|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 19|
25 May - 31 MayFlying High!
Aerial Excitement as the Ukrainian Capital
Prepares to Mark the Annual "Kyiv Days"
Holaday with an Air Extravaganza!
Just a Minute
|From THE EDITOR - Editorial|
It is one of the great truisms of history that a people experiencing a golden age rarely recognise the fact until said golden age has passed them by. With that in mind I would like to encourage all What's On readers to make the most of the unsurpassed glory that is the current so-called political crisis. To put it bluntly, with the various parties and rival clans busily clawing away at each other's throats there is quite simply nobody to interfere in the business of doing business, and the result has been a positive orgy of efficiency. Absolutely everyone I know is making money without the slightest impediment. Foreigners, meanwhile, are queuing up to invest. Transactions pass off unhindered by the usual avalanches of bureaucratic bestialities. The many levels of governmental apparatus that have been honed over the past twenty years to extract as many bribes, pay-outs and silent partnerships as possible stand idly by, inactive and rendered effectively redundant by the absence of anyone in office to operate them. It is the fabled business paradise that every optimistic soul who ever waxed lyrical about the huge potential of Ukraine always dreamed of. Without a government to get in the way, the country really does function remarkably well. Sadly, like all golden ages, this one will also inevitably come to an end with the eventual arrival of a new elected elite eager to make up for lost time. No country can function indefinitely without a parliament, but hopefully the way business has carried on regardless over the past few months will help put the role of government in perspective and encourage a little self-restraint. Once the dust settles it will certainly be worth remembering that this blissful period has served to demonstrate just how damaging a self-serving administration can be, and what can be achieved in its absence.
|Protests Leave Maidan Needing a Clean - Picture Perfect|
Last week saw a renewal of the recent political rallies featuring demonstrators bussed in from some of Ukraine’s most impoverished regions. With temperatures soaring in the May sunshine many participants took advantage of the Independence Square foun− tains to scrub themselves clean after sweaty overnight cross country journeys. They mob did not manage to keep the square itself clean, however, leaving it literally cov− ered in litter every evening and doing little to improve already frayed relations between Kyivites and the coachloads being brought to the capital.
|New State Committee to Address Ukraine’s Communist Atrocities - Whats Up?|
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko led a memorial ceremony 20 May for over one hundred thousand victims of Stalinist ter ror buried in the Bykivnya forest just outside Kyiv. The ceremony was broadcast live by Ukrainian TV and came just days after the announcement that a new State Committee of National Remembrance would be established to handle issues related to Ukraine’s troubled Soviet past at the highest governmental level.
|RA Gallery in Danger - Whats Up?|
Popular Kyiv arts venue Ra Gallery, which has hosted education and entertainment projects for children and young people for the past 14 years, may have to close due to a new regulation announced by the city authorities that came into effect at the beginning of the year. The new rule states that all occupants of pub− licly owned rental property in the city have to bid on the open market to retain their leases. The Ra Gallery, a registered NGO, has occupied the ground floor of 32 Bohdana Khmelnitskogo vul since its inception in 1993 and was more than convinced it would win the bidding procedure due to its long−term residency as well as the cultural and social impact it has on the city, not to mention its willingness to pay the maximum rental price of 50hrv per square meter.
|Last Minute Reprieve for Kyiv’s F.C. Arsenal - Whats Up?|
The destiny of the Ukrainian Premier League out− fit F.C. Kyiv Arsenal seems to be decided follow− ing a last−minute reprieve which rescued them from bankruptcy. Last month Kyiv City Council head mayor Leonid Chernovetsky appeared to pull the plug on the capital’s second team by withdrawing City Hall’s financial support while claiming that it had cost them an arm and a leg to maintain the club. Chernovetsky claimed that it was costing about 40 million hryvnia a year to keep the team functioning. With the City Admin− istration unable to find a buyer it looked like liq− uidation for Arsenal, but then last week Vadym Rabinovych, the 53 year old president of Rico Capital Group and head of the Ukrainian Jew− ish Congress announced that he is ready to buy the football club and turn Arsenal into world− beaters.
|Russian Orthodox Church Expands in Crimea - Whats Up?|
The heavily Russified Moscow Patriarch− ate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church opened a unique new ‘lighthouse church’ in Crimea 15 May as part of the denomination’s on−going attempts to win the support of the peninsula’s population for the Kremlin, which under Russia’s President Putin has developed considerable ties with Russian Orthodoxy. The towering new church in Malo Rechenske was opened by Metropolitan Volodymyr, who is the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine. Since gaining independence in 1991 there has been a constant battle for the souls and sym− pathies of Ukraine’s Orthodox believers, with a rival Kyiv Patriarchate created to counter the power of the Moscow church, which in turn has been vocal in its support for proRussian candidates in Ukraine and been consistently hostile to expressions of Ukrai− nian independence and statehood. Crimea is one of the main strongholds of Ukraine’s pro− Moscow parties and holds a hallowed place in Russian national folklore as the home of the Black Sea Fleet and summer residence of the Tsars. However Khruschev’s 1956 decision to give Crimea to Soviet Ukraine meant that upon the break−up of the USSR in 1991 the peninsula became part of inde− pendent Ukraine. The arrival of hundreds of thousands of exiled Crimean Tatars since the early 1990s has added to rising ethnic and nationalistic tensions on the peninsula, with many fearing that once the number of Tatars reaches sufficient levels it could become the scene of inter−ethnic clashes.
|Ban on School Room Mobile Phones - Whats Up?|
Ukraine’s mobile phone revolution continue apace, with more phones now registered in the country than people! One product of this growth has been the increasing use of phones during school hours, which has proved such a disruptive influence that the Ministry of Education has taken action and announced a blanket ban on all mobile phones in classrooms. “We have classes of up to thirty students, and what kind of teach− ing is possible when the phone rings in a classroom every minute?” commented Stan− islav Mykolenko, Ukraine’s Minister of Educa− tion. The ban will come into effect as of the new term in September following the long summer vacation. It is estimated that 80% of the five million Ukrainian kids currently in the education system own mobile phones, but any caught breaking the ban will risk having theirs confiscated.
|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.