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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.


Ukraine History

Mykhailo Kotsyubynskiy Shadow of Ukrainian History

During an epoch where revolutions were tearing this country apart, it was an unfortunate circumstance that Mykhailo Kotsyubynskiy, defender of the Ukrainian language and all of its culture, had to be witness to it all. In many ways he is a success and so 145 years later, with the anniversary of his passing upon us, we take a look at this man and his work.

Plans Change
Born on 17 September, 1864, Mykhailo Kotsyubynskiy spent much of his childhood in Vinnytsya, a small town not far from Kyiv. He was one of eight children with good parents who did their best by their kids, but the situation in those days was not an easy one and with Mykhailos father frequently changing jobs, the family ended up going into bankruptcy, forced to move to a nearby village by the name of Bar.
In Bar, Kotsyubynskiy finished primary school and continued on to a religious school in Shargorod. He had always been an earnest student but there was a different kind of lesson awaiting him in Shargorod: Mykhailo met a girl. At the time, he was only 12 and the young lady for whom his affections were aimed was four years his senior. He did not want to seem stupid or childish so Kotsyubynkiy started reading works of Taras Shevchenko and Marko Vovchok to conquer the heart of this young coquette. Unfortunately, he was unable to play the successful role of cupid with the girl and instead found his true love in literature.
After Shargorod, Kotsyubynskiy moved to Kamyanets-Podilskiy to enter University. The desire to continue his education was short-lived however because of the sudden death of his parents and as the oldest son in the family, it was his responsibility to support his younger brothers and sisters. He moved back to Vinnytsya in 1886 at the tender age of 22 and started working as a private tutor, later starting to teach at the Vinnytska High School.

Talent and Turmoil
In 1892, Mykhailo went to Moldova, where he spent four years writing books For Good, Pe-Koptyur and For the High Price. He continued travelling, at one point spending a good deal of time in Crimea, as every trip inspired something new and interesting in his writing, .
In 1911, he made a trip to Chernihiv where Mykhailo met his faithful friend and future wife Vera Deisha. She would bear four children bringing much happiness to Kotsyubynskiy home.
While in Chernihiv, Mykhailo continued in his talent for prose attracting many young writers into a literature circle. Once a week, talented young minds like Pavlo Tychyna, Mykola Voroniy and Vasyl Blakytniy would gather in Mykhailos home to spend time in the company of like-minded fellows.
But life for Kotsyubynskiy would not always be so easy or so innocent. Mykhailo had a weak heart and weak lungs, the political manhunt for his friends and relatives from the side of the USSR authorities drove him ever deeper into illness and the secret relationship he had with Oleksandra Aplaksina was disrupting his family life. Entrapped in the middle of all of this, Kotsyubynskiy made the decision to remain faithful to his wife and children and continued his efforts with his writing.
It was about this time when the idea to write a novel about the fruitful nature and vivid culture of the West of Ukraine came about. The book was called Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (Tini Zabutykh Predkiv). It remained a huge success even fifty years after his death when genius film-director Serhiy Paradzhanov took it to the screen receiving world-wide acclaim, praise from the British Academy in 1966 and later that year, winning gold at film festivals in Rome and Thessaloniki.
In 1911 the Community of Ukrainian Science awarded Mykhailo with a monthly scholarship to resign from his job and concentrate on writing solely. But there were everyday stresses that worsened his health and two years later, in 1913, Mykhailo Kotsyubynskiy died. He was buried on Boldins Hill in Chernihiv; one of his favorite places for taking daily walks.

Proof of his Aptitude
Even in his younger years, Mykhailo Kotsyubynskiy was attentive to literature and his own writing. His first poems and translations of popular writers of the time led him to narrative literature, where his talent fully unfolded. His first poem Our House was published in a Lviv magazine for children in 1890 and while travelling, he was always writing; some pieces turning into novels being published and read all over Ukraine. In 1901, Mykhailo wrote and published a psychological novel called Doll (Lyalechka) which, from then on, would change the way Mykhailo continued to write, concentrating more on the inner world of his characters.
Another vital novel was written in the period from 1905 to 1907 called Fata Morgana. Here, the writer was trying to reveal the changes in the perception of the world from the point of view of simpler, village folk. It was published just before the revolution and the book was a bit of a foreboding for anyone paying attention.
Among some of his last psychological novels was Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors written in 1911 as well as a handful of books focusing mainly on the conquest of life, his life which even to the end, he continued to fight the tuberculosis that threatened it.
Mykhailo Kotsyubynskiy: romantic writer, psychologist and enthusiastic traveller. His name has been cast in the history books for all time and should you wish to pay tribute to this talented Ukrainian, just take a trip out to Vinnytsya where the house in which the first Kotsyubynskiys lived has now been turned into a museum in their honour.

Vadym Mishkoriz

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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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