont feel like doing a big tour right now. But I may go to London, Paris, Amsterdam or Greece at some point, says Loboda.
The star, however, has other means of income as she is known here in Ukraine not only as a singer but also as a fashion designer and a photographer. Because of this, she knows that what she wears is very important. There is always a lot of gossip around the stars outfits, which are always kept a secret until the last moment. But Svetlana, a big Whats On fan, revealed the secret to us! Im going to wear a Luvi dress. Ive been working with the brand for a year and I adore it. Luvi designers are currently busy developing my outfit for Eurovision and its going to be a combination of leather, ropes, metal and horsehair.
She has also recently released her own collection of T-shirts entitled No Silicon which has turned out to be a real hit. As for her photography, she is taking a bit of a break. However, the thought did enter my mind as to whether she would come up with a collection of photos from Eurovision. I hope to make a new collection, and I hope to begin with my victory at Eurovision, she says.
Whats On hopes Svitlana Loboda will represent Ukraine with a bang, and were sure she will!

Ksenia Karpenko

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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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