|On the cover|
Tunnelling Towards Hope
|28 February - 6 March 2014|
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 EuroMaidan’s three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the country’s 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.
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.
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.
Putin and Tymoshenko Strike a Deal
Last Friday in Yalta, the prime ministers of Ukraine and Russia got together to see if they could strike a deal on gas, and it seems they managed to do so, but the question is: What was the real deal done here?
It was a little surreal to see Tymoshenko and Putin being so jovial at the press conference that followed the meeting when only a couple of weeks ago Putin went public with his doubts that Ukraine would be able to pay its outstanding bill and threatening that supplies could once more be cut off.
On that occasion Ukraine managed to stump up the cash to pay the bill,
but only by converting its special drawing rights into dollars. But on
Friday the two of them stood shoulder to shoulder and presented a
The deal was struck by the two nations by removing the main stumbling
blocks that have previously got in the way of an agreement – firstly,
from now on Ukraine will pay market prices for the gas supplied by
Russia and Russia will pay market prices for the gas transiting
Ukraine, and secondly, Russia will not fine Ukraine if it uses less gas
Yulia Tymoshenko was even allowed to grandstand a little, as Putin
looked on smiling. “Ukraine is an independent country,” she was allowed
to say. “Real sovereignty can only be based on market relations with
other countries, including our neighbours. Now, for the first time in
18 years, Ukraine will receive a market price for the tranist of
Russian gas through Ukraine to Europe and, accordingly, Naftogaz will
receive billions of dollars in revenue.” Well, at least for a short
while until the South Stream and Nord Stream pipelines, both of which
bypass Ukraine completely, come on line, eh Yulia?
Putin was jocular and light-hearted in his address to the press,
finishing by saying: “It will be good to meet the New Year without any
Well, we’re sure the EU will be very glad to hear that, with more than
20% of its gas coming through Ukraine, but yet again, the question has
to be asked: What was the real deal done here?
And further questions arise from this one: Has Tymoshenko renounced her
pro-European stance in order to garner support from Moscow? Has she
sold her soul to the devil (if she hasn’t already done so a million
times before) in the hope of winning the upcoming presidential
elections? How low can she go? Is there any lower than bottom? The
ninth level of hell, perhaps?
Meanwhile, good old Yushchenko was meeting with the leader of that
other superpower, Georgia, in what may have been an attempt to rile
Putin. If this was Yushchenko’s intention then he got it badly wrong
(what a surprise) because it only served to make him look more
marginalised on the global political scene while at the same time
serving to present his adversary as the true ruler of Ukraine.
Back in Yalta, Putin added coal to the fire by making light of the
meeting between Yushchenko and Saakashvili. “What recommendations can I
give to the two presidents? If they decide to have dinner together I’d
advise them not to wear ties. Ties are quite expensive these days; we
don’t want them to have them…” Here he paused for a long time as he
thought hard on how to finish his little metaphoric witticism, but in
the end all he could end with was: “Well, you know what I mean…”
Actually, Vlad, we’re not too sure. Is this a reference to the fact
that Saakashvili was seen chewing his tie when you invaded Georgia? Are
you now going to invade Ukraine too?
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50 Charged, More to Come
Hard at Work in Parliament
Elections and Ship Jumpers
Attention Turns to Crimea
Honouring the Dead
|Rights We Didn’t 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 don’t understand the meaning of these words.
| Kyiv Culture|
Located on Hrushevskoho Street – the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades – children’s 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. What’s On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.