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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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My Kyiv

Running Ukraines Leading Electronics Retailer

Uwe Klenk, from the Alps region of Austria, has 25 years retail experience, more than half of which was spent working for Walmart International both in Europe and North America where he was Chief Merchandise Officer in charge of procurement, sales, logistics, supply chain, marketing and private labour. Bringing all that expertise here to Ukraine (where it is badly needed) initially as a consultant, he is now the CEO of Foxtrot, Ukraines largest electronics retailer.

When did you first come to Ukraine, and what brought you here?
I first came to Ukraine two years ago working on a project for Roland Berger, a German strategy consultancy firm. They had a project with the Midland Group who had a steel business and a retail business here in Ukraine. I was brought in as the commercial director of the retail business, but when the crisis hit they sold it.

What were your first impressions of the country when you arrived?
The first city I visited was Kharkiv, so unlike most people my first impressions of the country were not from Kyiv, but from there instead. It was also in winter, which also gives a bit of a different view of things. So I was a little bit surprised at how poor the country is. But then, of course, I came to like it very much. I like the quality of life, and the people. The only challenge I have is the language. Kyiv is an international city, and is like most cities throughout the world. It has a broad offering for nightlife and entertainment, many interesting people and a lot of ex-pats, all of which makes it very easy for me to live and work here.

Youre now the CEO for the Foxtrot and Foxmart Retail chain. How did that come about?
They approached my consultancy firm, UK and Partners, six months ago for us to consult on their existing management team, and after a two-month period the shareholders came to the conclusion it was better we help them on a day-to-day basis. They asked if we could take over the running of the company, and thats what were doing now. Its a very interesting and challenging project because its a very good time to prepare this company for a huge restructuring process. It was very important to define the business models of Foxtrot retail division, which weve done, and come the start of next year were going to start executing this in the stores. Using best business practices from my time at Walmart and best practises from other retailers around the world, we want to adapt these to the needs of Ukrainian customers and create a truly modern retail business.

How does a Ukrainian retail operation compare to an established one in Europe or the States?
There are a lot of talented people here, but one must remember that there is no retail history or education in the market. This means we have to be very patient when coaching and training people, and this process is much more intense than in Western Europe or North America. But this is very interesting for me because it is like going back to the basics and starting again. Its a lot of fun. And its also very rewarding to see people grow and reaching the next level. One of the main reasons we partnered with Euronics, the largest European buying group, is that we can use their practises and send people for training to other countries of the world. This partnership is very important for us as it allows us to tap into pan European deals with suppliers which in turn allows us to be very competitive on price and product range.

Consumer electronics and white goods are often a good indicator of how the people of a country view the economy. What trend do you see currently?
We started with Foxtrot at the end of the crisis, and now we can see a very positive trend. Consumers are far more aggressive when shopping, which is a very positive sign for the whole market. The market is moving forward again. The electronics market in Ukraine is currently $3.5 billion, and the forecast for next year is $6 billion, so there is a very positive trend in the market. New innovations and techniques show we are on the right track. For example, stocking the latest technologies from Samsung, LG and other key global suppliers gives us at Foxtrot an advantage. We hope to use this to expand both in Ukraine and Moldova. Already we have 250 stores in these two countries and we hope to be opening 20 to 30 new stores every year. We have 20% market share in Ukraine, and we want to strengthen that position going forward. 

What do you do to relax in Kyiv, and where do you like to do it?
I like to travel, and I have to do so a lot for business. But while I am in Kyiv, I like to go out with my business partner Kasper, who is known as the biggest party animal in the city, so he knows the right places. My favourites are Buddha Bar and DLux.

Neil Campbell

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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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