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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 Today

Kyivs Hopes and Expectations for 2010

After a week-long celebration of the biggest holiday there is in Ukraine, we here at Whats On got off our well-rested tooshies and got out into the city where we found a bunch of Kyivs finest residents mulling about. Even through all the snow and slush, most of our respondents were more than happy to answer a few questions about their far-reaching plans and hopes for this year. Do they coincide with what you would like to see for Kyiv in 2010? Read on to find out

Heading out from our office down one of our citys busiest streets, I happened upon a lovely romantic couple who were ready and willing to be caught on camera. Ivan, who is a 19-year old student from Russia stood in the cold with his 19-year old Kyivian sweetheart, Olha who is also a student and said, This year, we are hoping to be able to continue meeting each other on a regular basis. We would also like to find better jobs and expand on some of the truly wonderful emotions we have already experienced. As most of our 2009 dreams have already come true, we are very positive about the upcoming year. Ivan also admitted that he thinks the countrys situation will definitely be better in 2010 He says it a bit tongue and cheek, however, as he is still a citizen of Russia. Perhaps we should enlist their optimism to ensure Ukraines success as well!

The snowfall has only increased and yet we push on and in doing so, our photographer Artem and I hook up with Anna, a 26-year old Human Resources manager from Kyiv. She says, Im looking forward to lots of changes this year and Im sure that we all can make this year better if we try a little harder. Personally, Im waiting for another member of my family to come into the world so Im full of positive expectations. Apart from that, a better job and a raise would be great motivation for me to continue on the right track this 2010. So lets hope this year will be full of cheerful changes to make the years after stable and prosperous.


The next bunch I was able to stop included three young friends who were quite ecstatic to be off and enjoying their winter break. Vadym (18), Vladyslav (17) and Natalya (18) all agreed that, We want and need change and we hope that in 2010 there will be as many good transformations as can be imagined. Vladyslav added, As a young guy, I want to stay active and try out as many new things as I can independent of the situation in our country. In congruence to what numerous men here in Ukraine already think, Natalya also added jokingly, I want it all and even then just a little bit more! With exception to that last comment, unfortunately, it would seem that even the younger generation has felt the difficulties of this last year and so they too are hoping for an easier 2010.

Sophiko is the next victim ending up on the gory pages of Whats On this week and as a 24-year old decorator, shes got lots of fancy ideas which she is excited to share saying, You are the first to ask me what I expect this year! And continues: Of course I want the situation to change - I want a better state of affairs and I truly believe that it will come about. For me personally, I am positive that 2010 will be full of excellent things as my dreams of getting engaged materialised last year and we will - hopefully be getting married this year, so I believe everything will turn out fine. I would love to be able to travel and just live in the joy of my encouraging future, hoping that everyone would be so lucky in their own hopes and dreams.


After talking to a handful of Ukrainians and realising that all of them in fact are overfilling with hopes, dreams and only positive emotions, me and my picture-taking partner decided to see if the optimism also extended to those who are not permanent citizens of this great country. Thirty-five year old camera man, Sum, shared his expectations for the upcoming year: Im pretty sure that the country will come out of the crisis this year and the life of every Ukrainian citizen will be better than in the last months. And with this great opportunity to speak to the Kyiv public, I would like to wish everyone many happy returns, with much happiness, joy and because your physical wellbeing is the most important of all, health of course! This year, be healthy and wealthy!


And finally, seeing no one else who could offer a more accurate account not only of what Kyiv has been through, but what might yet happen, we caught up with the oldest of Kyivs citizens: Did Moroz. Meeting and greeting the kids on Maidan Nezalezhnosti, old Father Frost had this to say: To be honest, the whole of 2009 turned out to be quite a difficult year. I think that our society is overwhelmed with political issues at the moment and so as people find they are more than tired of all this negative energy, they have forgotten how to feel happy. I am supposed to be a symbol of joy and change, but the negative affairs of state, the lack of positive attitude when it comes to non-political issues and the empty promises we hear all day and every day from those who have control of the country make Santa Claus himself rather depressed at times. So Im hoping this year will bring us all a whole lot less to do with politics, more to do with money and in the process, make us a whole lot happier. The granddaughter of dear old Did Moroz, Snigurka, didnt take the question about what to expect in 2010 so seriously and like the joyful youngster she is, commented, My main hope for 2010 is to finish my third year of University. Studying is getting harder and harder each day, but nevertheless, I believe in a bright future and hope that life will soon change, becoming brighter and more joyful.   

With the immortal words of two of the dearest figures in our culture today, we headed home with a bounce in our step, where the salted sidewalk bits would allow. I had another look over the comments Id received and reflected that while most people didnt see 2009 as one of the easiest years on record, almost everyone is full of hope and looking forward to a brighter future. And thats the key.
Each one of us is our own architect. So regardless of the situation, put a little more effort into building a good life for yourself and those you care about this year helping to make 2010 great.
Happy New Year, once again!

Vadym Mishkoriz

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Read also:
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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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