|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 39|
27 October - 2 NovemberIndie Ukraine. Sbey Pepels Lead the Charge
Just a Minute
On the Sofa with...
|From THE EDITOR - Editorial|
It seems that you can’t go more than a week in this country without some regional council or other voting on the official status of the Russian language. Not content with the fact that for the majority of Ukrainians Russian is the de facto mother tongue, these folk seem determined to have the thing confirmed in writing as well. Personally I’ve never really been able to see what all the fuss is about. Ukrainian is a beautiful language and an important element of the national culture, but I don’t see the necessity of forcing Russian speakers to use it just to make a point. All in all it is a damned divisive issue and one which superficially separates people who are basically all in the same boat. One way out of this ‘Ukrainian or Russian’ mess would be to introduce a third element into the official language debates. I am talking, of course, about making English an official language in Ukraine. With thousands of linguistically inept expats here in Kyiv, we already have a significant English-language ethnic minority population, which, politically speaking, is a good starting position. Now all we need to do is pressure the authorities over at City Hall into accepting the need to produce everything tri-lingual, thus making the endless bureaucratic paper chases favoured by local pen pushers that little bit less of a nightmare. If English is a hit in Kyiv oblast, we could consider expanding the experiment. It would undoubtedly be a big pull with the international investment community, and give the country the biggest PR boost since the Orange Revolution. And most importantly, it might actually allow us to settle once and for all how Ukrainian names should be written in English and end the practice of adding endless Y’s, I’s and J’s all over the place!
|Close Shave for Georgian - Whats Up?|
A Georgian sumo wrestler participating in the Sumo World Cup currently running in Tokyo has been ordered to shave his body after complaints that the stubble is painful for other contestants. Hairy warrior Kokkai’s week-old stubble gave him an unusual edge over opponents who complained, with one Japanese fighter moaning, “The bristles are very hard and prickly. It hurts.” The 170kg Georgian has since agreed to shave regularly, but is not thrilled by the additional hassle. “My skin is very sensitive,” groaned the big man from the mountains. (Yahoo news)
|Grants for Belarussians - Whats Up?|
Brussels boffins have announced plans to offer support for students kicked out of Belarus universities for opposition political activities, and the plan is to send them here! They will now be offered scholarships in neighbouring Lithuania and Ukraine, those bastions of liberty in oppressed Eastern Europe. “I hope that those who study under this scheme will take home with them a greater understanding of life in a free society, and that they will maintain their hope and optimism that their country may one day enjoy these freedoms,” commented EU external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner. (Wire reports)
|King’s Vodka Bear Hunt - Whats Up?|
Scandal has enveloped a recent hunting trip made by the King of Spain to Russia’s far east amid allegations that the monarch shot a bear which had been specially prepared with litres of vodka! The governor of Vologda region has announced an investigation into the death of the bear Mitrofan following suggestions that the creature was deliberately plied with vodka-drenched honey prior to his meet with His Majesty. Russian hunting industry insiders are no strangers to this kind of tactic - in the old days of the Kremlin coffin dodgers animals were regularly drugged up to facilitate easy shooting. Leonid Brezhnev was famous for being a bad shot, and animals he liked to hunt were often either tied to trees or plied with alcohol to dampen their survival instincts. (Reuters)
|Cool English Lessons - Whats Up?|
Local rockers Tanok Na Maidani Kongo are set to team up with BBC Ukrainian service to offer English language lessons! Beginning in November, ‘Rock English’ will be broadcast in 24 lessons, with Faggot and Fozzy joined by teachers from the British Council for the eight minute language sessions.
|Ukraine to Become EU’s Illegal Immigrant Warehouse? - Whats Up?|
A new deal to be finalised later this year between Ukraine and the EU threatens to turn the country into a migrant warehouse. The deal will allow the EU to send illegal immigrants who entered the EU from Ukraine back across the Ukrainian border. The country currently lacks the facilities to deal with the potentially high numbers of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants. Camps are already overcrowded and considered well off international standards, and this new deal could lead to a sharp increase in the number of people being sent back to Ukraine. Every year tens of thousands of immigrants pass illegally through Ukraine on their way to the EU. The majority are from China, India and Pakistan. (BBC)
|Xenophobic Attack in Moscow - Whats Up?|
A prominent Russian art dealer was hospitalised last weekend following a skinhead attack on his gallery which saw youths smash paintings by ethnic Georgian artists and beat the owner Marat Guelman. While recovering from his injuries Guelman was understandably keen to play down talk of any official involvement, but admitted that the day before the attack his gallery had been visited by customs officials who confiscated a series of unflattering caricatures featuring President Putin, President Bush and Osama bin Laden and threatened him with prosecution under laws prohibiting insulting the President of Russia. Human rights groups, themselves under fire from the Kremlin over tricky new registration processes designed to keep meddling foreigners out of Russia’s affairs, have accused the Kremlin of stirring up xenophobia at a time of growing attacks on foreigners in Russia. The Sova centre, which monitors hate crimes, said that 39 people have been killed so far in Russia in racially motivated murders, while hundreds more have been seriously injured. (www.timesonline.co.uk)
|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.