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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 History

RED Not Always the Colour of Love

Soviet holidays, such as the day that celebrates Kyivs liberation from Germany or commemoration of the Great October Revolution, have been making a comeback here in Kyiv. And with its main street Khreshchatyk all decked out in hammers and sickles for this years New Year celebrations, Whats On thought we would take a look at those who are not only stirring up the old Soviet pot but colouring it red.

Ukraine is a uniquely tolerant country and is probably more democratic than it should be. A of couple of good examples include the continued existence of our beloved Communist party as well as statues of Lenin that still stand tall in many Ukrainian cities. In trying to come to a reasonable explanation, some say its because of our history, that its our duty to remember. Others attribute it to our Soviet past, saying that for those in power, the shade of red that was painted throughout all of their memories still colours an important part of everyones present. Thought we were no longer party to The Party? Think again. 

Volodymyr Lytvyn 
Head of the Verkhovna Rada
Volodymyr Lytvyn graduated from the Faculty of History at the Kyiv University and then went on to work as a senior lecturer there. Receiving the post of Communist Party Central Committee Secretary Assistant in the late 80s, those who wonder where his sympathies lie can read his dissertation from 1984 entitled, The Activity of the Communist Party of Ukraine to Improve Teachers Training in Social Studies.





Dmytro Tabachnyk 
Minister of Culture
Also a Kyiv University History graduate, Dmytro Tabachnyk went on to work in the Cinema and Photo Documents State Archive as well as taking on the Lenin Youth Organisation Kyiv Committee Deputy Head position. One might think his career started innocently enough, but one would be wrong; as any job that included the handling of archives had to answer to the KGB, and to even think about a ruling post in the LYO your loyalty to the Communist Party needed not only to be demonstrated by words but by deeds.


Anna German 
President Administration Deputy Head 
Ms German truly enjoys her post as it gives her the opportunity to boast about all of her work for Radio Liberty, while at the same time dodge any questions about her successful career in journalism with the Lenin Star at the beginning of the 80s, the Lenin Youth in the mid 80s, and her huge career jump as the Lenin Youth Department Head at the end of the 80s.  






Serhiy Tihipko 
Vice Premier Minister
After receiving his degree in Metallurgical Engineering and before becoming the multi-millionaire he is today, Serhiy Tihipkos   days and nights were busily spent as Secretary of the Lenin Youth Organisation, as the Deputy Head of the Department of Propaganda and Agitation in the same organisation, and then right up until the curtain rose, he was the go-to guy for the Komsomol Regional Committee. For those who dont know what that is, the Committee took on the responsibility of ensuring new membership in the Communist Party as well as controlling all Soviet youth by eliminating any harmful influence the capitalist world might have had on its citizens. This, most often, was accomplished by brainwashing. 

Oleksandr Popov 
Kyiv Mayor
Admittedly proud to have worked for the KGB for seven years, Mr Popov wouldnt divulge what he was in charge of exactly, saying only that he dealt with a lot of external economical activity. He didnt deny, however, that it was economic espionage that demanded his expertise, and has only ever said he had a very interesting job. 



Shades of Immorality
If we were to include all the deputies of the Verkhovna Rada as well as their regional representatives, we could go on for some time, so it seems rather practical to stop here. All one really needs to know is that success in the latter half of the 1900s was accomplished by climbing the Communist ladder, and if you were a good little Communist who cooperated with the KGB then you could almost always be assured of leaping up the career ladder.
In fact, when my father was about the same age I am now, KGB agents would often come around to the various institutes and universities looking for promising young men. They would have them sign documents which would then require them to deliver information. A chain of free-lance KGB agents, who would informally enlighten the KGB with information about their neighbours, colleagues and friends, also existed. But it was the specialised KGB orphanages, which existed all over the USSR, that produced the most faithful of all KGB members. 
Ignoring the Committee for State Security (KGB) or the activity of organisations such as Komsomol was tantamount to any number of problems, such as the denial of a university degree or even a job. Even my father-in-law was forced to be a member of The Party to whom he had to dish out 9 roubles every month (which was approximately 5 10% of his salary) just so he could continue his philosophical works.
While they may no longer have the posts they did in those days (some have even better ones now!) the men and women who served that ideology still possess an awful lot of power. It might not be today, or tomorrow, or the day after that, but if we are to one day be a fully functioning democratic country that relies on its merits rather than its muscle, the colour that represents this country can no longer be one that conjures up such conflicting emotions.   

Kateryna Kyselyova

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Roman L. Comer | 17.06.2011 17:06


Ukrainian Court Bans Use Of Soviet Red Flag

Victory Day celebrations in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, in May this year.
June 17, 2011
Ukraine's Constitutional Court has banned the use of the Soviet flag during World War II commemorations, reversing a move recently approved by the country's president.

Pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych in May signed into law a measure for the hammer-and-sickle flag to be raised at government buildings during annual observances of the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Widespread displays of the Soviet flag in the western city of Lviv touched off riots in May, as many people living there see the Red Army as a foreign occupier rather than a liberator.

The court today said the law violated the constitution, which does not list the Soviet flag as a government symbol.



 
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Read also:
  • A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels
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  • A Divisive National Hero
  • The Ukrainian Roots of Sholem Aleichem

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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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