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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

I am an Anarchist!

Thats what Nestor Makhno would be singing, preceded by the words I am an antichrist if he was around in the late 1970s. He is a man whose role in the history of Ukraine, and Russia for that matter, has been disputed since he first came to prominence during the last years of Tsarist rule. In fact, its easier to say for what he was against than to try and work out who he stood for, and thats what makes him one of the most interesting characters in this countrys long and difficult past.

An anarchist of a different breed, is how Nester Makno has oft been described, and it is fitting. He considered himself a nationalist, but paradoxically took up arms against the Ukrainian National Army. This, however, is not as contradictory as it appears for he believed in a world without central government where every city governed itself, and he supported those he felt most likely to deliver his dream.
As the various forces were tearing the region apart in the flames of revolution, Nestor Makhno was the one man who united the simple folk promising them freedom from all political influence.

The Making of the Man
Nestor Makhno (real name Nestor Mikhnenko) was born on 26 October, 1888 in the village of Gulyaipole in Zaporizhya. One of five children in a simple peasant family, he started working in the fields when only seven years old. He only ever had a primary school education, but he was to learn all he needed to know while in prison in Moscow many years later.
Nestor was first introduced to the anarchist movement after working for three years in a factory, and in 1906 he joined the Peasant Communist Anarchist Group. And it didnt take him long to get into trouble: shortly after joining he was imprisoned for carrying a weapon, and not long after he was in jail again, this time for attempt on the life of two policemen.
By all accounts they should have kept him there, for in 1910 he was sentenced to the death penalty after having been convicted of numerous robberies and attacks on yet more police. His death penalty was commuted to life with hard labour, and he was shipped off to the notorious Butyrka prison in Moscow.
It was in Butyrka that he met Petro Arshynov, the man who would become his mentor and educator. As well as receiving an ideological education in prison, he also studied mathematics, literature and history.
He was still in prison during the February Revolution, but was released shortly after as part of an amnesty for many political prisoners. Upon release he returned to the place of his birth where he started his political career as an assistant on the regional council.

Success and Betrayal
It turned out that Nestor Makhno was a great organiser and even better orator, and slowly more and more people amassed under his flag, all supporting the desire for an independent region. Over the next couple of years, as the civil war between Ukrainian National forces, a young but furious Soviet UNI0N, and remnants of the Russian Empire became more and more bloody, his archenemy, Symon Petlyura who would soon become the the head of the Ukrainian National Republic, tried many times to silence him, but all attempts on his life failed.
In 1918, to many peoples surprise and indignation, Makho offered his support to the Bolsheviks. Makhnos anarchists united with the Red Army to fight against the German invasion of the First World War, and the support offered to it by the Ukrainian Nationalists.
His victorious advance across the country is legendary, but his glory was somewhat ambiguous. Makhno was using the Soviets and their war against capitalism as a means towards his own ends. He rejected the idea of a single God-like leader of a nation (which, sadly, was exactly what would come out of all this), and instead encouraged cities to be independent and autonomous.
In 1919, he withdrew his support from the Soviets and formed his own Separate Rebellious Army. Immediately the Soviets stopped supplying him with weapons, and on 6 June Lev Trotskiy signed a decree declaring Makhno outlaw.
However, when the White Army attacked Moscow a month later, the Bolsheviks asked for his help, and he agreed. His victories at Moscow were glorious, and his raids on White Army forces in Ukraine a huge success, and he was instrumental in the final defeat of the White Army forces. But at the very end the Red Army, no longer in need of his services, turned on Makhno and his troops, surrounding them and attempting a slaughter. However, Makhno managed to escape along with a small number of troops.
In 1921 Nestor Makhno fled to Romania, and after four years wandering in Europe he finally settled in France where he died in poverty in 1934 aged 46. His legacy remains to this day, and what that legacy is depends on who you ask, and thats a fitting epitaph for one of the worlds great anarchists. 

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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