|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.
|What's On Archive ¹ 37|
13 October - 19 October
Just a Minute
|From THE EDITOR - Editorial|
I dropped in on the Stalingrad chaps the other day at the local veteran centre and found them in fine fettle. Indeed, for a group of eighty five year old gents surviving on kopeks and dignity alone they were positively exuberant. “We’re getting ready to do battle again,” one of them trumpeted. “UPA want to march through Kyiv next weekend. We’ll see about that,” he added before launching into a string of exquisite denunciations. He was, of course, referring to the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, which fought a guerrilla campaign against both Soviet and Nazi forces during WWII and were thus vilified for half a century by the Soviet propaganda machine as terrorists. This week they’ll be in the capital again marching in numbers, and violent clashes are expected (see page 22). Many Red Army veterans and former Soviet citizens in general reserve a special hatred for these UPA fighters, and their annual gathering in Kyiv has become a flash point between the ultra nationalists who view Moscow as the eternal enemy and the Soviet sympathisers who see the 1991 collapse as a surrender to provincial banditry and xenophobia. Neither side is ever going to convince the other or gain the sympathies of the majority of the Ukrainian people, but still the battle rages. There is no sign of this animosity subsiding as the number of veterans decreases, either. On the contrary, each side attracts new generations of participants to carry the banners forward. Unfortunately there is no quick fix to this conundrum, as President Yuschenko found last year when his fumbling attempts to hold a joint Victory Day rally provoked near universal scorn. So this last battle of WWII looks set to rumble on, along the way epitomizing the polarisation of opinion in today’s Ukraine. Perhaps the only useful lesson to draw from all this is the fact that it demonstrates the need for a new, inclusive national identity more clearly than anything else.
Peter Dickinson, Editor
|Yuschenko Limits Convoys - Whats Up?|
The happy days of watching from your stationary vehicle as a million dollar convoy of blacked out sedans sweeps by under the watchful eye of Ukrainian traffic cops may well be numbered, as president Viktor Yuschenko last week passed a ruling stating that only he and he alone could issue permits allowing people to stop traffic to accommodate official motorcades. It remains to be seen whether this mainstay of the post-Soviet experience will really be disappearing from our streets and insiders have hinted that it will not actually mean any fewer stoppages but in effect will be a nice little earner for the presidential administration. Under prevous legislation each motorcade stoppage required the services of around one hundred police officers.
|Dirty Bomb Not Ukrainian? - Whats Up?|
A major article in London’s Times newspaper Last week on the rise in seizures of materials thought necessary for to make a semi-mythical ‘dirty bomb’ or ‘suitcase nuke’ totally failed to mention Ukraine by name, leaving foreign office specialists shocked. For the past decade Ukraine has been the world leader in allegations about sales of plutonium and uranium to terrorists, with stories about such clandestine operations appearing in the Western press on a monthly basis. The only references in this recent article, which cites a two-fold increase in seizures of such materials, were to former Soviet republics collectively, while the Caucasian region also earned a specific mention, but there was not a word for Ukraine, signalling that the days when the country could effortlessly expect to dominate this scare story genre may be drawing to a close.
|Panic Over Russian Troops - Whats Up?|
America’s blogsphere was awash with Cold War style Russia-bashing last week when a linguistic slip led many to believe that the American deep south had been invaded by Putin’s platoons. Fears were sparked by internet news stories that highlighted how Russian troops were blockading Caucasian nation Georgia as part of the escalating Georgian spy scandal. Americans mistook this to mean that soldiers were actually laying siege to the southern US state of the same name. Confusion dominated as Americans expressed their horror at the Kremlin’s latest and greatest coup while calling on the US Army to rectify the situation and eject the Ruskies. Apparently many Americans are unaware that the country of Georgia, along with the rest of the outside world, exists.
|Social Ads Target Tax Revenues - Whats Up?|
A new campaign has been launched encouraging Ukrainians to pay taxes by highlighting their role in funding social services such as pensions and the police force. The above poster reads, ‘The militia (police) exists thanks to taxes. Protect your own safety. Legalise you income.’ Kyivites have been struck by the irony of the campaign wording, as it is commonly known that many militiamen as well as others working within the state sector draw a large portion of their incomes from the extraction of bribes. This is not the first attempt to get people to pay their taxes, a difficult challenge in the post-Soviet world where such things were largely unknown until recently and many companies routinely employ tax dodges and engage in parallel accounting. Earlier efforts have included the introduction of a educational children’s book offering information on the importance of paying taxes and their role in modern society.
|Tina Karol: The Future Queen of UkrPop? - |
Blonde bombshell Tina Karol is arguably the hottest property on the UkrPop scene right now, with her current singalong hit ‘Poopsyk’ rocking the airwaves and leaving red-blooded males across the former Soviet UNI0N in need of a collective cold shower. The singer first achieved international prominence as Ukraine’s entry at the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest, where she managed a top ten finish in spite of what was overtly politicized voting even by Eurovision standards, and her star looks set to rise and rise.
|Representing the Very Heart of Africa - Diplomatic Service|
Kyiv’s Nigerian community is one of the most colourful and interesting groups of expats in the Ukrainian capital. This outgoing but also tight-knit community is headed by Chief I. H. Ajuru, a skilled diplomat and politician who has been here for some years. Cosmos Okigbo Ojukwu met His Excellency to discuss what life is like for the many Nigerians working hard and playing hard in the city and what the future holds for them in this land.
|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.