|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 44|
1 November - 7 November
Honouring the Millions
Ukraine Remembers the Victims of Stalin’s Terror Famine
Going Out Chef’s Corner
Soviet Cult Icon
Just a Minute
|From THE EDITOR - Editorial|
I was back home in London last week just in time to witness the media frenzy surrounding the latest Russian poisoning death (see page 46 for details). Every single newspaper front page was emblazoned with images of the ailing victim propped up in a hospital bed, while commentators queued up to discuss the Kremlin’s passion for poisoning and the implications for Britain’s relations with Putin’s Russia. My friends found the story, with its talk of betrayals, secret agents and international assassinations extremely exciting, coming as it did on the back of the latest James Bond release. What, they wondered, was the reaction in Russia and neighbouring Ukraine, where the most famous poisoning in modern times had taken place just two years ago? My answer, predictably, was ‘what reaction?’ While the international media has been having a field day with this tale of death and espionage, it has barely warranted a mention in the local press. In Russia this silence is understandable, but Ukraine’s media whitewash is harder to fathom. In the current political climate Russia-baiting is admittedly not a popular ploy, while no doubt many editors are cautious about being seen to side with ‘the foreigners’. Perhaps more worryingly, this lack of interest is also a reflection of the sad fact that Russian spies being murdered is simply not considered news here. It happens. In other words, it is about as surprising as snow in January and just as inevitable. Ignoring such uncomfortable truths was a specialty of the state’s pre-Orange era censorship, and while Ukraine’s media has made enormous progress since 2004 it remains in many ways restricted by the population it serves and their prevailing attitudes, often formulated during the Cold War.
|Holodomor Anniversary Marked in Kyiv - Picture Perfect|
Thousands of Kyivites placed candles on the capital’s central squares over the course 25 and 26 November in act of remembrance to those who died during the Holodomor. Millions starved to death during 1932-33 as a direct result of Stalin’s forced collectivisation programme, an atrocity which President Yuschenko is campaigning to be officially recognised as genocide both at home and abroad. Those interested in learning more about this often overlooked holocaust should visit Ukraine House, which is holding a major exhibition dedicated to the Holodomor until the end of December, featuring recently released Soviet files documenting the famine and video archive footage of survivor accounts.
PHOTO: Maria Bykova
|Godfather Yuschenko Strengthens Georgian Ties - Whats Up?|
President Yuschenko tightened existing bonds with Georgia last week when he stood as godfather to the young son of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. In both Ukrainian and Georgian tradition the role of godfather is of paramount importance and leads to a whole range of lesser relationships with fellow godparents and the child’s parents, and Yuschenko’s decision to accept Saakashvili’s invitation reflects the close relationship the two leaders, both of whom came to power on the back of popular uprisings, the 2003 Rose Revolution and the 2004 Orange Revolution. Yuschenko was joined as godparent of eleven month old Nikoloz by the Georgian ballet legend and current art director of the Tiblisi Academic Opera and Ballet theatre Nino Ananiashvili, who becomes the Ukrainian president’s latest ‘Kuma’ as a result. Ties between Georgia and Ukraine have strengthened in recent years as both countries seek to move out of the Russian orbit and integrate into Euro-Atlantic structures.
|Slavic American Census - Whats Up?|
MBA students at Fordham University are conducting the first ever census of Slavic Americans, an often overlooked ethnic grouping that is considered so integrated into mainstream American society that it does not usually garner the minority group attention accorded to Hispanic, African and Asian Americans. The survey, to be collected on-line at www.slavicheritagecoalition.com will highlight the significant economic influence Slavic Americans have on American life. Slavic Americans make up around 6% of the American population, numbering an estimated 20 million and having roots throughout the countries of Eastern Europe. The survey runs until 31 December, and Kyiv’s Slavic American community is encouraged to participate.
|AIDS Day Stats Shocker - Whats Up?|
A World Health Organisation report released to coincide with World AIDS Awareness Day this 1 December has revealed that the AIDS situation in Ukraine is reaching critical proportions. According to the report the largest recorded percentage increases in HIV/AIDS infections over the past five years have come in Eastern Europe, where a booming sex trade and drug abuse are fuelling the crisis. Since 2000 the number of HIV cases in Ukraine has doubled, making it the worst hit country in the region. Analysts suggest that if effective measures are not taken now a humanitarian crisis could be looming, with serious implications for the Ukrainian economy, healthcare and demographics.
|Luka Admits Falsification - Whats Up?|
Loveable rogue Alexsandr Lukashenka, strongman ruler of Belarus, where order is everything, admitted 23 November that he had falsified the results of the spring 2006 elections, but claimed that the fix had been against him, not the opposition! “Yes, we falsified the last election. I have already told the Westerners [about this]. As many as 93.5 percent of voters voted for President Lukashenka. But they said this was not a ‘European’ result. So we made it 86 [percent]. That is true,” Lukashenka said. “If we were to start recounting ballots now, I don’t know what we would do with them. The Europeans told us before the election that if there were ‘European’ figures in the election, they would recognize our election. And we tried to make European figures.”
|When All the World Meets in Kyiv The Annual Holiday Charity Bazaar - International Community|
Every December the burgeoning Kyiv international community gathers or the annual International Holiday Charity Bazaar, which features national stalls from around the world dishing out a wide range of tasty local delicacies, fine wines, handicrafts and colourful gifts. This weekend the fun starts early, with the doors opening at 10.00.
|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.