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On the cover
¹7 (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 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.

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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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What's On Archive ¹ 41

¹41/2006
10 November - 7 NovemberTOP TENOR. Ukrainian Opera Legend Volodymyr Gryshko in Concert.

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From THE EDITOR - Editorial

What does the Soviet UNI0N mean to you? If pushed on the subject most foreigners would probably cite political oppression, drabness and consumer deficits, with the possible addition of bread queues, Big Brother censorship, and shoddy workmanship. In other words, it is not a place that has a very good reputation in the international arena. This is important because these negative assumptions continue to shape our attitudes towards and understanding of today’s former Soviet republics and the processes they are going through. They create a false impression which inevitably clouds any deeper appreciation of what motivates and drives people in the post-Soviet space. In my experience most former citizens of the Soviet UNI0N have a far more forgiving attitude, which is telling. For the vast majority of the population there remains a qualified fondness for the Soviet idyll, which, compared to the rough and tumble of post-Soviet capitalism now seems an innocent time of sing-alongs, summer camps, social security and shared community life, with everyone very much ‘in it together’. Even allowing for rose-tinted reminiscences, it is clear that there were many admirable aspects of the Soviet existence. No doubt you’d have a very different attitude if you were a nationalist or dissident, but of course most people weren’t. This week we’ve put together a Top Ten list of Soviet films that every expat should see (turn to page 26 for details), with the idea being that these films offer a taste of the real USSR, complete with satire lampooning the state, jokes about all the buildings looking the same, and so on. They are a window on the popular culture of a whole society that collapsed in 1991 and which many people still miss. If you are interested in understanding why people could vote for a man like Viktor Yanukovich, why they might regard Putin as a good leader or favour order over intangible civil liberties, and especially if your work involves supporting Ukraine’s integration into the wider world community, then these movies are literally essential viewing. Until people get beyond the idea of Reagan’s ‘Evil Empire’ they will continue to misunderstand the historic events shaping this part of the world and miss the opportunity of making a useful contribution.

Cheers,
Peter Dickinson,
Editor


Racism Fears Stoked by Kyiv Murder - Whats Up?

The murder of Nigerian citizen Kunuon Mievi Godi on 25 October in Kyiv’s Left Bank has raised fears that racist violence is becoming a serious problem in the Ukrainian capital. The killers did not remove the victim’s documents or wallet, supporting claims that it was a racially motivated attack. Witnesses say that Godi was attacked by a gang of four youths who stabbed him repeatedly. The Ukrainian Ministry of Interior Affairs denies that the attack was racially motivated, adopting the official line that the murder was merely hooliganism.



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Russia Tops 2006 World Bribery League Ratings - Whats Up?

The annual Bribe Payer’s Index, which ranks the world’s thirty top exporting nations in terms of their readiness to offer bribes, has awarded Russia with a bottom three finish, confirming suspicions that bribery practices honed in the chaos of the post-Soviet economic environment are now being exported from Russia wholesale. The index, which is compiled from information submitted by more than 11,000 executives worldwide, has found that bottom of the pile are India, China and Russia. The least corrupt countries were Switzerland, Sweden and Australia. Ukraine was not included in the survey. The head of Transparency International, the people behind the survey, Huguette Labelle commented on the findings ‘bribing companies are undermining the best efforts of governments in developing countries to improve governance, and thereby driving the vicious cycle of poverty.’


Orange Anniversary - Whats Up?

After weeks of dithering preliminary plans have finally been announced to mark the second anniversary of the Orange Revolution on Independence Square. Nasha Ukraina party reps have declared their desire to hold a celebration on 22 November, which they want designated as ‘Freedom Day’ but Yulia Timoshenko has already refused to participate. President Yuschenko is expected to be invited along with pro-democracy forces from Poland, Belarus, Georgia and all the musicians who played during the Orange protests of 2004, but there is expected to be little popular enthusiasm for the holiday.


Tragedy of Lost Nazi Kids - Whats Up?

The victims of a Nazi programme designed to breed a ‘master race’ went public with their stories last week for the first time, breaking a sixty year silence over the ‘Lebensborn kinder’ scheme, and in the process confirming fears that many children who were considered suitably ‘Aryan’ were stolen from their families here in Ukraine during WWII and brought up in Germany. Many children who fell victim to the scheme, which also involved special homes where Aryan mothers were encouraged to have multiple children who were often then given to appropriately Nazified families to be raised in an ideologically-sound environment, did not find out the truth about their origins until reaching adult life. “There was always the feeling that something wasn’t quite right,” said Folker Heinicke, who was taken from occupied Ukraine as a toddler and raised in Germany. He discovered his true identity after checking out irregularities in his birth certificate, but has yet to find any relatives in Ukraine as the Germans destroyed all records. Support groups are now helping the sixty-something Germans to come to terms with the reality of their origins.


Patriotic Pioneer of Progressive Rock - My Kyiv

Charismatic rocker Valeriy Harchishyn has been a figure on the Ukrainian alternative music scene for ten years. His band Druga Rika is preparing to mark the anniversary with the release of a ‘best of’ album but as Valeriy is keen to stress, the boys by no means intend to rest on their laurels and are also busy recording a new album, set to be released sometime next year.



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life Platinum at Ukrainian Fashion Week - My Kyiv

Kyiv’s Ukrainian Fashion Week is one of the highlights of the beau-monde calendar, gathering socialites and dedicated followers of fashion for many years.



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Ukraine Truth
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

Pulling Strings
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.

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