|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 2|
26 January - 1 February
Contemporary Cultural Treasures from Both Sides of the Atlantic at the Pinchuk Art Centre
Going Out Chef’s Corner
Just a Minute
On the Sofa with...
|From THE EDITOR - Editorial|
As an English exile I’ve always felt welcome in Ukraine. Apart from a few isolated incidents of Cold War style banter, I’ve never encountered anything that I could describe as aggression and certainly never had to look over my shoulder when walking the streets at night. I’d imagine that most European expats could tell a similar tale, but the story is often very different if you happen to be from a non-white ethnic minority. Here at What’s On we have a Nigerian contributor on the team who has been attacked by skinheads on numerous occasions. Luckily he’s a tough fellow and good-natured enough not to let it ruin his perception of Ukrainians in general, but nevertheless his experience is typical and has meant living with the knowledge that hate-filled xenophobia could at any moment erupt into deadly physical assault. That is not the Ukraine which I know and love, but it is nevertheless the terrifying reality faced by many of the non-white students and expats living and working in the country. Following the murder of another African student over the Christmas period we decided to speak to the victim’s international friends and colleagues. They expressed their fears and anger, and demanded that the authorities do something to stop what they see as a rising tide of racial violence in Ukraine (see page 28-29 for details). The overwhelming impression was of a group of people who feel that their plight is being ignored at a time when they need all the local and international help they can get. The emergence of a prominent and extremely violent Far Right movement has done much to damage the international image of Russia in recent years, and it would be tragic if the inaction of the international community and the local authorities allowed this poison to spread here in Ukraine.
|Arise, My Ice Swimming Prince! - Picture Perfect|
One adventurous young Kyivlanka stands by as her prince takes the plunge on the Water Blessing annual Orthodox holiday down in Gydropark. Unseasonally warm temperatures meant that the usual ice flows were missing on this occasion, but it was still cold enough to prevent all but the hardiest of people from taking to the river!
Photo: Maria Bykova
|Political Implications of - Whats Up?|
Leading Party of the Regions figure Yevhen Kushnarev was shot and killed in what was described as a hunting accident on 16 January. Authorities opened a criminal investigation into the death and stated officially that the shooting appeared to be an accident but there remain many unanswered questions. In a hunting party like the one in which Kushnarev died he would undoubtedly have be the ‘number one’ hunter and would have led the group, having the right to first shot at any target.
|Poison Spy Book in Kyiv - Whats Up?|
A controversial book by Alexander Litvinenko, the former FSB officer whose London poisoning death has caused a major row between Britain and Putin’s Russia, has gone on sale in Kyiv. The book, titled ‘Blowing Up Russia’ claims that the Russian apartment bombings of 1999 that killed nearly 300 people were perpetrated by the FSB (Russian sercret service) in order to justify the resumption of the Chechen war and bring Vladimir Putin and the FSB to power. This book attempts to demonstrate that modern Russia’s most fundamental problems result from the opposition offered to Russia’s political and economic reforms by the all-powerful Russian intelligence services, whether open or clandestine. It claims that they unleashed the second Chechen war in order to divert Russia away from the path of democracy and towards dictatorship.
|Foreign Ministry Penniless - Whats Up?|
The Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Boris Tarasyuk continues to fulfil his duties according to the presidential decree and the court’s decision, but Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych wants the Prosecutor General’s office to take measures concerning the actions of Mr. Tarasyuk who has been dismissed by parliament. Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Mykola Azarov, has finally opened the budget financing for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but the accounts remain unpaid according to a declaration made by the Ministry of Finance press service. This was in response to an earlier statement from the Foreign Ministry stating they had not received finances since 1 January 2007.
|MP Death Highlights Blood Donor Shortages - Whats Up?|
The death of political figure Yevhen Kushnarev in a hunting accident last week has reminded the Ukrainian government and people of the problems the country faces with its current blood donor system. Kushnarev, the MP and deputy leader of Region Party Bloc was operated on at the Izum regional clinic in Kharkiv oblast for two days before passing away. The clinic reported that it did not have enough stocks for transfusions to replace the blood lost in the shooting incident. If this is the case for a leading governmental figure, what does it mean for ordinary Ukrainian citizens? The Ukrainian blood donor system is in crisis, with the main problem being the short supply of people willing to donate blood. The old Soviet system offered a numer of incentives for donors including a warm meal and glass of red wine in return for 200 millilitres of blood, plus two days off work.
|Sheva the Spy - Whats Up?|
Goal-shy Ukrainian superstar Andriy Shevchenko has hit back at accusations that he is a dressing room snitch and all-round KGB-style informer for Roman Abramovich at London club Chelsea. The English press, reared on stories of Soviet citizens gleefully informing on their workmates and excited by the recent poisoning of a Russian spy in London have latched onto rumours of a rift between Abramovich and club manager Jose Mourinho to suggest that Sheva is the root cause of a dressing room Cold War. “I am being made a scapegoat for things that have nothing to do with me,” the player moaned in an interview with The Times. Shevchenko has been accused of acting as the eyes and ears of the Russian billionaire club owner in the Chelsea dressing room and of working against trainer Mourinho, who was forced to accept the sixty million pound flop last summer after Abramovich insisted on his purchase.
|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.