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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.


Whats Up?

Who Will Be the Next President of Ukraine?

The first presidential elections since the Orange Revolution ousted Viktor Yanukovych and swept Viktor Yushchenko to power will take place 17 January, and it is almost certain the country will have a new president. But who?
Viktor Yanukovych is in a very strong position. As usual, he is the front-runner in the polls, but more interestingly, if the second round is a head-to-head with him against current Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko the polls indicate he will win.

His pro-Russian stance means that he is likely to rebuild all the bridges with Moscow burnt by Yushchenko over the past five years, which will probably lead to a more stable supply of gas and other fiscal benefits. But closer ties with Ukraines big neighbour to the east will certainly have a darker side and will probably result in Putin overseeing military parades once more, at which we hope big Yanu is still kind enough to hand out sweeties. All questions of NATO membership will be out the window (see across), and it is also likely that under his auspices the country will be unlikely to join the EU, which will scupper all Ukrainians hopes of visa-free travel. How the country will fair economically under his leadership is difficult to gauge, but, as with most candidates, hes likely to serve his own interests first.
Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is holding ground as second place contender for the throne, but some of her rather ludicrous populist politicking combined with her constant bickering with Yushchenko has, ironically, damaged her popularity, as did her handling of the alleged H1N1 flu outbreak. On top of all that, shes damaged her position with all western-leaning Ukrainians as shes forged closer ties with Putin. However, if she were to become president, she is likely to keep pushing for EU and NATO membership, and that cant be a bad thing. Also, with the presidency under her belt for five years, she may be in less of a panic to win votes, at least initially, and we might see some sensible moves towards a more stable financial system. Like Yanukovych, she is likely to serve her own interests before those of the country, but thats true of all of them.
Incumbent Viktor Yushchenko declares: I will never say I failed during these five years. But hes the only one. Another five years of Yushchenkos dithering and impotance will be a disaster.
Serhiy Tihipko is in fourth place, polling in the low single digits, which is a shame because this guy has a lot going for him. Hes got a very strong financial background having been an executive at Dnipro Bank and then Privat Bank before forming his own bank, TAS, which he sold to Swedbank for an alleged $735 million. He has also served as president of the NBU. He at least showed some signs of honesty when he was the only candidate to declare a sensible income. However, as Focus magazine reckoned he was worth around $900 million in 2008, and he declared an income of 20.26 million hrv in 2009, hes either not strictly honest, or not the best manager of money. During his campaign hes stayed away from the mudslinging and presented the electorate with a strong and positive message. This guy seems like he could be worth a shot.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk currently lies in fifth place, and while he was hailed as Ukraines Obama at the start of the year, he hasnt really been able to raise his head above the water. Young and positive, however, he will be one to watch in the future.
Thats the top five, and in all likelyhood the next president of Ukraine is going to be one of the first two in this list. Whoever it is, we can only hope for some political stability in this country which has done without any of that for so long now.

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Comments (7)
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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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