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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 16

¹16/2007
4 May - 10 May

Victory Day!
A New Generation Honours Veterans on the Anniversary of the Allied WWII Victory



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From THE EDITOR - Editorial

I have an eighty-five year old friend called Fyodr Mihailovich. Like most Soviets of his generation, he is a veteran. In January 1943 Fyodr Mihailovich walked into the basement of a department store in the centre of Stalingrad and personally accepted the surrender of Field Marshal Paulus, thus ending the apocalyptic Battle of Stalingrad. This surrender was arguably the psychological turning point of WWII, and changed world history forever. Today my friend is no longer very mobile but his mind is as agile as ever, and we often chat for hours about everything from Roosevelt and Stalin to Ukrainian politics. Needless to say we don’t always agree, but nevertheless I count having met him as one of the greatest treasures of my time in Ukraine. The terrible majesty of his war stories dwarfs anything I remember hearing about when growing up back in England. Our war was all about the blitz, Churchill’s speeches, arrogant Nazis, great escapes and the French resistance. The Eastern Front was a vague and terrible image on the horizon that never received much attention, except when it came to recounting atrocities. Nobody ever dwelled on the human reality of the fact that something like 80% of the fighting (and 90% of the casualties) occurred in the East. Cold War necessities rendered the cost in Soviet blood of our victory a taboo subject. No doubt the conduct of some Red Army troops also made many think twice before heaping praise on the same people who went from liberators to occupiers in the space of a few months. At the end of the day, though, beyond the propaganda battles there remains a huge debt of gratitude that we in the West have never paid to the ordinary men and women who won WWII for all of us. Any readers interested in rectifying this can find these everyday heroes on 9 May at the Iron Lady war memorial. Give them flowers. Tell them you’re grateful. Listen to their tales. In a few years it will be too late.

Cheers,
Peter Dickinson,
Editor


Funeral for the Man Who Dreamed of a Russian Democracy - Picture Perfect

Former US President George Bush offers a light to British Prime Minister John Major during the funeral of Russia’s first ever elected president Boris Yeltsin last week in Moscow. Both Bush and Major were in power when the Soviet UNI0N collapsed in 1991 and played significant roles in attempts to introduce democracy to the former totalitarian state. Since Yeltsin left office on New Year’s Eve 1999 his successor Vladimir Putin has been widely accused internationally of backsliding on democracy and reverting to a more authoritarian style of government. Domestically Putin enjoys enormous popularity as a result of the relative stability his rule has brought when compared to popular perceptions of the chaos of the Yeltsin years.

 Photo: Andriy Mossienko


Bloodshed Over Red Army Monument - Whats Up?

A Soviet-era monument to an unknown Red Army soldier which the Estonian authorities had long planned to move from its prominent downtown Tallinn location to a defense forces cemetery outside the Estonian capital was at the centre of a diplomatic storm last week when hundreds were arrested and one man left dead as rival protesters became involved in violent clashes that forced Estonian authorities to remove the monument to a secret location. The clash was thought to have been provoked by the Russian nationalist organisation ‘Night Patrol’, whose leader in Estonia has since been arrested.



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PM’s New Spelling Error - Whats Up?

Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich is well-known for what is widely perceived as his poor grasp of the Ukrainian language, and famously entered an error-strewn application form for the post of president prior to the 2004 vote that provoked the Orange Revolution. On that occasion he was lampooned for having claimed to be a ‘proffesor’ as well as making a total of four grammatical mistakes when entering his job title of ‘Prime Minister’. Last week he was once again caught out making a mess of the official national language, this time in Strasbourg when leaving a message in the Council of Europe’s guest book. On this occasion Yanukovich managed to write the words ‘Prime Minister’ while only committing a single error, but he blundered when attempting to write the word ‘Europe’, confusing the Russian and Ukrainian letters for ‘E’. To make matters worse, all this was achieved while the Ukrainian Prime Minister carefully copied his message out direct from prepared notes that had been provided by his aides!


Healing WWII Wounds - Whats Up?

President Yushchenko was in Poland last week to sign a cooperation treaty that was drawn up to mark the expulsion of 140,000 ethnic Ukrainians from Poland in 1947 in what was an attempt by communist authorities to consolidate control in the region. Ukraine and Poland share a troubled history, with Polish rule throughout Western and Central Ukraine leading to a series of rebellions in the early modern period and more recently a guerrilla war of extreme ferocity during WWII that left tens of thousands dead and drew accusations of ethnic cleansing on both sides. However, recent years have seen the former foes closely cooperating with Poland backing Ukraine’s pro-democracy Orange Revolution and EU membership bid and the two nations recently winning the right to host the Euro 2012 football championships.


Cleaning Bill for Maidan - Whats Up?

Kyiv City Administration officials announced last week that since the political crisis got underway on 2 April they have spent three million hryvnias more than budgeted for in order to clean the capital’s main street Khreschatyk, site of the main demonstrations. Many of the thousands of protesters who have been bussed into Kyiv have been paid or coerced to participate, with overall expense for pro-government organisers thought to run into the tens of millions of dollars.


Ukraine’s Iron Lady - Kyiv Landmarks

If you’re looking for the most quintessentially Soviet of Ukrainian monuments, go no further than Kyiv’s very own National State Museum of The Great Patriotic War 1941-45. This memorial area, covering some 10 hectares of greenery overlooking the Dnipro, is dominated by a huge statue known locally as Rodina Mat (which roughly translates as mother/motherland). This gigantic girl is one of the most enduring images of Kyiv. Love her or hate her, there’s no ignoring the Ukrainian capital’s very own Soviet icon.



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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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