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On the cover
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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Ukraine History

The Thrill of the Chase

Hryhoriy Skovoroda was a wise man and an outcast. His thoughts were considered insane and inappropriate and his writings were published only after his death.
Perhaps Hryhoriy was too clever for his time as most people didnt understand or support his views on life; which also suggests why the philosopher was frequently let go from the Universities and schools that employed him. And yet, the thing that mattered most to him was knowledge: its acquisition and its sharing of it. And despite being an outcast, Skovoroda yet remains today, the first philosopher of the Russian Empire for all times and for all nations.

Mindful Walking
Hryhoriy Skovoroda was born in a village nearby Poltava, called Chernukhy, on 22 November 1722 into a wealthy Cossack family with a father possessing high moral values. When he got old enough, he was sent to Kyiv Seminary School and then onto Courtier Chapel in St. Petersburg, where in 1744, he left this last posting with a ranking of senior choir singer. Skovoroda moved back to Kyiv and continuing his education in seminary school, he also realised that he had desires to travel and so feigning insanity, he was released. Skovoroda joined General Vyshnevskiy of the Russian Empire in Ukraine, as a priest, and together with the generals delegation, Hryhoriy was able to see the world, visiting Poland, Hungary, Austria, Italy and Germany. Over the course of those three years abroad, the philosopher learned several languages, including Latin, Greek, Jewish and German and picked up much about modern as well as ancient European philosophy. Returning from his wanderings, Skovoroda started lecturing at the Pereyaslav Academy. But left soon after as the head of the academy wanted him teaching that same history the church was proposing at the time; something Skovoroda did not support. In response, Hryhoriy moved to Kharkiv but in trying to settle there, this situation simply repeated itself again. Having been fired three times from three different Kharkiv Collegiums for his views on life and non-canonical ideas, this would bring an end to his career as a teacher. But it would also bring an understanding, that teaching, at least traditional teaching, was not Hryhoriys calling.
In 1769, Skovoroda left Kharkiv to start a new life as a travelling philosopher which he truly considered the life. As he walked from city to city, he offered his experiences and ideas to the many people of different social classes he met, rejecting all offers of work, which came with the possibility of a decent, righteous life. And whether because of this or in spite of it, none of his works were printed during his lifetime; he died alone 29 October (9 November according to the old calendar) 1794, in the village of Pan-Ivanovka.

Mindful Musings
As far as official historical reference goes, this is all we have on Hryhoriy Skovoroda. But there is more information about who he was from his books. This philosopher in his own right, considered the ancient Roman philosophers Seneca and Marcus Aurelius his teachers and using much of what he learnt from them, he used three building blocks as the basis for his philosophical theory: the universe, human beings and the symbolic reality that continually unites the two. Without having actually quoted anyone or anything, there are threads of influence that frequently show up in his ideas: Christianity is one, as is Platonism and Stoicism. Interestingly, his writings are also full of mysticism and rationalism where everything hes ever written is done so in a dialogue-like format, very similar in scope to that of Socrates. The result of which is more then 15 philosophic tractates, published long after his death and translated into several different languages.
Something rather unique regarding the musings of this man is that he was given different titles depending on who was talking. Soviet scientists for example named him a democrat and an enlightener; while those involved in Russian religious philosophy of XX century, proclaimed him as their founder; and even perhaps more obscure, modern researcher Malinov states that Hryhoriy Skovoroda didnt have a philosophic theory at all, but was simply a wise man who enjoyed offering life-lessons. Many men, many minds, as they say.
Nevertheless, for the Ukrainian nation, Skovoroda remains one of the most intelligent personalities, symbolising culture and our thirst for knowledge. In recognition of this, a monument has been built in his name in front of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy on Kontraktova Ploshcha which is also thought to be the cradle of knowledge and culture for Ukraine. You can also see Hryhoriys portrait in Ukrainian currency this perhaps less often, as it is pictured on our 500 hryvna banknote. And one of the oldest streets in Kyiv is also named after him. So no matter what scientists or anyone else thinks, there remains one important thing establishing Hryhoriy Skovoroda as an important personality for the Ukrainian nation and that is his heritage of literature, which is worth reading at least once.

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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