|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 3|
2 February - 8 February
Quality hockey returns to Kyiv as troubled side Sokil gets a new home
Going Out Chef’s Corner
Just a Minute
|From THE EDITOR - Editorial|
Back home in England I only ever met perhaps three people who shared the same early February birthday as myself. After nine years in Ukraine the comparative Kyiv figure currently stands at twenty plus, although admittedly I have long since lost count. When I first began to notice just how many Ukrainians were born in early February I was initially puzzled, until I did the arithmetic and counted back exactly nine months to discover that this annual baby boom is a direct result of the May national holidays so beloved in the post-Soviet world. This would seem to suggest that for most Ukrainians the annual May prazdnyk period, stretching from May Day to Victory Day, involves a lot more fun than just flag waving and cheering on the workers of the world. The government would do well to play up this trend, as it is one of the few positives in what is a dire demographic situation that is threatening to cut Ukraine’s population by a quarter within the next thirty years. In fairness there is little the authorities can do to reproduce the heady atmosphere of those initial May days when the whole country is in blossom and the mini-skirts are in full bloom. Nevertheless with the gloom merchants predicting population collapse amid rampant alcoholism, low birth rates, AIDS epidemics and a terminal labour drain, it is nice to be able to report from personal experience there would still appear to be certain traditional times of the year when Ukrainians are ready and willing to do their bit towards off-setting the negative demographic characteristics threatening the country!
|When a Picture Says a Thousand Words - Picture Perfect|
Viktor Yanukovich tried to sell Ukraine as the leading investment opportunity for 2007 at last week’s Davos Forum of world leaders in Switzerland but was met with a somewhat muted response, largely due to persisting concerns over the Yanukovich government’s commitment to keeping Ukraine on the path to democracy and European integration. Support came from the unlikely quarter of former former American president Bill Clinton, who sent a taped address in which he argued, “Gaining membership of the European UNI0N is an important and attainable goal for the Ukrainian government., that has the potential to create a stronger Europe,” but many European observers including EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn remained skeptical. Despite the widespread uncertainty over Ukraine’s current direction, the attention given to the country at Davos nevertheless illustrates the country’s rising international profile.
Photography: Andriy Mossienko
|City Ski Season Officially Open! - Whats Up?|
Kyiv’s downtown ski slope Protasiv Yar announced the start of the skiing season 29 January as snowfall finally came to the Ukrainian capital. The city centre ski resort dates back to the Soviet era, and has been on the receiving end of numerous make-overs since the mid-1990s, and now boasts ski lifts, quality rental and medical support as well as state-of-the-art snow canons which operate whenever the temperature remains at or below freezing for three consecutive days. However, although the facilities at the mini-resort have improved over the years there was little that staff could do about the lack of snow, which has hampered ski resorts across Europe. The slope is located at Protasiv Yar 23a, which can be reached by heading down Red Army Street and taking a right before the Organ Hall. For details of other skiing options across Ukraine turn to pages 36-37.
|Shakhtar Star Set for England’s Wigan - Whats Up?|
Nigerian striker Julius Aghahowa is on his way to struggling English top flight side Wigan Athletic after seven years with Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk. Aghahowa was one of the first African players to make their mark on the Ukrainian game, arriving in 2000 and helping the club to three league titles, but it has always been the player’s long-term ambition to move to England and the club have decided to cash in on the talented striker. The fee is thought to be in the region of eight million dollars. Meanwhile, Dynamo’s own former African legend Lucky Idahor, also of Nigeria, has signed for Ukrainian Premier League side Tavria of Simferopol. Lucky arrived in Kyiv in 2001 as a young talent but after much hype failed to meet expectations, although he remains fondly remembered by Dynamo fans.
|Yushchenko 80% Clear of Dioxin - Whats Up?|
Swiss physicians treating Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko for his autumn 2004 poisoning have announced that 80% of the dioxin found in his body has been eliminated. The president’s press service announced that Yushchenko was currently in better health than he has been for the past two years since the poisoning. Yushchenko recently demonstrated his return to health by participating in the annual ice swimming dip in the Dnipro river on 19 January at the traditional Water Blessing Orthodox religious celebration. Yushchenko himself recently announced that the Prosecutor General’s office had all the evidence they required to bring about a prosecution, a claim denied by the team working on the case.
|Medvedev Emerges as Putin’s Heir - Whats Up?|
Spectulation is mounting that the Kremlin may have finally settled on a successor to Vladimir Putin, following a number of high profile policy statements and public appearances from Russian first Deputy Prime Minister and the chairman of Gazprom’s board of directors Dmytriy Medvedev. The staunch Putin ally represented Russia at the recent Davos Forum before appearing at a gala boxing event in Moscow alongside the Russian world heavyweight champ, raising suspicions that the administration is openly preparing the way for a Medvedev candidacy. In a Ukrainian TV interview aired on Kanal 1 on 28 January, Russian Ambassador Viktor Chernomyrdin also confirmed that Medvedev was a front-runner. Putin is due to step down in 2008 at the end of his second and constitutionally final term as Russian president. But before doing so he is expected to anoint a chosen successor whose passage to the presidency is considered all-but guaranteed in Russia’s current political climate. Medvedev graduated from Leningrad State University in 1987 with a law degree and in 1990 earned his PhD.
|Litvinenko Poisoning Suspect Named - Whats Up?|
Businessman and former secret service operative Andrei Lugovoi has rubbished suggestions that British investigators looking into the high-profile poisoning murder of former Russia spy turned defector Sasha Litvinenko have hard evidence linking him to the crime. The news first surfaced in The Guardian newspaper, which claimed that Scotland Yard believed there was enough evidence against Lugovoi for Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service to decide whether to officially charge him. Last week the BBC’s Panorama programme said that Litvinenko probably faced numerous poisoning attempts prior to the fatal ingestion of the rare radioactive isotope polonium-210. “This is all lies, provocation and government propaganda by the UK. They are trying to make up for their poor hand,” Lugovoi sabre-rattled on 29 January. No extradiction agreement exists between the UK and Russia, so even if charges were brought there would be little chance of bringing the suspect to justice.
|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.