|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 47|
22 December - 19 December
Merry Christmas! Enjoying the Festive Season in Kyiv
Going Out Chef’s Corner
Just a Minute
On the Sofa with...
|From THE EDITOR - Editorial|
Most foreign readers will be more than familiar with the experience of trying to get to the bottom of something in Ukraine only to be met with numerous seemingly contradictory responses. So common is this phenomenon that one could be forgiven for thinking that the notion of incontrovertible truths was null and void in this part of the world. We saw a wonderful example of this last week when President Yushchenko declared that the nation’s prosecutors had all the evidence they needed to solve the case of his poisoning, only for the Prosecutor General himself to come out the very next day and say that this was not actually the case, and that the investigation is on-going (see page 54 for details). Clearly one of them is not telling the truth, but the issue was left unresolved to the confusion of everyone. This remarkable incident passed almost without comment in the local media, which says it all really. Nobody seemed in the least bit surprised to find the president so directly contradicted and apparently powerless. It is a situation that has become all too commonplace in post-Orange Ukraine. I doubt very much whether we will ever find out who poisoned Yushchenko, just as we will never learn who was behind the Gongadze slaying or the true nature of countless other Kuchma era crimes that lurk in the murky, inter-connected underworld of post-Soviet politics. The real question is how long this Cold War can continue before things come to a head. The president is now in open conflict with his government while ministries apparently ignore his decrees, so the unsolved poisoning is hardly a priority, nor was last week’s debacle a nadir, but if there was ever a man who needed to make some tough New Year’s resolutions, then that man is Viktor Yushchenko.
|Creativity the Key at UkrDesign Contest - Picture Perfect|
Ukrainian designer Aina Gasse, who is a firm favourite of stylish opposition leader Yulia Timoshenko, takes a bow after winning the ‘Fantasy’ section of last weekend’s Crystal Silhouette contest, where designers take part by trying to impress the jury with a single creation. The event, which has become a Kyiv staple, attracted an international audience with the Italian fashion masters in the jury noting the exceptional originality on display. Turn to pages 28-29 for full coverage.
|Kyiv Mayor Turns Christmas Scrooge - Whats Up?|
Eccentric Kyiv mayor Leonid Chernovetski has been targeted with all sorts of abuse and has found himself at the centre of scuffles at the Kyiv City Administration this past week, and all because the Ukrainian capital’s top man tried to raise communal tariffs for apartments, gas, water and electricity by a mere 300%! The modest increase was justified as bringing the fees into line with the market rates, as many prices have not been adjusted since the turn of the millennium, but while many Kyivites accepted the need for a slight readjustment this 300% hike has caused outrage and provided Princess Yulia with her latest popular crusade. Controversial politician Mikhail Brodski even went so far as to place cardboard Chernovetskis all over the city centre, where passersby are invited to write what they think about the hyper inflation move or, in lieu of words, simply spit (see above). At first Jewish banker turned evangelical Christian Chernovetski seemed unfazed by the mounting criticism, offering to reduce the increases by a mere 10%, but at time of going to press President Yushchenko himself had intervened to order a review. Chernovetski has said he will continue with the unpopular move anyway. Merry Christmas, everyone!
|Russian Diaspora Body - Whats Up?|
Ukraine’s oppressed Russian minority, who have to make do with being represented by big business oligarchs and virtually the entire current government and cabinet of ministers, have decided to form their own coordinating council, it was announced last week. The new committee will be chaired by VR Deputy Leonid Grach. The group’s founding statement did much to disspell all the myths about policies of aggressive russification undermining Ukrainian statehood, claiming, ‘cultural and language rights of the Russian-speaking population have been grossly violated in recent years. This may evolve into civil confrontation based on ethnic grounds, which will pose a threat to the existence of the Ukrainian state.’ So, in other words, just another cultural body looking to raise the profile of a downtrodden ethnic minority!
|Poisoning Verdict Odds - Whats Up?|
An Almaty bookmaker is attracting a new kind of punter by offering to take bets on the possible findings of the various investigations into the poisoning murder of Russian defector Oleksandr Litvinenko. The vast majority of bets have so far been placed by members of the Russian diaspora in the Kazakh capital. When asked whether they would take bets on the eventual outcome of the Yushchenko poisoning investigation, the bookies suggested that there might be few takers on such a long-term gamble.
|No Snow Shocker - Whats Up?|
The Ukrainian Carpathians have been on the receiving end of a massive injection of investment over the past couple of years, producing some truly world-class resorts and turning the region into the country’s finest tourist attraction. This year this is just one small problem – no snow! Carpathian tourist board representative Olha Sokolova said there was no reason to panic yet, as heavy snowfall in the New Year could still save the season, but local weathermen have confirmed that snow may not fall until late January.
|Berlusconi Slams Sheva - Whats Up?|
Andriy Shevchenko’s much hyped return to Milan would appear to be off following hilarious comments from the eminently quotable Silvio Berlesconi, the Italian legend and owner of AC Milan. “At my home I’m in charge and decide what happens. Instead, when Shevchenko’s wife shouts, he runs under the bed like a lap dog. His wife ordered him to London with their children, where the fog will do their lungs the world of good. A true Milanista and a real man would not have behaved like this,” he told the Gazzetto dello Sporta. Sheva’s American sometime glamour model wife has been widely blamed by Milan fans for the star’s departure.
|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.