|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.
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 Ukraine’s 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, he’s likely to serve his own
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, she’s damaged her position with
all western-leaning Ukrainians as she’s 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 can’t 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
that’s true of all of them.
Incumbent Viktor Yushchenko declares: “I will never say I failed during
these five years.” But he’s the only one. Another five years of
Yushchenko’s 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. He’s 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, he’s either not
strictly honest, or not the best manager of money. During his campaign
he’s stayed away from the mudslinging and presented the electorate with
a strong and positive message. This guy seems like he could be worth a
Arseniy Yatsenyuk currently lies in fifth place, and while he was
hailed as Ukraine’s Obama at the start of the year, he hasn’t really
been able to raise his head above the water. Young and positive,
however, he will be one to watch in the future.
That’s 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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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.